Expressing concern over dwindling population of indigenous breeds of cows across the country, the National Green Tribunal has asked states to inform it if they have formulated any scheme or policy for their protection.
A bench headed by Justice Jawad Rahim asked all the state governments to conduct a census and apprise it whether they provide any veterinary and medical assistance to these indigenous cows.
“We direct the respondent states to file their statements stating the rate of the indigenous cows diminishing with particular reference to the period of past five years,” said the bench, also comprising Justice Raghuvendra S Rathore
The bench further asked whether “the State has any interim scheme or policy for the protection of such indigenous species of cows and “whether any local or other laws are available in their respective States for the prohibition of slaughtering of such indigenous cows.”
The NGT had earlier noted that there was nearly 80 per cent decline in the animal population in Kerala from 2003 to 2012 and said such a condition may lead to the extinction of the species in the state.
The order came on a plea by a lawyer, Ashwini Kumar, who had moved the Tribunal, claiming a “looming threat of extinction of indigenous breeds of cattle” in the country.
The tribunal earlier had issued a notice to the Agriculture Ministry on the plea which had also sought a nationwide ban on the slaughter of the cattle of indigenous breeds.
Kumar had claimed a steep decline in the indigenous cow population, saying that the cattle of Indian breeds were being replaced by exotic and cross-bred cows imported from Europe, Australia and the US.
“Even developed countries are taking steps to preserve the diversity in livestock and taking substantial steps to preserve and conserve their domestic livestock species,” the plea had said.
The petitioner had accused the government of remaining a “silent spectator” to the phenomena of “extinction”.