India is the land of the ‘Holy Cow’, and cow slaughter is strictly forbidden by law across India, except in the states of West Bengal & Kerala. All other states have enacted prevention of cow slaughter statutes (*see legislation enacted by the States / Union Territories on cow slaughter). In Uttar Pradesh, where the incident that we’re writing about occurred, there is The Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act, 1955, for instance.
The unsavory paradox however is, that India is also well on its way to becoming the largest beef exporter in the world ; but is widely believed that it is buffalo’s (and bullocks and bulls) that are slaughtered, for beef and for leather (see Where’s the Beef? The truth about India’s Beef Industry).
The ‘Indian’ beef that is exported, mainly to the Middle East, is largely believed by a populace that doesn’t want to believe otherwise, to be buffalo meat. Activists know of course, that the law notwithstanding, there is considerable cow slaughter in India, and the “mother” is conveniently slaughtered when she grows old and infirm, or even when she is younger and can fetch the ‘right price’. Also, that transportation for slaughter is often in violation of the Transport of Animals Rules enacted under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and horribly cruel, with several animals pushed and ‘packed’ together, sometimes one over the other, into vehicles and containers ill-suited to carry them, with no food, water, or veterinary care.
THIS IS A REPORT about cows, obviously meant for slaughter, being transported illegally with gross cruelty in violation of every possible applicable law, that were seized by the Noida police on the morning of the 19th of January, 2014, not too far from a posh and very large mall – The Great India Place at Sector 38-A, Noida.
A little after 10 a.m. on 19th January, 2014, some policemen descended upon the SPCA Noida, i.e. the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Noida, and requested that urgent help and medi-care be provided to cattle confiscated by them en route to slaughter, and taken to a gaushala in Noida. What they disclosed about how it had happened was chilling.
Seizing the cattle
According to the police, at around 7:45 AM, they had discovered a tipper truck standing on a road, not too far from the Great India Place at Sector 38-A, Noida. It was the sort that is used in construction sites for transporting huge quantities of mud/earth and other material, from one location to another. The police claimed that there was nobody in the vicinity, and so they got suspicious. They also heard sounds of movement, and what seemed like faint cries of animals.
So they pried open the entrance to the tipper truck, and a shocking sight met their eyes. There were several cows in the tipper truck, stuffed together, piled one over the other, obviously is acute distress ; and some seemed semi-conscious. (Later count revealed that there were 16 cows, one bull, and one male calf.) There was some mud spread at the entrance to the tipper truck, so that all passers-by would get the impression, from the bit of mud that’d keep dropping to the ground when the tipper truck was moving, that there was nothing amiss. The police say they realised that what was occurring was illegal transportation for illegal slaughter; and therefore they immediately confiscated the ‘consignment’. They say the tipper truck seemed to have developed a fault, and so they called for crane to tow it to a gaushala in Noida, which they managed by around 10 AM (and all the while the poor animals that had been ‘travelling’ since goodness knows when, lay piled in there, one over the other, some slowly suffocating to death).
This is what the police say : That early in the morning on the 19th of January, 2014, they discovered this tipper truck full of cows being illegally transported for illegal slaughter, and that there was nobody in sight. They say the driver seemed to have fled.
Another similar incident, when early in the morning on the 20th of September, 2013, the police had apparently ‘discovered an unmanned vehicle’ with over 35 cows, can be read about, here :-
An interesting newspaper report that was circulated in April, 2013, about police in Hapur district in western Uttar Pradesh having stumbled upon a flourishing cow slaughter trade, probably involving the complicity of lower ranking police men, can be seen here :-
As per this newspaper report, cow slaughter takes place at Kakor in Gautambudh Nagar district of U.P. (which is where Noida also is), and at Dhaulana of Panchsheel Nagar.
At the gaushala
It is perhaps easier for a gaushala than any other kind of animal welfare organization, if managed by an up and about, well connected management, to obtain donations from those who believe that India is the land of the holy cow, and look to donating money for animal welfare.
Of course, there are the other sort of gaushalas too, managed by the not so savvy, humble people on board, that are badly stretched for everything because they’re not able to reach out for funds.
In any event, for cows it is easier – than it is for dogs, or cats, or donkeys, or bulls, or buffalos.
The gaushala to which these 18 animals were taken seems to be better off than many others. However, on Sunday the 19th of January, 2014, when these horribly suffering animals were unloaded into the gaushala, there was some staff present, and perhaps one trainee para-vet who was not confident of managing the emergency medi-care himself, which is why the police then went to the SPCA Noida, to get assistance. (There are over 400 cows at that gaushala, so how they manage usually, is a mystery.)
Vineet Arora, Manager in charge of treatments at the SPCA Noida, and himself an expert para-vet, rushed to the gaushala together with one para-vet, and two other staff. The animals were ‘unloaded’ after the SPCA staff reached. Out of them – 16 cows, 1 bull, one male calf, two were discovered dead. The others were suffering badly, and had to be administered life-saving drugs intravenously. To their shock, however, the manager at the ‘gaushala’ told the SPCA staff that it was a Sunday, and without approval, he would not be able to provide the equipment and medication urgently required for saving the lives of the 16 animals that were yet alive ! All paraphernalia for administering the medication intravenously, and infusions and drugs such as RL, DNS, Mifex, Intacef, Melonex, Vitalgin, Dexona, Tribivet, and Prednosolon, were therefore rushed from the SPCA to the gaushala. Since the 19th of January, because of the sheer trauma that they underwent, and the injuries sustained during the course of ‘travel’, 5 more cattle are supposed to have died. (On the 19th of January, the SPCA provided the required veterinary assistance. The sort of veterinary care that they have received thereafter is something that is known only to the gaushala.)
The law and the F.I.R.
What occurred was a violation of Sections 11 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, of course, and of Sections 428 and 429 of The Indian Penal Code. The ‘transportation’ was also in gross violation of The Transport of Animals Rules. Most importantly however, it was a gross violation of The Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act. The said Act, which was enacted to prohibit and prevent the slaughter of cow and its progeny in Uttar Pradesh, can be seen here :-
Section 3 of The Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act prohibits cow, bull or bullock slaughter in Uttar Pradesh, in these terms :-
3. Prohibition of Cow Slaughter:- No person shall slaughter or cause to be slaughtered, or offer or cause to be offered for slaughter, a cow, bull or bullock in any place in Uttar Pradesh, anything contained in any other law for the time being in force or any usage or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.
The police have lodged an F.I.R. against “unknown persons” under Sections 3, 5A and 8 of The Uttar Pradesh Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act. Offenses committed under the Act are non-bailable, and the penalty can stretch up to rigorous imprisonment for 7 years together with fine, if there is a conviction. Unfortunately however, no arrests have been made, because the police claim that there was no person in or around the tipper truck, when it was found by them. It is therefore unlikely that anybody will be punished for the crime that was committed.