India's limits on selling cattle could hurt industry, diets

Animals for consumption can still be purchased privately, including cows in the few states where their slaughter is legal, but industry leaders say about 90% of the trade takes place through animal markets.

At least one state government is planning a challenge in court.

But Kumar said Modi´s government was fulfilling the agenda of Hindu groups, which demand a nationwide ban on cow slaughter.

The new rules also propose the setting up of a vast animal monitoring bureaucracy, including animal inspectors and veterinarians, to ensure the rules are followed.

The state governments have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to repeal the order, which they say was issued without consultations with them.

Modi´s Bharatiya Janata Party pledged to impose a countrywide ban on the slaughter of cows ahead of the 2014 national elections.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to all non-BJP ruled states to unite against the order.

Officials from India's federal states have also complained that the move is unconstitutional.

Some states organised "beef fests" to protest the ban.

"We won't accept the decision".

"Exports will come to a halt because slaughterhouses will find it extremely hard to buy cattle and we also apprehend widespread job losses in the sector, which supports millions of people", said Qureshi.

In a protest against recent sale of cows for slaughter by Modi government, different political parties of India arranged special "beef parties". India has the highest number of vegetarians in the world as a result of Hinduism's predominance, although not all Hindus are vegetarians. Several deaths have occurred.

He said the restrictions could cost a significant percentage of the estimated 2.5m jobs tied directly to the meat industry, most held either by Muslims or the country's discriminated-against Dalit caste.

The leather industry, which employs three times as many people, would also be badly affected, but farmers the would be worst hit, no longer able to easily sell ageing or unproductive cattle, he said.

India's environment ministry announced new restrictions on Friday, banning livestock including cows, buffalos and camels from being sold for slaughter at animal markets.

FILE - In this Sunday, March 26, 2017, file photo, Mehta, 40, stands at a slaughter house where he used to work after it was shutdown by authorities in Allahabad, India.

  • Joanne Flowers