Sending cattle to slaughter by train

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2004:

NEW DELHI–India’s first major animal welfare-related
political confrontation since the Congress Party returned to power in
May 2004 appears to have ended in victory for the ousted Hindu
At issue was cattle transport to slaughter by railway, with
animal advocates on either side of the debate. Cattle slaughter is
legal in only three Indian states, in deference to Hindi religious
sensitivities, but because slaughter is by far the most profitable
means of disposing of surplus male calves and worn-out milk cows, up
to 15 million cattle per year are illicitly sent to slaughter in
those three states plus neighboring Bangladesh.
The 1978 Cattle Transport Act outlawed moving cattle from
state to state or abroad except for use in milking herds or to escape
Toppling the Congress Party coalition that had ruled India
for 48 of the 49 preceding years in 1998, the Hindu nationalist
Bharatiya Janata Dal coalition beefed up the Cattle Transport Act by
banning cattle transport by train in March 2001, under the 1960
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The action had long been urged
by then-animal welfare minister Maneka Gandhi and then-Animal Welfare
Board of India chair Guman Mal Lodha as an essential step toward
ending cattle slaughter, which increased 20-fold between 1977 and
1997 as Indian milk production tripled.

Milking four times as many cows as the U.S. to produce nearly
the same volume of milk, Indian dairies are far behind the U.S. in
using embryo transplants and sperm-sorted artificial insemination to
limit male cattle births, and consequently produce 10 times as many
surplus male calves.
Critics of the Cattle Transport Act and the ban on moving
cattle by train point out that instead of reducing the suffering of
cattle, as the laws intends, they make matters worse. Because
cattle going to slaughter are not being transported by the most
expeditious means, they are in transit longer, and because they are
being moved covertly, they are much less likely to get water and
rest stops along the way.
Back in power, the Congress Party coalition appointed as
agriculture minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who heads the Bihar-based
Rashtriya Janata Dal party. The chief minister of Bihar is his wife,
Rabri Devi. Cattle export to Bengal and Bangladesh is a major if
clandestine part of the Bihar economy. In mid-September Lalu Prasad
Yadav announced that his administration would no longer enforce the
laws against moving cattle by train.
The edict apparently lasted just two days. Maneka Gandhi,
among the senior members of the former BJP party coalition who kept
their seats in the Indian parliament, on September 17 announced that
BJP party loyalists and their allies in regional Hindu nationalist
parties would join People for Animals members in stopping trains
found to be carrying cattle.
This was no idle threat. Mrs. Gandhi founded PfA in 1984,
and the national PfA headquarters is still in her home. Among the
best-known PfA activities are frequent interceptions of cattle from
illegal transport.
Mrs. Gandhi’s position was soon reinforced by Uttar Pradesh
state cow protection commission chair K.P. Yadav, described by
Hemendra Narayan of The Statesman newspaper as “a trusted aide of
chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadev.”
Said K.P. Yadev, “Smuggling will not be tolerated.”

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