Application by broiler farmers: Do not sanction culling of poultry birds in Vadodara

chicken

Representation by advocate NM Kapadia to the Gujarat chief minister, the agriculture and animal husbandry secretary, Vadodara police commissioner Vadodara district collector, animal husbandry director, for not sanctioning the culling of poultry birds in Vadodara following the application of the Boiler Farmers for culling 15,00,000 poultry birds in Vadodara:

Under the instructions of my client Shri Pankaj Buch, the Managing Trustee of Animal Welfare Foundation and a former Dy. Secretary, Gujarat Vidhansabha, Gandhinagar; and also under the instructions of Ahinsa Mahasangh, a registered trust through its President Shri Hirjibhai Shah, having office at “A” Block, 1014-1015, Aatma House, Opposite Old Reserve Bank of India, Ashram Road, Ahmedabad – 380009, I have to address you as under:

Recently, it has been published in a local newspaper that the boiler farmers of Vadodara have filed an application before your good selves; for culling 15,00,000 poultry birds due to the non availability of the fodder to feed them. This deficit occurred in the midst of an ongoing pandemic as the trucks transporting the fodder is prohibited from plying. For the ease of your reference the copy of the newspaper publication is attached herein. Immediately on learning about the same my client had approached me and under their instruction I am serving this representation to you.

Before the above referred application is finally decided I would like to put before you the pertinent provisions of law which are extremely relevant in ascertaining the outcome of the application. The following are the important provisions of law:

  • Section 2(a) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, defines an animal. The definition covers all the other living creatures except the human beings. Therefore poultry birds are declared animals under the law.
  • The animals that are to be slaughtered has to be slaughtered in a slaughter house which is registered and has obtained license from appropriate authority. This direction of the law is provided in Rule 3 of the PCA (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001, which is reproduced below:

 

3. Animals not to be slaughtered except in recognized or licensed houses 

(1) No person shall slaughter any animal within a municipal area except in a slaughter house recognised or licensed by the concerned authority empowered under the law for the time being in force to do so.

(2) No animal which –

        (i) is pregnant, or

        (ii) has an offspring less than three months old, or

        (iii) is under the age of three months or

(iv) has not been certified by a veterinary doctor that it is in a fit condition to be slaughtered.

(3) The municipal or other local authority specified by the

Central Government for this purpose shall, having regard to the capacity of the slaughter house and the requirement of the local population of the area in which a slaughter house is situated, determine the maximum number of animals that may be slaughtered in a day.”

  • It is also very pertinent to state that as per the Schedule I of Food Safety and Standard Regulations, 2011 r/w regulation 2.1.2(3) it can be drawn that all slaughter houses equipped to slaughter more than 50 large animals or 150 or more small animals including sheep and goats or 1000 or more poultry birds per day shall be given license by the Central Government and for rest not falling in the above stated categories will be given license by State Government.
  • Part VI of ‘The Food Safety and Standard (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulation, 2011’ deals with the title ‘Slaughter House’. As per these provisions only and only the authorized slaughter house can slaughter animals. For your convenience the regulation No. 7.04, 9.05, 9.07 and 6 are produced below:

“7.04:- No live animals or birds should be allowed inside or adjacent to the meat shops.”

“9.05:- Slaughtering of animal / birds inside the shop premises should be strictly prohibited.”

“9.07 Wholesome meat obtained from the authorized slaughter house shall only be sold at the meat shops and a record thereof shall be kept in the premises to be shown to any officer of the concerned Panchayats / Municipalities responsible for local administration Corporation at the time of inspection”

From the above cited regulations it can be concluded that:

  1. No living animal can be slaughtered in and around a meat shop
  2. Slaughtering of animals in poultry shop is strictly prohibited.
  3. Wholesome meat obtained from authorized slaughter house is only to be sold in meat shops. Further a record has to be maintained and kept in the shop premise for showing it to the concerned officers.
  • It will not be out of place to refer section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 which reads as follows:

“3. Duties of persons having charge of any animals:

It shall be the duty of every person having the care or charge of any animal to take all responsible measures to ensure the wellbeing of such animal and to prevent the infliction upon such animal of unnecessary pain or suffering.”

