Side effects of Maharashtra ‘Beef Ban’ already visible

The Maharashtra Government’s ban on slaughter of bulls, the so-called “beef ban” in the State is already showing its side effects. How many bulls were slaughtered in Maharashtra and what is happening to them now? On an average, more than 1000 bulls were slaughtered at Deonar abattoir in Mumbai alone. Over 100 were slaughtered in major cities such as Pune, Nasik, Akola, Amravati or Nagpur. Where have these animals gone and what is the impact on farmers who were raising these animals?

20150321_112032The bulls are there but not tied in abattoirs, they are free strolling on major streets in many cities and causing traffic jams. The Government has no plans to rehabilitate them or their owners. The bull owners cannot afford to feed them. They need to spend more than 100 rupees for feeding a bull. Why to spend money now when there is no return in sight? So they let them loose to go around. The animals now eat wherever they can and they release shit on main roads.

As expected, the prices of vegetables have gone up by 10 percent. The lamb meat or mutton price is up by 100 rupees. It was Rs 350 per kilo, now it is 420 or 450 per kilo in most cities. Earlier, mutton vendors used to wait till evening for finishing a slaughtered lamb sale or even wrap up the remaining flesh for next day sale. It is brisk business now for mutton sale. As soon as a goat is slaughtered, the meat is sold within few minutes. Such is the demand for meat, that customers are seen waiting in front of mutton shops. But the supply is less than the demand. So small goats are slaughtered to meet the sales demand. Will goat supply continue for the demand?

While eating beef was a preferred choice of Muslims, Christians, Dalits and many economically weaker families of Hindus, mutton is mostly consumed by all who can afford it. Contrary to common belief that Hindus are vegetarians, over 70 percents Hindus in Maharashtra eat mutton and chicken. They are worst affected as the supply of mutton and chicken has already started dwindling in the state. Besides soaring prices of goat or lamb; chicken prices are also soaring high.

Here is also a list of businesses largely affected by Beef Ban. The small time transporters who used to transport bulls from villages to city beef traders are worst affected. They have no jobs. The Government has no rehabilitation plan for them. The farmers raising animals in small villages are left with unwanted bulls at home with no buyers. The leather industry in Maharashtra is planning to wind up and quietly move to neighboring Telangana where leather supply is abundant.

The Nashik sugar factories are worried as beef fat is required to color the sugar. The toothpaste and soap manufacturers in the State are worried for their supply of beef ingredients. And of course there are thousands of beef traders, butchers and re-sellers across the State who have no jobs and the government has done nothing to rehabilitate them.
As the beef ban continues, few pertinent questions remain, “Can rulers in power deprive people of the food of their choice and the whole world watch in silence? Why are the Congress and other opposition parties silent? Why are more sensible people not lodging PILs in the Supreme Court?”
A few voices have been raised. Famous Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor twitted on social media, “”I am angry. Why do you equate food with religion?? I am a beef eating Hindu. Does that mean I am less God-fearing then a non eater? Think!!”

The lawyers in Chennai High Court did a different protest. They distributed free beef lunch in court corridors. But the best is a comment in a news item that says “God endows people with certain “unalienable” rights. A Government cannot take away those unalienable rights from the people. Even if the whole world remains silent, God’s punishment will surely come for those who would not let people eat what they want.”

A.Q. Siddiqui
India Post News Service

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