Transport farm animals in humane manner, orders SC

Kathmandu, August 26

The Supreme Court today issued an interim order, stating that safe, humane and expeditious means should be adopted for transportation of farm animals for commercial purpose.

More than 1,000 cattle, especially buffaloes and goats, are transported to Kathmandu from various parts of the country in an inhumane manner for slaughter.

A joint bench of justices Ishwor Khatiwada and Ananda Mohan Bhattarai issued the order.  Advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha and advocate Satkon Shrestha had filed a case on July 26, stating that the government had failed to implement the rule regarding safe transportation of farm animals.

Animal health and animal livestock regulation and animal transportation criteria have provisioned multiple rules for transporting animals. The vehicle in which the animals are transported should be wide enough for them to move and breathe comfortably. Animals may not be confined in a vehicle for more than eight consecutive hours without unloading them for feeding, water and rest. There should be a caretaker in the vehicle to take care of the animals.

The law also prohibits transportation of animals by public vehicles and pregnant and lactating animals must not be transported.

Similarly, the law also requires establishment of quarantine posts on highways and in animal collection centres to check the health condition of animals and ensure that they are not suffering from diseases.

Animal right activists say the law is violated almost every day. Sneha Shrestha, founder of Sneha Care, claimed that the law was seldom followed. She said a vehicle with the capacity to accommodate 16 to 17 buffaloes were often found transporting 30 to 35 buffaloes at a time.

“The animals are confined in vehicles for more than 24 hours without unloading them for feeding, water and rest,” she said, adding that at least five buffaloes die in a vehicle, all of which get sold illegally to slaughterhouses.

According to advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha, farm animals are transported to slaughterhouses in a very cruel manner. Transporting goats by keeping them inside vehicle trunks and ferrying hens and ducks tying them upside down with a rope on motorbikes and bicycles are a common practice of transporting animals inside valley.

Bimal Kumar Nirmal, director general at Department of Livestock Services, said, “The only possible way to permanently solve the problem is to start transporting the meat rather than live animals.” He also said that the quarantine officials were working efficiently to control inhumane transportation of farm animals.