The Meghalaya High Court has issued a directive to the state government, urging them to prohibit the display of animal carcasses in meat shops. The court's decision came in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and was announced on Friday. The division bench, headed by Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, emphasized the need for ethical treatment of animals and called for measures to ensure their proper handling and transportation.
In its judgment, the court stated, "The State would do well to set an example and completely prohibit the display of animal carcasses in meat shops, though they may be stored in refrigerators or containers or even in showcases within the premises and not open to public view from outside." The court further emphasized the importance of adhering to ethical practices throughout the process, including the culling of animals for human consumption and their transportation.
The state government informed the court that comprehensive measures were already in place as of June 2022, and reiterated that instructions had been issued to enforce them. The PIL was filed by the Gau Gyan Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of cows. The case focused on the treatment of animals intended for human consumption and the transportation of animals within the state.
Despite existing central enactments and local regulations, the petitioner highlighted that many guidelines and norms were not being followed, and local-level committees were not functioning properly. The court expressed hope that these lapses had been addressed and urged the state government to ensure a more ethical treatment of animals, even in cases where they are culled for human consumption.
One of the concerns highlighted by the court was the brazen display of animal carcasses in street-side meat shops, including the open visibility of beheaded pig heads. Despite previous measures taken by the state to curb such displays, street-side shops continue to engage in these practices. The court emphasized that apart from being a "hideous" sight, the unhygienic conditions expose the meat to dust and grime from the streets, potentially making it toxic even before it is sold.
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