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Make butchering of animals at slaughterhouse least cruel: SC

The Supreme Court Thursday said animals at a slaughterhouse should be butchered with minimum of cruelty in line with the relevant act.

IANS| Updated: Nov 28, 2013, 20:57 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Thursday said animals at a slaughterhouse should be butchered with minimum of cruelty in line with the relevant act.

A bench of Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan and Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose said this as it heard the response of the Delhi Municipal Corporation to the reports by Central Pollution Control Board`s counsel Vijay Panjwani and other by counsel P.K.Mullick.

Both Panjwani and Mullick had gone into the functioning of Asia`s biggest livestock market and slaughterhouse at Ghazipur in the national capital. Both the reports described the pathetic conditions in which the slaughterhouse and the live stock market were operating where adherence to rules was an exception than a practice.

"This is cruelly. Is it most sophisticated system (for slaughtering the sheep, goats and buffaloes). What is the use of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act?" said Justice Radhakrishnan as Panjwani disputed the claim by Additional Solicitor General Rakesh Khanna that the animals are stunned to mitigate their pain before being slaughtered.

Stunning is a process by which a 60 volt current is given to animal to disconnect its brain from the body before they are slaughtered.

Panjwani claimed the sheep, goats and buffaloes were being slaughtered at Ghazipur without being stunned.

The court was told that there were two methods of slaughtering the animals. One was by stunning the animal before it was slaughtered and in the second method, the throat of the animal is slit and it is allowed to die by the loss of blood - known as `halal` and preferred by the Muslims.

Describing the awful conditions at the Ghazipur slaughter house, the court was told that there was no metalled road leading to the entrance gate (Gate No.4) of the abattoir.

Panjwani told the court that the 1.5 km road that was now being constructed was just seven metres wide and thus not enough to accommodate two trucks coming from opposite sides. He said though it was a night market, yet there were no lights on the road.

He said that in all, 6,000 animals that include 1,500 buffaloes and 4,500 sheep and goats are slaughtered at the abattoir but every night 25,000 animals are traded in the livestock market.

Initially the market was seen as annexe to the slaughter house but in fact now it is the other way round, he added.

Sharma said that government was mulling to have another slaughterhouse either in Dwarka or in Rohini to ease the load of the Ghazipur slaughterhouse, as Panjwani suggested another abattoir at 32 to 40 acres of land adjoining the existing slaughterhouse.

This could be managed by a co-operative of existing unemployed slaughterers at the Ghazipur abattoir, said Panjwani.

As Mullick told the court that there are just eight veterinary doctors at the slaughterhouse - or three doctors in one shift - handling an average of 2,000 animals in each shift, Justice Radhakrishnan observed: "We can expect what kind of inspection that these doctors are doing."