This has no precedence — not for Narkeldanga police station at least. It played host for over eight hours on Monday to as many as 11 cows, including some calves barely six months old, after saving them from the butcher’s block.
By Tuesday, the cattle had reached the conventional cattle-hosting quarters of Pinjrapole, on the city’s northern fringes, after spending the night at the Bowbazar Animal Hospital run by the Calcutta Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA). But the policemen at Narkeldanga thana are yet to get over their experience.
Around 10.30 am on Monday, policemen on duty on Narkeldanga Main Road noticed a man herding along 11 oxen and cows. “Asked where he was headed, the man replied he was taking cattle to an abattoir,” a Narkeldanga policeman said on Tuesday. “But the cattle did not appear old or infirm, as the animals that are led to the abattoir,” he added.
The man and his consignment were brought to the police station and made to wait, while officials rang up the CSPCA.
Inspectors arrived from the organisation and, after consulting the rulebooks, found that none of the cattle was ready for the butcher’s knife, going by the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty Act (PCA).
“The Act says that no milk-producing cow can be butchered,” a CSPCA official pointed out. “Besides, butchering cattle — male or female — below a certain age is also strictly prohibited,” he added, explaining that all the seized heads of cattle were “very young. Some were barely a few months old,” he said. Accordingly, the man was booked under the provisions of the PCA.
But that was the easy bit. The more difficult part was to host 11 heads of cattle, till transport arrived to take them to the CSPCA-run hospital. The cows were tied to poles on the thana compound.
Water was placed in buckets before them, as was some hay. But the guests, particularly the younger ones, were skittish with fear. They relieved themselves all day, much to the discomfiture of their human hosts.
“We had a tough time keeping the place clean,” a thana official admitted on Tuesday. Besides, a crowd gathered to witness the unusual spectacle — of cows in the police station — and they, too, had to be kept at bay.
The cattle finally left for Bowbazar around seven in the evening.They headed for their destination at Pinjrapole, near Sodepur, on Tuesday morning.