Scrap Livestock Import and Export Bill, says animals protection body

The Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) has opposed the Livestock and Livestock Products (Import and Export) Bill, saying it is a blanket free pass for the abuse of millions of animals raised for food and other uses.

The bill contains provisions for the export of live animals from India. FIAPO said that according to 2021 figures from the United Nations, nearly 2 billion of the 80 billion wild animals raised for food worldwide are exported alive to different countries.

Animals spend weeks and months in horrific agony, crammed into trucks and ships, prodded and trampled to fit in these cramped enclosures. “They are treated like cargo on these transport vehicles and their welfare is not a matter of any consideration,” the federation said.

Hundreds of animals become infected, sick and deprived of food and water on these long journeys. They reach their destination often dead or on the verge of death.

Insert fangs, felines

The proposed bill includes under its scope all equines (all live horses regardless of their purpose, including donkeys, equines, mules, valuations, and cows), bovines (all bovine animals including cattle, buffaloes, oxen or any animals that fall under category Bovine).

It also includes capers, sheep, swine, canines, cats, fowl, laboratory animals, aquatic animals and any other animal which the Union Government may specify by notification in the Gazette from time to time, except those prohibited for any other business.

“This is particularly worrying. The lives of every animal are equally important. However, adding species such as dogs and cats to the list of live animals allowed for import and export will open up a wide range of legal and illegal avenues for animal torture, trafficking and death,” the federation said.

The proposed bill would open the doors to treat “by-products” of animal-based industries — such as male calves and male chicks — as products sold for slaughter.

Compassion in the treatment of animals is enshrined in the Indian constitution. The government should withdraw this bill and lead the way in banning the import and export of live animals, FIAPO said.