Govt told to ensure protection of stray cattle

Kathmandu, October 15

After six months of issuing writ of mandamus, directing the government to ensure protection of stray cattle, especially cows, oxen and their calves, the Supreme Court has finally published full text of the order.

As per the full text of the apex court, it requires the government authorities to end ill-treatment and cruelty meted out to stray cattle, protect them from hunger and diseases, and provide them safe shelters.

Cows, oxen and their calves have been usually abandoned once they are no more useful due to old age or diseases.

A joint bench of justices Ananda Mohan Bhattarai and Puroshattam Bhandari, on April 21, had ordered the government to protect stray cattle and take action against animal cruelty according to existing laws, in response to a writ petition filed by advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha on March 3.

In the writ petition, advocate Shrestha had named the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, and the Department of Livestock Services, as defendants.

Article 9 (3) of the constitution regards cow as the national animal. Section 289 of the Criminal Code Act has barred people from slaughtering cows and oxen.

Section 117 of the act does not allow anyone to abandon domestic animals after they become old or useless. Similarly, section 290 bars people from indulging in any kind of cruelty against animals.

The government has been told to maintain coordination with local levels for collecting and maintaining computerised data of cattle kept or raised by farmers, tag stray cattle, encourage farmers to insure their animals, establish protection and care centres in each municipality or rural municipality, develop grazing land, plant fodder trees in community forests, and motivate and help farmers to take care of old animals.