ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Meat and Milk Sector

Meat and Milk Sector

I am not sure if the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) chief has contemplated the implications of his aadesh (order) to ban the meat exports from India, this in his annual address on 3 October 2014 on the day of the Vijayadasami festival. India is a significant exporter of meat, which is basically from buffaloes. Hence, export of buffalo meat, which has little demand in the country, should not be discriminated against on any ground. If the government were to implement the aadesh of the RSS, then the adverse impact on the economy of meat production would be obvious. First, India will lose export revenue of $4.48 billion, adversely affecting the balance of trade, which stands at $146 billion. Second, the slaughterhouses themselves will become uneconomic because they will not be able to sell their meat products domestically at the depressed prices due to the glut in the domestic meat market.

Moreover, as the farmers will find it impossible to sell their unproductive animals to the slaughterhouses, the illegal trade in such animals with India’s neighbours will increase, and if the government prevents that, milk production itself will become unsustainable because the farmers will not find processing facilities for their by-products. India does not have enough goshalas (shelter houses) to manage those unproductive animals, and even if such goshalas are established, the related subsidies will add to the already threatened food subsidies. The social effects on minorities who survive in such businesses will be catastrophic and unjust. The suggestion to ban meat export is untenable as there are no economically, socially and technically workable alternatives. The proposed ban is against the spirit of Article 48 of the Constitution, which emphatically states “the State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines…”

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