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27 May 2017

Ban on Cattle today, fish tomorrow: Vijayan

Pinarayi Vijayan 
TT, May 26: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan today protested the Centre's ban on cattle and buffalo sales for slaughter at animal markets, saying that if the government was capable of this now, it could well ban fish-eating in future.
"Today it is about banning the slaughter of cattle. But a time will come when they ban the consumption of fish," Vijayan wrote on Facebook in Malayalam.
Some 60 per cent of Kerala's people eat beef and buffalo meat, which, as the saying goes, they love as much as their booze and bandh.
Liquor is already a luxury in the state following the declaration of partial prohibition a few years ago. Now, many fear, beef might join the list.
While Kerala is among the few places in the country, with Bengal and the Northeast, where cows can be slaughtered, a huge part of its abattoir-bound cattle comes from states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
Although the Kerala government has hinted at a legal challenge to the Centre's latest decision on what is essentially a state subject, the ban is expected to hit the state's supply line from other states.
Vijayan asked the people to protest the Centre's "uncivilised decision", adding that it was "an attempt to destroy the secular fabric" of the country.
The CPM politburo member added that meat formed a key part of the nutrition of the poorest (beef and buffalo meat are among the cheapest proteins available), and that the ban would cost lakhs of people their jobs.
"More than 25 lakh people work in the leather and associated industries. Most of them are Dalits and they are going to be the most affected," he said.
A survey two years ago had revealed that Kerala consumed about 2,000 tonnes of beef and buffalo meat every day.
"Since most of these animals are brought from other states, we will run dry once we exhaust the existing stock of cattle heads," said Saji Eassow, general manager of the state-owned Meat Products of India Limited.
Beef is so popular in the state that the BJP candidate for the April Lok Sabha by-election in Muslim-majority Malappuram constituency had promised "good quality halal beef" if he was elected. N. Sreeprakash had still finished third, though.
In Delhi, the Left parties demanded a rollback of the ban, saying it would impoverish the peasantry, hurt the economy and leave lakhs jobless.
CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said the ban could lead farmers to abandon crores of old animals as they cannot afford to take lifelong care of them.
CPM central committee member Vijoo Krishnan asked the government to "make arrangements to buy old cattle from farmers at market rates".
The Left cited how, with grazing grounds fast receding, stray cattle had already become a menace across north India.
"They are entering fields and destroying standing crops," Vijoo said. "Now, with vigilantism on the rise, many peasants are abandoning their unproductive cows as they have no other option."

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