Q. Is slaughtering an animal apart from in a slaughterhouse, legal?
A. Wherever there is a government slaughterhouse, slaughter is forbidden to be carried out anywhere else. If there is no government slaughterhouse in that area then killing can only take place in a licensed slaughterhouse which should be situated where it is not a public nuisance or an environmental hazard. These slaughterhouses have to follow all Municipal Corporation laws and ISI regulations. No animals can be slaughtered in slums, roadside meat shops, dhabas or private houses. Slaughtering of any animal at any place other than a licensed slaughterhouse is prohibited.
In the larger public interest and with regard to it creating an environment hazard and public nuisance, Smt. Maneka Gandhi moved the Delhi High Court against the Idgah Slaughterhouse of Delhi. The Court gave the following directions which apply to all slaughterhouses:
(1) Children below the age of 18 years shall not be allowed to work in the slaughterhouse.
(2) Each slaughterhouse has a licence for a prescribed number of animals which it may not exceed, e.g . if the licence is for 2500 per day, the number of animals slaughtered may not exceed 2500 per day, i.e. 2000 sheep and goats and 500 buffaloes.
(3) There should be an adequate number of veterinary doctors for the purpose of proper and thorough examination of animals before issuing a fitness certificate for the animal to be slaughtered.
(4) Compounding fee in respect of sheep/goats is increased from ` 50 to ` 500 and for buffaloes from ` 200 to ` 2000.
(5) The maximum number of animals allowed to be carried in open trucks must not exceed 40 goats/sheep and 4 buffaloes.
(6) The slaughterhouse should have proper light, electricity, fans and coolers in its various sections.
According to the Municipal laws, if there is a Municipal slaughterhouse then there can be no private slaughterhouses and no licence can be issued to such slaughterhouses as they are illegal.
As per the Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), the basic requirements for a slaughterhouse are as follows:-
a) A slaughterhouse should be located outside or on the periphery of a city or town and away from an airport.
b) There must be services of potable water, electricity and proper hygienic sewage disposal facilities.
c) There must be a resting place for the animals before slaughter.
d) There must be adequate facilities for 'before-killing' inspection.
e) Slaughter must be carried out humanely.
f) Carcasses must be flayed, dressed and washed.
g) There must be proper inspection of meat and proper disposal of meat unfit for human consumption.
If any slaughterhouse does not adhere to these standards, it cannot be licensed.
The Prevention of Cruelty of Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001 lays down the following requirements for a slaughterhouse.
Section 4(1) to (8) states that-
- The slaughterhouse shall have a reception area of adequate size sufficient for livestock subject to veterinary inspection.
- The veterinary doctor after examining the animal shall issue a fitness certificate for each animal.
- The veterinary doctor shall examine thoroughly not more than 12 animals in an hour and not more than 96 animals in a day.
- The reception area of the slaughterhouse shall have proper ramps for direct unloading of animals from vehicles or railway wagons and the said reception area shall have adequate facility sufficient for feeding and watering of animals.
- Separate isolation pens shall be provided in the slaughterhouse with watering and feeding arrangements for animals suspected to be suffering from contagious and infectious diseases, and fractious animals, in order to segregate them from the remaining animals.
- Adequate holding area shall be provided in the slaughterhouse according to the class of animals to be slaughtered.
- Ante-mortem (before death) and pen area shall preferably be covered and shall be paved with material such as concrete non-slippery herring bone type flooring or brick suitable to withstand wear and tear by hooves. Suitable drainage facilities shall be provided around the borders of the area except at the entrances.
Section 5(1) to (5) says that-
- Every animal after veterinary examination shall be passed on to a resting place, adequate in size and sufficient for the number of animals that must be rested for 24 hours before slaughtering.
- The space provided in the pens shall be not less than 2.8 sq m per large animal and 1.6 sq m per small animal.
- The animals shall be kept separately depending on their type and class and protected from heat, cold and rain.
- The resting place shall have adequate facilities for watering and post-mortem inspection.