In recent weeks, animal protection group People for Animals (PFA) in India, with the help of police, have rescued 100 cows, calves, and bullocks crammed into trucks and being transported from Shahpur and Koangaon to illegal slaughterhouses in and around Mumbai. Those animals who survived were taken to a shelter in Asangaon near Bhiwandi, according to India’s Mid Day newspaper. However, according to Chetan Sharma of PFA, “Many died due to suffocation and were trampled upon.”
PFA, India’s leading animal advocacy group, says they have been watching illegal slaughterhouses in and around Mumbai, and patrolling the highways in Thane to watch for animals headed for slaughter, according to the Press Trust of India. The Times of India reported that eight people were arrested after police apprehended a truck near Ghatampur. They found 15 oxen, two cows and two carcasses. According to police inspector Vipin Kumar Rai,”The arrested persons admitted that the animals had been loaded onto the truck from different areas and were being taken for slaughter. They have been booked under Section 3/8 of the Cow Slaughter Act and Animal Cruelty Act.”
Under the Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act of 1976, it is illegal to kill calves and healthy bullocks that can be used for agriculture, draught or breeding. An amendment to the act strictly regulates how animals can be transported.
The Times of India reported that as a result of the crackdown, butchers in Deonar Mumbai have shut down their slaughterhouses. According to Mid Day, Riyaz Ahmed Qureshi, a slaughterhouse contractor said, “There are over 200 licensed slaughterhouses meant for cow, bullock and calves in Deonar. More than 350 workers working at these slaughterhouses will be rendered jobless due to lesser number of animals being supplied.”
“There is a strong cattle mafia which completely disregard the law. The authorities must take a stand,” said Ambika Hiranandani of People for Animals in Mid Day. The Times of India reported that Sharma was allegedly threatened by a butcher inside the Koangaon police station in the presence of police while filing a report on the illegal transportation.
In an article on the PFA website, the group’s founder Maneka Gandhi, who is also a Member of Parliament (MP), says that thousands of cattle are transported daily to Deonar and other nearby illegal slaughterhouses for illegal slaughter.