Slaughter bans have slashed meat production
Tens of thousands have been forced out of the industry in Uttar Pradesh, as 800,000 cows roam wild
By Kanchan Srivastava, Asia Times
March 8, 2019
A partial ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in apparent support of Hindu nationalists has reduced production of some meats at abattoirs by one-third and raised doubts about long-term export targets.
Chief Minister Ajay Singh Bisht ordered the closure of illegal abattoirs and halted slaughtering at animal markets in 2017, amid warnings that it would hurt tens of thousands of poor farmers, as well as meat and leather traders. Most of the traders are minority Muslims.
Owners of farmland are still allowed to sell their animals, but only at registered abattoirs and after submitting a list of complex forms and documents in what seems to be a deliberate ploy to thwart the mostly illiterate small farmers. Many have been forced out of the business.
Regarded as sacred by many Hindus, cows have become the center of a political storm since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, with states under the control of his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rushing out laws to punish anyone slaughtering the animals. Many saw the move as a deliberate attempt to stir up Hindu nationalism, especially as vigilantes began to target Dalits and Muslims.
After taking over as chief minister in March 2017, Bisht ordered public officials to identify cow smugglers and beef sellers and take the toughest possible actions against them to ensure there was an effective implementation of bans on the sale of beef.
Attacks by vigilantes have badly disrupted meat supply chains as it becomes difficult to transport animals to markets. Lynchings of some Muslims suspected of slaughtering cows have forced many to abandon the industry.
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