TOPIC OF THE DAY:-“All animals are equal”

The Centre’s move to notify new rules to regulate livestock markets under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 (PCA) is either extremely poorly thought out or much too clever for its own good. In a way, both. On the surface, the notification, which spans eight pages, reads like a general document on the regulation of the sale of all kinds of live stock bought and sold in animal markets, with some welcome prohibitions on the cruelty inflicted in the transport and treatment of animals. But parse the rules, and it is evident that cattle — a category that includes cows, buffaloes, bulls and camels — come under a slew of special restrictions which, when effected, could have an extremely serious impact on the meat and livestock industry, not to mention the livelihoods and dietary choices of millions of people. Surprisingly, only the purchase or sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets has been prohibited. This raises suspicions that the Centre has attempted to conceal, or at least soften perceptions about, an extremely controversial provision, in the guise of passing a seemingly inoffensive, even enlightened, body of rules relating to animal cruelty. The rules framed for the sale of cattle are so cumbersome for instance, buyers must verify they are agriculturists, and sellers must furnish photo identity proof and written declarations stating that the cattle are not brought to the animal market for slaughter — that one wonders whether the objective is to surreptitiously throttle the entire cattle trade in an elaborate ream of red tape. Is the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets intended to act indirectly as an absolute ban? Is the notification, stripped of its generalities and niceties, really about the BJP government’s pet concern, cows? Such questions are bound to be raised given the way the rules were notified. If the main subject of the notification was the regulation of livestock markets, why was it issued by the Ministry of Environment and not the Animal Husbandry Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, which deals directly with this issue? Moreover, on what ground can the slaughter of any animal for food be prevented under the PCA, when it explicitly recognises that animals may constitute “food for mankind”? What the Act prohibits is only the “infliction of unnecessary pain and suffering” when animals are consumed as food. Such legal infirmities are bound to be challenge in court, but meanwhile the economic costs of this decision will merit a close watch. If estimates that 90% of slaughtered buffaloes are bought and sold in animal markets are correct, then the trade will be crippled. The Centre must address the concerns of the trade as well as of those who suspect the notification is a part of a Machiavellian plot to influence and curb food choices. While there is a case to retain most of the rules prohibiting the cruel treatment of animals, the ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter in animal markets must go.


1) Inflicted

Meaning: Cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something.

Example: They inflicted serious injuries on three other men.

Synonyms: Administer to, Lay, Impose

Antonyms: Difficulty, Adversity

2) Parse

Meaning: Resolve (a sentence) into its component parts and describe their syntactic roles.

Example: I asked a couple of students to parse these sentences for me.

3) Suspicions

Meaning: A feeling or thought that something is possible, likely, or true.

Example: She had a sneaking suspicion that he was laughing at her.

Synonyms: Intuition, Feeling

Antonyms: Certainty

4) Guise

Meaning: An external form, appearance, or manner of presentation, typically concealing the true nature of something.

Example: He visited in the guise of an inspector.

Synonyms: Likeness, External appearance

Antonyms: Directness, Forthrightness

5) Cumbersome

Meaning: Large or heavy and therefore difficult to carry or use; unwieldy.

Example: Cumbersome diving suits.

Synonyms: Unwieldy, Unmanageable

Antonyms: Manageable, Convenient

6) Surreptitiously

Meaning: In a way that attempts to avoid notice or attention; secretively.

Example: Mary surreptitiously slipped from the room.

Synonyms: Private, Secret

Antonyms: Open, Overt

7) Red tape

Meaning: Excessive bureaucracy or adherence to official rules and formalities.

Example: This law will just create more red tape.

8) Niceties

Meaning: A fine or subtle detail or distinction.

Example: Legal niceties are wasted on him.

Synonyms: Fine point, Subtlety

9) Crippled

Meaning: (Of a person) unable to walk or move properly; disabled.

Example: A crippled old man.

Synonyms: Disable, Paralyse

Antonyms: Boost

10) Machiavellian

Meaning: Cunning, scheming, and unscrupulous, especially in politics.

Example: A whole range of outrageous Machiavellian manoeuvres.

Synonyms: Devious, Cunning

Antonyms: Straightforward, Ingenuous

11) Impeachment

Meaning: The action of calling into question the integrity or validity of something.

Example: The prosecutor’s detailed impeachment of the character witness.

Synonyms: Charge, Criminate

Antonyms: Clear, Absolve

12) Coalition

Meaning: A temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government.

Example: A coalition between Liberals and Conservatives.

Synonyms: Alliance, Union

13) Embroiled

Meaning: Involve (someone) deeply in an argument, conflict, or difficult situation.

Example: The organization is currently embroiled in running battles with pressure groups.

Synonyms: Involve, Entangle

Antonyms: Free, Liberate

14) Intimidation

Meaning: The action of intimidating someone, or the state of being intimidated.

Example: The intimidation of witnesses and jurors.

Synonyms: Frightening, Menacing

15) Quell

Meaning: Put an end to (a rebellion or other disorder), typically by the use of force.

Example: Extra police were called to quell the disturbance.

Synonyms: Abolish, End

Antonyms: Bring about, Prompt

16) Ouster

Meaning: Ejection from a property, especially wrongful ejection. / Deprivation of an inheritance.

Example: Ouster proceedings to remove the husband from the matrimonial home.

Synonyms: Forcing out, Expulsion