Animals Killed for Meat

Under the updated (01.09.2023) Food Safety and Standards Act and Regulations, animals that are allowed to be slaughtered and their flesh eaten are:

Chapter 2

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 including Buffaloes and Mithun (Bos frontalis)]
(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, Clam, Cuttlefish, Octopus, Scallops. Fish Eggs: Sturgeon Caviar.]

A Note listed under regulation 2.5.2 includes:
(b) Use of genetically modified techniques are prohibited for production of meat of animals or poultry birds.

Milk and meat producing animals except poultry, pig and fish shall not be fed with feed containing meat or bone meal including internal organs, blood meal and tissues of bovine or porcine origin materials except milk and milk products.



Live Bivalve Molluscs [clams, mussels, scallops and oysters]


Live bivalve molluscs are products that are alive immediately prior to consumption. Presentation includes the shell.


Live bivalve molluscs are harvested alive from the harvesting area either approved for direct human consumption or classified to permit harvesting for an approved method of purification, e.g. relaying or depuration, prior to human consumption. Both relaying and depuration must be subject to appropriate controls implemented by the official agency having jurisdiction.


Live bivalve molluscs shall possess organoleptic characteristics associated with freshness, as well as an adequate response to percussion (i.e. shellfish will close by themselves when tapped) and freedom from extraneous matter, as determined by specialists familiar with the species concerned.


Bivalve shall be alive when sold.

Bivalves like clams, mussels, scallops and oysters are cooked alive
: The torture commences with live capture and purchase. Then being stored in the fridge in an open bowl without water for up to 24 hours. Before cooking they are again checked if still alive by tapping on them and only if so are immediately cooked by sautéing, boiling, baking or grilling. It their valves do not open during cooking, it means they died earlier and can prove deadly if eaten.

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. In 2024 some were seized in Maharashtra headed for Telangana to be slaughtered during the Medaram Jatara.

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.

Religious terms pertaining to Slaughter and Meat

Halal: the word is used for any object or action which is permissible to use or engage in according to Islamic law. In case of meat, the animal slaughtered must be in good health before killing, it must be fully conscious at the time of killing and its blood is not to be consumed. In 2023 the Uttar Pradesh state government banned “halal-certified” foods since it was not mentioned under FSSAI making it illegal to mark products thus, but allowed halal certification if required for export purposes. In fact, the Government went on to say it was not right for any organisation other than government ones to certify food products.

The opposite of Halal is Haram meaning sinful, unlawful or prohibited – pork, blood ad alcohol fall in this category.

Jhatka: method of slaughter used by Hindus and Sikhs consisting of beheading the animal in one blow.

meaning fit or proper and when applied to food items it means suitable for consumption by the Jewish community. For the animal to be kosher it needs to have split hooves and chew its cud like cows, lambs and goats. Non-kosher animals include pigs, horses, camels and rabbits. Kosher fowl include chicken, turkey, goose and certain ducks. All carnivorous animals and fowl and the blood of all animals and fowl and any products or derivatives of these are prohibited. In addition, the animals need to be slaughtered in a specific way. A water creature is kosher only if it has fins and scales, whereas all reptiles, amphibians, worms and insects (except locust) are not considered as kosher animals.

is the opposite of Kosher – forbidden, not fit, and not proper. Meat of animals such as pig, horse, camel and rabbit is not permitted. Meat and dairy are not allowed to be mixed. Due to the ambiguity over the source of gelatine it could fall into this category but it’s not always so.

Also a Jewish term for foods that do not contain any dairy or meat. It is a misconception that foods marked pareve are vegan because eggs from kosher fowl are also pareve, as are fish, as well as honey.

Non-Veg terminology

Please click on the following links to know about legal and illegal non-veg items and sources of flesh:

Page last updated on 08/02/24