The Meghalaya government has informed that district animal market committees have now been set up in all districts of the State in accordance with the Rules of 2017 of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The government informed this during the hearing of a PIL filed by Bakul Narzary by the division bench of the Meghalaya High Court today.
Although the government stated that the committees have been constituted since June 2022, the High Court observed that no meaningful steps have yet been taken and there were no uniform guidelines promulgated by the State on the matter.
“For a long time, in several matters this court has been referring to the aesthetically hideous display of carcasses on either side of main roads, be it for vending chicken or mutton or pork or beef. Apart from the visual pollution, which may not be appealing to even the most carnivorous of non-vegetarians, the dust and grime that the carcasses are exposed to make them unhygienic for human consumption. This court has been appealing to the State to take effective measures to ensure that such carcasses are not openly displayed and are kept within cases to ensure that the dust and grime of the roads do not get to them,” the High Court said.
“Apart from this there is the more important aspect of how animals which are culled for meat are ferried, both across the State and over the State borders. Surely, there is a lot of room for more ethical treatment of animals than tying up dozens of live chickens by their legs and having them hanging upside down from cycle handles or pushing far too many animals into a cramped vehicle with not enough legroom and ferrying them over long distances,” the court added.
The High Court also said that since the district animal market committees have now been constituted for more than a year, effective measures should have been taken in respect of the matters referred to above and also the conditions in the marketplace, both with respect to better treatment of animals and, obviously, hygiene and cleanliness.
The court also directed the State government to file a report in respect of the matters related to display of animal and poultry carcasses and the manner in which the animal and poultry are transported.
It also directed that the report should be filed through a responsible official in the Secretariat at the next hearing to be held on September 19.