Biogas, Animal Husbandry or a Secular Republic

Chief Justice Lahoti approved of the animal husbandry policy of the Gujarat State government and overruled the 1958 Mohd Qureishi ruling on laws prohibiting ‘cow slaughter’. The court’s extensive discussion of policy issues relating to biogas production and scientific animal husbandry and it’s relative neglect of the wider religious and political agendas involved is alarming. Staying away from a legal analysis for the moment, what struck me most about this opinion was the normative ‘framing’ of the debate. Quentin Skinner’s educates us on the ways in which a careful analysis of normative language reveals significant insights into the ideological battlegrounds of our social world. We must take lessons from Skinner and George Lakoff and strive to reformulate the normative debates around ‘meat-eating’. If not we may well live to see the SC hold forth on ‘chicken slaughter’ while conveniently forgetting to rein in ‘rice plant hackers’!

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