By- Khushi Yadav
The Supreme Court SC on Friday, September 19, asked the Union Government to respond to a plea to declare Artificial Reproduction Technique (ART), including Artificial Insemination (AI), performed on livestock and other animals without any proven bio-medical need, as cruel, mala fide, illegal and contrary to the established principles of law.
A Bench comprising of Chief Justice of India S A Bobde(head), Justice AS Bopanna, and Justice V Ramasubramanian issued notice to the government, the Animal Husbandry Department, the Animal Welfare Board of India, and the National Biodiversity Authority.
The plea was filed by Madurai resident Dr. S Venkatesh.
ART performed on livestock/animals are violative of some provisions of the Biological Diversity Act 2002, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act 1960, the Environment (Protection) Act 1986, and also to the Constitution which mandates the protection of the environment and nature along with animals, the plea said.
The plea alleged that Artificial Insemination (AI) harms biodiversity, the value of bulls, and the psychological trauma on the individual animals that are deprived of the natural need and function.
The plea said, “Reproduction is a basic natural and biological need, as well as urge of all living beings, save and except monosexual organisms. No authority can arbitrarily trample or destroy the rights or needs of any living being including animals by means of policy or practice, which in itself against nature and natural principles”.
The petition alleged, “Bypassing and preventing natural mating, and artificially reproducing as a principle/policy is by itself cruel, not to mention the cruelty or pain inflicted by the artificial process and the methods of reproduction in animals”.
The petition has also pointed out that in the past five years; the Union Government has incurred a huge expenditure of more than Rs 1200 Crore through the Rashtriya Gokul Mission towards ART as per written reply in the Lok Sabha.
The petitioner stated that, according to the Department of Commerce Export-Import Data, 2019, we have imported bovine semen to the tune of Rs 2094 Lakhs in the last five years.
The petitioner also stated that “It is, however, striking to note that no significant expenditure what so ever is made by the government for the natural mating process employed by the majority of the farmers, who had been the reasons for the great strides and success achieved in dairy leading to India being the number one country in the world continuously for more than two decades”.
The petition also claimed that indiscriminate and rampant use of ART is one of the significant contributing the factor for the loss of animal biodiversity in general and cattle biodiversity in particular. It also leads to a huge decrease in the population of male cattle and other livestock and animals.SC asked Union Government to respond to a plea to declare ART, including Artificial Insemination (AI), performed on livestock
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