Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday tabled the Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 — with an aim to regulate “slaughter, consumption, illegal transportation” of cattle — in the state Assembly. If passed, the new legislation will repeal the Assam Cattle Preservation Act, 1950.
The proposed law prohibits the interstate transport of cattle to and from, as well as through Assam without valid documents. It also prohibits selling and buying of beef in areas which are inhabited by “non-beef eating communities” as well as within a radius of 5 km of any temple.
Reacting to the Bill, the Opposition has said it will bring in amendments. Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia of the Congress said they are getting the Bill examined by experts. The law will extend to the entire state and apply to cattle that includes “bulls, bullocks, cows, heifer, calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves.”
As per the 1950 Act, cattle slaughter is allowed only for cattle “over 14 years of age” or those “unfit for work” in Assam subject to a “fit-for-slaughter certificate” issued by a local veterinary officer after examination. Under the new law, the same approval certificate for all cattle is required — however, it adds that a cow cannot be slaughtered regardless of age.