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Anti-cattle slaughter Bill puts much at stake

T.V. Sivanandan and Rishikesh Bahadur Desai

Besides disruption of dietary habits, many will lose jobs


A significant part of the population in Gulbarga and Bidar depends on beef for nutrition

‘Even vegetarians will feel the heat of the ban when prices of vegetables go up'


GULBARGA/BIDAR: The proposed ban on the slaughter of cattle and the sale of beef will have a disastrous impact on the nutritional requirements of a majority of the population in the districts of Gulbarga and Bidar, which are among the 90 districts in the country to be declared minority-dominated.

In both the districts, the population, which has a high concentration of Muslims, Christians and Dalits, is known to be dependent on beef to meet their nutritional requirements. And if President Pratibha Patil gives her assent to the controversial Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2010, passed in both the Houses of the legislature, it will have serious consequences.

Beef has been a significant part of the food habits of the minority communities, not just due to its high nutritional value, but also because cattle meat is cheaper than mutton or chicken. On an average, around 25,000 kg of beef is consumed every day in Gulbarga district alone, according to Mohammad Jabbar Quraishi, president of the Jamiat-ul-Quraishi (an association of butchers).

According to the Jamiat-ul-Quraishi president in Bidar, Azim Quraishi, about 20,000 kg of cattle meat is sold every day in the district and banning the sale of beef would affect not only the thousands of families dependent, directly and indirectly, on its sale, but also the population that consumes.

Cost factor

“It will simply be impossible for those who eat beef to shift over to eating mutton or chicken because of the price factor,” said Mr. Azim Quraishi.

“While the price of beef is around Rs. 80 per kg, mutton is sold at Rs. 250 a kg and chicken at Rs. 120 a kg,” he said . The prices of mutton and chicken would steeply increase after the ban due to high demand, taking them even further out of reach for the poorer sections of the society. The amount of vegetables being cultivated now was already insufficient. The ban on beef would further increase the demand, which would lead to their prices shooting up too. “Even vegetarians would feel the heat of the ban.”

Sale and export

Apart from the daily sale of about 5,000 cattle brought from different places in both the districts, at least 500 animals are transported to the modern slaughterhouse in Medak district in Andhra Pradesh, run by the company Al-Kabir, which exports processed meat to the Gulf and other countries.

Impact on farmers

The ban on cattle sale for slaughtering would also impact farmers, particularly the small farmers who sell excess cattle to slaughterhouses.

In Gulbarga district alone, more than 6,000 families dependent on sale of beef would be displaced while in Bidar, the figure would be between 4,000 and 5,000.

In Gulbarga district, besides one major slaughterhouse, there are three beef markets and around 500 retail outlets. The State exchequer would also incur a huge loss in the revenue generated as market cess through the sale of cattle in shandies and markets. Brokers, who acted as middlemen for sellers and slaughterhouses also stand to lose their jobs.

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