New Delhi(PTI): In view of the dwindling population of camels in Rajasthan, the state assembly has passed the Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Bill, which bans the slaughter of camels in the state.

Last year, Rajasthan designated the camel as its state animal in the hope of curbing the growing illegal trade of camels and camel meat. The bill passed through voice vote bans slaughtering, trading and unauthorised transportation of camels and set a five-year jail term and a fine for slaughtering or injuring the animal, popularly referred to as ship of the desert. However, the camel can be used for domestic and agricultural purposes.

Rajasthan's Agriculture Minister Prabhulal Saini said camels were used in the state for several purposes, like the patrolling of borders and as a tourist attraction, and hence, were of much importance. "Keeping the conservation and breeding of camels in mind, the chief minister had announced the camel as the state animal. Banning its slaughter would be a big challenge as for the past 150 years it has been a tradition to slaughter camels on the occasion of Id-ul-Zuha," said Saini.

According to reports, the camel population in Rajasthan was nearly 700,000 in 1997 and fell to 498,000 in 2003, a decline of about 23%. Another census in 2007, showed a further decline of 18%.


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