Protection of Indigenous Bovine Species in India

In a petition filed before the Supreme Court of India, petitioner has lamented the failure of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) which has failed to make any observations following its report nor has passed any directions the threat posed to the indigenous Indian cows whose genetic purity is being eroded due to cross-breeding and their numbers depleting due to indiscriminate slaughter.

What has happened?

  • Humans and bovines have had a mutually cohabitate existence for several thousand years.
  • In India, the domestic species have co-existed with man since 35,000 years and in the Hindu mythology, are worshipped as a mother.
  • However, while the domestic species are hardy and resistant to Indian weather conditions, their milk productivity is comparatively much lower than the foreign species of cows.
  • This has prompted the comparatively more well-off farmers to import foreign breeds in the nation. These foreign breeds have been mated with the domestic breeds which have reduced the pure domestic breeds in the country.
  • The Indian government did not take any concrete steps to prevent the depletion of indigenous cows even though its legally obliged to protect biodiversity and environment under the Bio Diversity Act and the Environment Protection Act.
  • Even the NGT failed to follow through on its report submitted by the Acting Chairperson of The National Commission for Cattle, Justice Guman Lal Lodha which had expressed serious concern on the slaughter of milking cows and calves in the country.

What the tribunal could have done?

As per the petitioner, the NGT could have directed the closure of more than 1,00,000 unauthorized slaughterhouses which operate in the country. It could have also restricted the import of exotic bulls and bullocks from abroad and ordered the sterilization of all foreign breeds in the country.

The petition, alleges that the illegal slaughter of indigenous cows will cause an irreparable loss to environment, land, and people in the country.

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