On 18th June 2023, animal rights activists protested at Sambhaji Park in Pune, Maharashtra, India, against the proposed “Live Animal Import/Export Bill 2023.” A few days after the protest, the bill was withdrawn. The bill, which was intended to replace the 125-year-old Live-stock Importation Act 1898, would have allowed the import and export of live animals to other countries. According to The Indian Express, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, which comes under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, issued an office memorandum on 20th June to withdraw the draft Bill.
Protesters against the bill argued that this bill went against the fundamental rights of animals, reducing them to mere commodities. They pointed out that animals in transport are often being deprived of food and water throughout the journey, many animals suffer and die from suffocation, heat, starvation, trauma, and other problems. Protesters questioned how such a law could be proposed in India, a nation historically associated with the principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) towards all living beings, one of the major tenets of the philosophy of veganism.
The protesters claimed that the government did not give enough time for public discussion and debate on the bill, as the 10-day period allocated was insufficient. It was suggested that this short time may have been the result of being unduly influenced by the animal agriculture industry. Divya Rawat, a citizen who participated in the protest, said to The Times of India, “The stakeholders have been given only 10 days to submit their suggestions and comments on the bill, which is grossly inadequate.”
When withdrawing the bill, the government said that the current law is a “pre-constitutional/pre-independence Central Act”, and therefore, a “need has been felt to align it with the contemporary requirements and prevailing circumstances related to sanitary and phyto-sanitary measures….However, during the consultation, it has been viewed that enough time is required to understand the proposed draft and to make further comments/suggestions. Further, the representations have been made expressing concerns on proposed draft involving sensitivity and emotions with animal welfare and related aspects, and, hence, would need wider consultation.”