The Centre has imposed an indefinite ban on the export of livestock from all sea ports in the country. The decision comes at a time when there is a huge demand for livestock in foreign countries ahead of Bakr-Eid and there has been an increasing growth in the value of India’s livestock exports in the past few years.
Union Minister of State for Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya told The Indian Express that the ban is in response to representations from animal rights’ activists and the Gujarat government. “There were many complaints and representations from Jivdaya Premi (animal welfare NGO) and animal rights’ activists,” Mandaviya was quoted as saying.
“A few days ago, people had agitated against the export of livestock from Nagpur airport also. Therefore, we have decided to impose a blanket ban on export of livestock from all sea ports. The Gujarat government had also submitted a representation in this regard,” he told the newspaper. The ban was also being demanded by various Jain religious leaders who held demonstrations in Maharashtra recently.
According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, the export value of sheep and goat meat from India has increased from US $128.38 million in 2015-16 to US $129.69 million in 2016-17. According to reports, about 60 countries import goat meat from India and 80 per cent of the total meat exports go to West Asia. UAE followed by Nepal are the two main countries which import live sheep and goats from India.
The Shipping Ministry has also withdrawn the permission for country crafts (Mechanised Sailing Vessels) to export livestock from the ports in Gujarat, just five days after it allowed such crafts for export. On August 3, livestock exporting associations were granted permission to export sheep and goats by using country crafts, however, on August 7, the permission was revoked. “This time, since Bakr-Eid will fall on August 22, we decided to export livestock to the Gulf,” Adam Bhaya, secretary of Salaya Vessels Owners’ Association, was quoted as saying by the web publication Down to Earth. According to exporters, around 10,000 sheep and goats, supposed to be sent to Gulf countries on August 6, are now stranded at Gujarat’s Tuna Port.
“This kind of undue interruption in export of livestock will tarnish the name of Indian exporters and such an act is against the Centre’s policy of boosting exports,” said Adil Noor, secretary of Livestock Export Association Gujarat (LEAG).
According to Noor, 40,000 families are dependent on this industry including labourers, crew members of country crafts, exporters, agents, and traders. The sudden ban has now doomed these people dependent on the livestock farming industry across the country.