Draft livestock and livestock products Bill withdrawn

Context
Recently, the Central Government has decided to withdraw the proposed draft of the Live-stock and Live-stock Product (Importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023.
  • The Bill is meant to replace the Live-stock Importation Act, 1898, and the Live-stock (Amendment) Act, 2001.
What comes under live-stock in India? According to the definition given in the existing law (The Live-stock Importation Act, 1898), “live-stock” includes horses, kine, camels, sheep and any other animal which may be specified by the Central Government by notification in the Official Gazette.” About Live-stock and Live-stock Product (Importation and Exportation) Bill, 2023:
  • Prepared by:
    • The Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD), which comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
  • Provisions introduced in the bill:
    • It frames guidelines for the import and export of live animals.
    • It widens the scope of animal import-export (including cats and dogs among ‘live-stock’), and
    • Takes away some powers of state governments to regulate this area.
    • The Bill provides definition for “Livestocks products” as,
      • meat and meat products of all kinds including fresh, chilled and frozen meat tissue;
      • organs of poultry, pig, sheep, goat; egg and egg powder;
      • milk and milk products;
      • bovine, ovine (the sheep family) and caprine (the goat family) embryos, ova and semen;
      • Pet food products of animal origin and any other animal product which may be specified by the Central Government.
  • Changes made in Comparison to previous Acts:
Sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures are quarantine and biosecurity measures which are applied to protect human, animal or plant life or health from risks arising from the introduction, establishment and spread of pests and diseases and from risks arising from additives, toxins and contaminants in food and feed.
    • The proposed draft has 10 Sections, and has expanded the definition of live-stock to include feline and canines also.
  • Need for Amendment:
    • To align it with the contemporary requirements and prevailing circumstances related to sanitary and Phyto-sanitary measures.
What were the concerns in the proposed draft?
  • Can increase cruelty on animals: Animal rights organisations have said that the draft Bill will open a “Pandora’s Box” of cruelties on animals.
  • Abuse and Traffic animals for illegal use: The proposed Livestock and Livestock Products [Importation and Exportation] Bill, allowing the live export of animals from India, is a blanket free pass for the abuse of millions of animals farmed for food and other uses.
According to 2021 figures released by the United Nations, almost 2 billion of the 80 billion land animals raised for food around the world are exported alive to different countries.
Related Constitutional Provisions:
  • Article 48 A states that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country.
  • Article 51A (g) states it to be a duty of every citizen of India “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers, and wildlife, and to have compassion for living creatures.”
  • Further, the State and Concurrent List have been assigned the following items about animal rights.
  • The States are given the authority to “preserve, maintain and improve stock and prevent animal diseases and enforce veterinary training and practice,” according to State List Item 14.
  • The Concurrent List contains legislation that both the Centre and the States may pass;
    • “Prevention of animal cruelty,” which is mentioned in item 17.
    • “Protection of wild animals and birds” which is mentioned as item 17B.
Way forward:
  • Support welfare of Farmers: A large number of farmers depend upon animal husbandry and animal rearing for their livelihood. It supports the livelihood of almost 55% of the rural population.
As per the Economic Survey-2021, the contribution of Livestock in total agriculture and allied sector Gross Value Added (at Constant Prices) has increased from 24.32% (2014-15) to 28.63% (2018-19).
  • For economic prosperity: Livestock productivity has been identified as one of the seven sources of income growth by the Inter-Ministerial Committee under the government’s target of doubling farmers’ income by the year 2022.
  • Focus on Environmental consequences: Macro benefits regarding climate change and employment are linked to the Animal Husbandry sector and enhanced infrastructure can make processing units more energy-efficient and help mitigate their carbon footprint.

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