The Rajasthan Assembly has passed a law that bans the slaughter, trading and unauthorised transportation of camels. Camel had been declared as the State animal last year though there was some opposition from the communities whose livelihoods depend on camel.
The Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Bill, 2015 also makes causing injury to camel punishable. Camel slaughter is punishable for up to five years and monetary fine.
Allaying apprehensions raised by the Opposition and the BJP members over some provisions of the Bill, including piercing of nose which could be punishable under intentional injury, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Lal Saini said rituals and traditional practices would not be made punishable.
Mr. Saini said that the number of camels in Rajasthan had sharply declined to 3.26 lakh as had in the adjoining states including Gujarat.
According to the statement of objectives of the Bill, camel is an integral part of the desert eco-system of the State and has played a very important role in the survival of human population in adverse desert conditions. Presently, Camel is presently endangered and in need for initiation of sincere efforts for its conservation and protection, due to an alarming steep population decline observed in the recent past.
Several cases of intentional killings of camel and its progeny have come to light. It has also been observed that a large number of camels are transported or carried out of Rajasthan to other States for the purpose of slaughter. The existing laws are not sufficient to tackle this problem. Agriculture being the main stay of our economy, camel as a working animal is also the backbone of our agricultural and village economic structure, it says.
Aged camels, even when they cease to be capable of yielding milk or working as draught animal can no longer be said to be useless or unfit. In order to protect and improve the natural environment by minimising dependence on chemical fertilisers and pesticides, and by using natural and soil friendly manure generated as a biological phenomenon by these camelus animals, as also to have compassion for such useful living creatures as envisaged in Article 51A (g) of the Constitution, the slaughtering of these animals needs to be strictly prohibited.