Animals Killed for Meat

Under the updated Food Safety and Standards Act, animals that are allowed to be slaughtered and their flesh eaten in India as listed under the Compendium
Food Additives Regulations 29.03.2019, are:

2.5.1. Definition:
(a) “animal” means an animal belonging to any of the species specified below:

(i) Ovines [Sheep]
(ii) Caprines [Goats]
(iii)  Suillines [Pigs]
(iv) Bovines [Cattle]
(v) Domestic Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

and includes

  Poultry [Chicken, Duck, Turkey, Geese, Guinea Fowl, Japanese Quail and their Eggs]


  Fish [Finfish: Sardine and other Clupeoids, Tuna and Bonito, Mackerel, Seer Fish, Pomfret. Crustacean: Shrimp/Prawn, Crab. Molluscs: Mussels, Squid. Fish Eggs: Sturgeon Caviar.]

Illegal Slaughter

Cats: Narikoravas a nomadic community illegally catch cats, kill them and sell their meat to roadside food vendors in Tamil Nadu who sell it as mutton in biryani.

Camels: It is unfortunate that camels are illegally slaughtered and their meat consumed under the guise of religious sacrifice on Bakri Eid. The Madras High Court had in 2016 forbidden slaughtering/sacrificing of camels; then in 2022 the HC ordered no trafficking of camels in the state. Although their slaughter has lessened considerably, it still occurs clandestinely in some places in India.

Dogs: In 2020 BWC had again approached the Nagaland state government to ensure that the rearing of dogs and cats for meat and their consumption stops. Within a month of our representation the state cabinet decided “to ban commercial import and trading of dogs and dog markets and also the sale of dog meat, both cooked and uncooked”. Mizoram had also dropped dogs from the list of animals allowed for slaughter. Unfortunately, a few months later the Gauhati High Court stayed Nagaland’s ban on dog meat.

: India has banned the slaughter of donkeys under Section 429 of the Indian Penal Code which attracts 5 years imprisonment, a fine, or both. Only 1,20,000 were left in India as per the 20th Livestock Census released in 2019. Donkey skins are smuggled out to China from which medicinal gelatine called Ejiao is made. In October 2022 as much as 400 kgs of donkey meat was seized in Hyderabad and 7 persons were arrested. In Prakasam, Bapatia, Krishna, West Godavari and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh people are known to consume donkey meat imagining it to be an aphrodisiac and that it can heal particular ailments. The state’s donkey population declined 53% in 7 years from 10,164 in 2012 to 4,678 in 2019 and illegal slaughter is the cause. So much so, by 2022 donkeys were brought from Rajasthan to meet the demand.

Hare and Common Quail: Note the irony that while Rabbits and Japanese Quails are bred-raised-killed to be eaten, Hare and Common Quail are protected wildlife making it illegal to hunt and kill them, yet their meat is available and is consumed in some parts of India.

Pigeons and Crows: The infamous Kaka Biryani made from Crow meat is sold in Tamil Nadu. Similarly Pigeon meat is illegally available and passed off as chicken not only in Tamil Nadu. For example, in November 2022 several persons of a housing society in Sion, Mumbai, were booked on the basis of a complaint that one of the residents was raising and killing pigeons to supply their carcasses to a hotel and beer bar.

Page last updated on 22/04/23