South Indian court orders 4 week stay on cow slaughter rules

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The Modi government had ordered to ban the sale of cattle for slaughter objective, now people can only trade cattle for agricultural purposes.

Critics say the new rules, ostensibly to protect the way animals are treated and transported, are in keeping with demands of Hindu nationalists, who have always been pressing for a nationwide ban on the sale of beef.

Some states organised "beef fests" to protest the ban.

A new ban imposed by India's government on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter to protect animals considered holy by many Hindus is drawing widespread protests from state governments and animal-related industries.

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Indian meat traders, in association with other associate industry bodies, are now planning to approach the Supreme Court to seek a repeal of the government's order. The rules, which the government says are in the interests of animal welfare, also prohibit selling livestock for entertainment and implement minimum standards for animal housing and transportation.

The vigilantism around cows, however, seems to have intensified since 2014 - the year Bharatiya Janata Party ascended to power under the leadership of Narendra Modi.

Experts also said that most of India's beef exports are derived from water buffalo and not cows that are considered sacred for the Hindu community.

The slaughter industry stabilised after the strike but the latest order has unsettled trade again, said Priya Sud, partner at Al Noor Exports, which operates abbatoirs in Uttar Pradesh.

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The cattle ban controversy came in the midst of a festering row over cow slaughter and consumption of beef. He also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw the new regulations.

The dispute is still at the core of tensions between Hindus and India's Muslim minority. Several deaths have occurred. India's ban on the trade of cattle for slaughter threatens US$4 billion (RM17.1 billion) in annual beef exports and millions of jobs if the government does not revoke the stoppage decreed last week, according to two industry officials.

"It is unconstitutional and since the Modi government can not ban cow slaughter, it is taking refuge behind animal cruelty to fulfil its right-wing Hindu agenda", he said.

FILE - In this Sunday, March 26, 2017, file photo, stray cows roam on a street as volunteers of the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh march to mark the Vikram Samvat's new year in Allahabad, India.

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