The Karnataka cabinet will soon revisit the contentious anti-cow slaughter law enacted by the previous BJP government, taking into account the hardships of farmers who are forced to take care of unproductive cattle since their slaughter is completely banned.
Chief minister Siddaramaiah's pledge in Davanagere on Monday has triggered protests by the BJP whose leaders have warned the Congress government of an agitation if the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020, is tinkered with.
Siddaramaiah had on Monday said that the cabinet would soon discuss the implications of the new law that prohibits the slaughter of even ox and oxen that were earlier allowed to be culled for meat. “While the old law had allowed the slaughter of some cattle that ceased to be productive and were over 12 years old, the new law has banned even that, putting the burden on farmers who are struggling to maintain them,” he said.
The chief minister pointed out that the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Cattle Preservation Act, 1964, that was replaced by the new law in December 2020 allowed the slaughter of unproductive cattle aged above 12 years.
The 1964 law permitted the slaughter of bulls and he-buffaloes above the age of 12 and certified unfit for breeding or for agriculture use.
The old law prohibited only the slaughter of cows, she-buffaloes and calves. But the new law broadened the definition of “cow” to cover all cattle, allowing only the slaughter of buffaloes.
The new law provides for jail terms of up to seven years for slaughtering cattle on the prohibited list.
The chief minister’s assurance to discuss the cattle slaughter issue at the cabinet meeting comes close on the heels of animal husbandry minister K. Venkatesh questioning what was wrong in slaughtering cows when buffaloes were slaughtered.
“If buffaloes can be slaughtered, what is wrong in slaughtering cows?” Venkatesh had asked on Saturday, stirring a row with the BJP.
He had cited his own experience of taking care of unproductive and aged cattle and how he had to hire an excavator to bury one of his cows that died of old age.