India’s Beef Ban

The Ban

The Indian government has imposed a ban on the the sale and purchase of cattle from markets for slaughter under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules 2017. Now I haven’t quite worked out why this is restricted to cattle and not any other animal, or bird for that matter, but the effect is a complete ban on the sale and consumption of beef. (Why goats and chickens for example aren’t included in this ban is baffling to me.)


Now, as you can imagine, this has caused uproar. Not only from the Muslim community who are currently fasting during Ramadan/Ramzan and prepare feasts following fasts, but from the general population who see it as government interference in their daily lives. They are right of course. The ‘saffron haze’ has an affect on daily lives, which I think might be the purpose – to stop people eating beef. It’s certainly focussed thoughts on Hinduism.

This is worrying on several counts but also because it encourages vigilantism from those trying to stop beef consumption. There have been lynchings and violent attacks recently. These are all on the pretext of preserving the cow. The government hasn’t introduced an anti lynching law but murder is murder and these murderers need to be brought to justice and quickly.

The state governments are in uproar as they see the federal government encroaching on territory reserved for them. State governments have the power to regulate cattle trade and animal markets, or at least they did.

Beef Export Trade

The rules are supposed to regulate the cattle trade. It will hit the beef export trade. India is the world’s second largest exporter of beef. I am not sure how that position will be maintained if cattle can’t be slaughtered. 

Dairy Trade

It will also hit dairy farmers too. They will not be able to send cattle to slaughter after the milk production has stopped, making dairy higher priced as farmers maintain animals effectively as pets. I think India might be the world’s largest milk producer , so that will be hit as well.

Leather trade

The ban will also hit the leather trade. If no cattle is being slaughtered then leather products will be goat hide and similar. 

What next?

I can see this being challenged on several fronts, not only by the state governments but by human rights groups who see this as a control on their freedom of what to eat. It will certainly be interesting over the next few days and weeks.


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