Human cost of India's meat 'ban'

Human cost of India's meat 'ban'

The government's crackdown on meat shops in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has left many traders and butchers without much work and money.

The government's crackdown on meat shops in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has left many traders and butchers without much work and money.

India's most populous state is running out of meat, as tens of thousands of meat sellers across Uttar Pradesh close in protest over a government crackdown on slaughter houses operating without licences or adequate paperwork.

After the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in Uttar Pradesh earlier this month on the back of a resounding electoral victory and named a Hindu priest-cum-politician as the state's chief minister, the government began cracking down on illegal slaughterhouses and meat shops.

India meat traders strike

Meat traders in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh are on indefinite strike in protest at the closure of butcher's shops and slaughterhouses considered illegal. The move follows the nomination of Hindu hard-line politician Yogi Adityanath as chief minister. Most are owned by Muslims who make up 18% of the state's population.

Adityanath opposes the slaughter and consumption of cows, considered sacred by India's Hindu majority.

Aquil Ahmad, a meat shop owner in Lucknow, the state capital, said that even though he has a licence, he has decided to close his shop in support of others in his fraternity. Meanwhile, many meat shop owners are struggling to obtain the requisite paperwork.

As meat, has disappeared from the markets, many restaurants have been forced to shut down or change the menu.

Analysis

The drive against slaughterhouses could impact three critical industries: Meat packaging, livestock and leather. With some of the worst development indicators, stagnant agriculture and industry, India's most populous state is also one of its poorest with the second-highest unemployment rate — after Jharkhand — among eight most socio-economically backward states.

With a population of 200 million people, equivalent to the population of Brazil, the state's economy is the size of the tiny middle-eastern country of Qatar, which has 2.4 million people, the same as the town of Bijnore.

Assessment

Meat production is entirely dependent on livestock, a sector that contributed nearly 4.11 percent to India's GDP at current prices in 2012-13. It also contributes nearly 25.6 per cent of output, by value, at current prices in the agriculture, fishing and forestry sectors, according to the Livestock Census Report, 2012.

Why only Slaughterhouse are closed due to unhygienic conditions. Most of the food outlets, vendors do not follow the FSSAI requirements. 

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