"Cows must be treated ethically, religious beliefs must be respected by Government": Madras HC directs Srirangam temple & State to file status report in plea alleging transport of 100 cows to slaughterhouses

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The Madras High Court has recently observed that religious beliefs must be respected and cattle should be treated in a dignified manner.

The bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu in a PIL challenging a Government order issued by the HR&CE Department, whereby 100 cows donated to the Srirangam temple, allegedly to undisclosed locations meaning they were taken to slaughterhouses, sought report on the number of cattle at the temples and also details of the standard operating procedure in place for their care.

"For a start, the State should file a status report as to the heads of cattle with approximate age and sex available at the temples across the State and any Standard Operating Procedure for their maintenance, well-being and the like that may be in place. This report should be filed by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Department within four weeks from date upon collating all material. The State and the other respondents should file their counter- affidavits within six weeks from date" Court said.

During the hearing, Court also pointed out that the Government must treat the animals in the most ethical manner and that it must take the concerns of the petitioner seriously, solely focusing on the well-being of the cattle. 

The petitioner, Rangarajan Narasimhan told Court that cows which had stopped milking and male calves and bulls were treated in the most unethical manner and that many were used for breeding purposes. He also told Court that they were sent to slaughterhouses which was absolutely antithetical to religious belief of Hindus. 

"The petitioner hints at the animals being indiscriminately sent to the slaughterhouse, which may not be in consonance with the religious beliefs of the worshippers or of the temples."

He also told Court that the transfer of cattle to "undisclosed" places and to slaughterhouses was happening on a large scale and for a long time, adding that the said unethical practices had been going unchecked for a long period of time.

The Animal Welfare Board of India has also agreed to file a report on the issue.

The Court will take up this case after 6 weeks now.


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