Sunday, July 10, 2011

India's Draft Animal Welfare Bill Changed To Exempt Religious Slaughtering

With significant attention around the word being given to proposed legislation in the Netherlands that would ban halal and kosher slaughter of meat (see prior posting), India has taken steps to avoid a similar controversy. The Hindustan Times yesterday reported that India's environment ministry has made changes to the original draft of its proposed Animal Welfare Act 2011 to assure that it will not ban slaughter of animals as carried out by Muslims (halal), Jews (kosher), Hindus and Sikhs (jhatka) in accordance with their religious traditions. The first draft provided that the cruelty provisions do not apply to:
the commission or omission of any act in the course of the destruction or the preparation for destruction of any animal as food for mankind, unless ... accompanied by the infliction of unnecessary trauma, pain or suffering. (Sec. 17(3)(d)) [corrected quote]
When Muslim groups criticized this  draft of the bill, the ministry circulated a new draft which contains an explicit exemption providing:
Nothing contained in this Act shall render it an offence to kill any animal in a manner required by the religion of any community.