Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Saturday lauded the government's move to ban sale of cattle for slaughter at animal markets.

"Animal markets were started for farmers so that they could sell their cattle to other farmers. So if I have a cow and a calf and I don't want to keep the calf, then I can sell it in the market," Gandhi, who is also an animal rights activist, said.

"This mechanism was only for farmers. Since last 15 years it has become only for butchers who pretend to be farmers and purchase cattle from the market. They buy 80 to 90 heads of cattle and carry it in their trucks and eventually slaughter the animals," she said.

Source: b'Maneka Gandhi |Source: Reuters\xc2\xa0'

The women and child development minister said ailing and unhealthy cattle also reach the markets but the new rule will ensure that such things don't happen

The Ministry of Environment and Forests notified the stringent Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 on May 25, banning the sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter.

Source: b'Representational image of slaughter houses |Source: Reuters\xc2\xa0'

Sources in the Ministry of Environment and Forests said it was Gandhi's People for Animals which urged the former environment minister Anil Madhav Dave to sign the notification.

Gandhi said strict monitoring would ensure that no animals were bought for slaughter through livestock markets, but were sourced directly from farms, so that its provenance can be traced and safety can be ensured.

"The government has reinforced an already existing law and it is for the betterment of the farmers," she said, referring to the PCA Act which ensures protection for all animals.