The shipping ministry has banned the export of livestock indefinitely from all ports through a notification last week. The decision was taken amidst complaints made by animal rights activists and jivdaya premis (people advocating compassion for all living beings) against cruelty faced by such exported livestock. The two most prominent states from where most livestock exports are carried out via waterways are Gujarat and Rajasthan. Over 40,000 families earn their daily bread through livestock exports, which has now been banned.
Until now, India was a big exporter of livestock. There has been 493 per cent jump in livestock exports since 2013. By value the livestock exports stood at Rs 411.02 crore in FY 2017-18.
Approximately 97 per cent of the livestock demand comes from United Arab Emirates (UAE) followed by Nepal.
Livestock exports to UAE take place mainly before Eid Al-Adha and Bakr-Id, which is marked by the sacrificing animals such as goats and sheep. Bakr-Id is expected to fall this year on August 22.
The livestock export were valued at Rs 460.78 crore in 2015-16, Rs 519.03 crore in 2016-17 and Rs 401.64 crore in 2017-18. India exported livestock worth Rs 336.20 crore to UAE in FY16, Rs 369.50 crore in FY17, and Rs 211 crore in FY 18, while it exported livestock worth Rs 107.97 crore to Nepal in FY16, Rs 147.37 crore in FY17, and Rs 187.83 crore in FY18.Live goat is the most exported livestock. In total, 322.49 crore worth of goats were exported in FY2017, which represents a 450 per cent increase in goat exports since 2013. Live goat is mostly exported during the festival of Bakr-Id, a Muslim festival in which religious sacrifices are made.
With increasing trade deficit, banning livestock exports, which had the potential to increase manifold, is a questionable decision, say experts