- The controversial Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020, was notified in February 2021 it received the Governor’s assent on February 12 2021.
- The Act replaced the earlier Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 1964, which stood repealed.
- Before the bill was passed, Karnataka State finance department had earlier warned about its ‘huge financial implications’.
How has the act impacted since 2021?
Is it Constitutional?
Comparison 1964 v 2020 acts
In a nutshell
- The law, enacted by Karnataka’s government, came into effect in 2021 and makes it illegal to buy, sell, transport, slaughter, trade all cattle (cows, bulls, buffaloes, oxen).
- The only exceptions are for buffaloes above the age of 13 and terminally ill cattle, but only after certification from a veterinarian.
- Those found guilty can be imprisoned for up to 7 years, and fined between Rs 50,000 and 5 lakh.
Impact of the act
Role of Cattle
Impact of the act
- The law against cattle slaughter which was a poll promise of the Karnataka BJP before it came to power in 2019 has pleased some sections of the population but others claim it has caused them severe distress.
- These include cattle traders, leather workers, and those engaged in the skin-curing and tannery industries.
- The worst hit are the small farmers and poor labourers, majority of them Dalits and Muslims who worked at slaughterhouses and curing and tannery units.
- These stakeholders allege that industries were already suffering due to the Covid-19 lockdowns & have been further burdened because of the law.
Impact of the act
- According to the Karnataka state 2020-2021 economic survey, Karnataka’s leather exports were at Rs 562 crore in 2018-19, Rs 502 crore in 2019-20, and Rs 166.84 crore in 2020-21 (April to November).
- The steep decline can be attributed largely to Covid-19 restrictions. It can be safely assumed that the numbers for FY2021-22 will be lower both due to covid restrictions as well as the implementation of the act.
Was impact analysis made before the bill was passed?
- Before the bill was passed, the finance department had told the Karnataka cabinet in December 2020 that, “This decision may be reconsidered in view of the huge financial implications. We cannot agree to this kind of expenditure when we are struggling to make both ends meet”.
- According to the cabinet note, the total cost of implementing the anti-cattle slaughter Act was estimated at Rs 5,240.18 crore.
- The cabinet estimated an expense of Rs 3,512.32 crore to maintain 4.84 lakh head of cattle over four years. The anticipated expenditure to build 2,417 cattle shelters was Rs 1,208.50 crore, and another Rs 519.36 crore was the requirement assessed to offset the loss of 27,250 metric tonnes of beef due to implementation of the Act.
Whatever… The act has come…!!
Has it benefitted the cattle atleast?
- Has it benefitted the cattle atleast?
- Despite the law being in force for a year, there is not even one functional government cattle shelter in Karnataka.
- State Animal Husbandry Ministry says, Government goshalas are being constructed in all 30 districts. Farmers can leave their old, sick, unproductive, and male calves at the nearest private goshala for which government is providing financial assistance.
- As of now, around 186 cattle sheds run by temples, trusts, and religious institutions are getting assistance from the government to care for cattle seized under this Act.