The act impose obligation upon all persons/authority for caring the animals providing all necessary facilities for its care and life. In the above referred provision the words “charge of any animal” are significant. It is the duty of the custodian of animals to take care of animals including saving of its life.

  • That the Supreme Court of India in the case of Animal Welfare Board Of India vs A. Nagaraja & Ors reported in (2014) 7 SCC 547, has extended the scope of Article 21 not only to humans but also to animals. In the light of this precedent, the fundamental right to life and liberty of the cattle have been violated and should be given equal importance as if the right of any human being is violated.
  • Article 51-A of the Constitution of India also provides that it shall be the duty of every citizen to have compassion for living creatures. The Constitution has imposed fundamental duties to all citizens to have compassion towards living creatures. The words used here are “living creatures”. Section 2(a) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 reads thus, ‘animal’ means any living creature other than a human being. Hence, all the citizens are required to have compassion towards all living creatures including animals, birds, reptiles and even small insects also.
  • The Hon’ble Supreme Court has expressed a new dimension to the words “to have compassion for living creatures” of Article 51-A(g). In the case of State of Gujarat Shri Ahimsa Army Manav Kalyan Jeev Daya Charitable Trust, appellant with Akhil Bharat Krishi Goseva Sangh, appellant v/s. Mirzapur Moti Kureshi Kasab Jamat and others, case nos.4937-4940 of 1998, a Constitution Bench of 7 Judges held in paragraph 58 as under:

“In AIIMS Students’ Union v. AIIMS and Ors., (2002) 1 SCC 428, a three-Judge Bench of this Court made it clear that fundamental duties, though not enforceable by writ of the court, yet provide valuable guidance and aid to interpretation and resolution of constitutional and legal issues. In case of doubt, peoples’ wish as expressed through Article 51-A can serve as a guide not only or resolving the issue but also for constructing or moulding the relief to be given by the courts. The fundamental duties must be given their full meaning as expected by the enactment of the Forty-second Amendment. The Court further held that the State is, in a sense, ‘all the citizens placed together’ and, therefore, though Article 51A does not expressly cast any fundamental duty on the State, the fact remains that the duty of every citizen of India is, collectively speaking, the duty of the State.”

Now as per the ruling, fundamental duty under Article 51A(g) to have compassion towards living creatures is extended to State Government and Government authority. State is equally responsible for due care and protection of animals. Fundamental duty of a citizen if collectively spoken is a collective duty of a State, because a State is a collection of the citizens.

  • Article 48 of the Constitution of India envisages a duty upon the state to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows.
  • Gujarat Poultry Farmes Regulation, 2013 does not permit to cull poultry birds in any circumstances.

After drawing the above referred legal background it is pertinent to address the factual issues. In the application it has been urged that due to the spread of COVID-19 a ban has been imposed on the movement of vehicles and due to it the fodder could not be transported. However, this contention is misguiding as the movement of vehicles carrying essential commodities and supplies is not prohibited and no pass is required to be sanctioned. In support of this say I attach herein the internal communication dated 31/03/2020. Thus, the contention of the boiler farmers cannot be believed.

Further it is a criminal offence under section 428 and 429 of the Indian Penal Code, wherein a person cannot commit a mischief of killing an animal. Thus the State cannot be the sanctioning authority of committing a criminal offence. Therefore the permission of culling 15,00,000 animals by no stretch of imagination can be granted.

That the farmers are earning from these animals therefore it is the duty of the farmers to protect them in such a disaster. Additionally it is also relevant to note that these farmers do require fodder for feeding their animals; therefore necessary actions may be taken for ensuring that the animals are getting enough fodder as it is an essential life saving supply of these speechless animals.

Hence, by way of the present representation it is humbly urged that the request of boiler farmers should not be granted and the 15,00,000 animals shall be protected from being culled and necessary steps must be taken for ensuring the supply of fodder. I also request you to supply the copy of the order passed upon the application (as and when decided); along with the decision taken upon my representation.

Posted in Law

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