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27 May 2017

Meat curbs shadow on milk supply - Move anti-farmer because it makes cattle rearing tougher, say meat sellers; Violates right to food, says Left

Anita Joshua, TT, New Delhi, May 26: The government's ban on cattle and buffalo sales for slaughter in animal markets will hurt not just meat sellers but also farmers across communities and could spark a milk shortage, meat dealers today said.
"This is a very impractical move. It is totally anti-farmer," said Yusuf Quraishi, president of the Uttar Pradesh unit of the All India Jamiat-ul-Quraish. Most of those engaged in slaughtering animals are Muslims from the Quraishi caste.
"Usually, a farmer who owns a cow or a buffalo sells them only when he is sure that he cannot get a drop of milk out of them. No one sells a milch animal," Quraishi said.
"When an animal stops giving milk, the farmer sells it at an animal market and uses the money to buy a new milch animal. This cycle has existed down the ages and the government has disrupted that. This will break the farmers' backs."
Asked why farmers could not sell their old animals directly to abattoirs instead of going to the animal markets, Quraishi said that it would, for one thing, add to the farmers' costs.
"Till now he could buy and sell at one venue; now he will have to make two separate trips. As it is, transporting bovine animals has become a risky business because of the vigilantes. Now, the farmer will be twice exposed."
Salim, a meat seller in Delhi, said the ban would affect not just the meat industry but also milk as many farmers were already having second thoughts about continuing to rear cattle.
This is true not just of farmers from the minority community, he said, but also of those from the majority religion as cow rearing has become a hazardous occupation.
Noida residents have been complaining about their milkmen raising the price of milk by Rs 8 to Rs 10 per litre as soon as Yogi Adityanath took charge as Uttar Pradesh chief minister.
The reasons the milkmen are citing are: one, rearing cattle has become more expensive as the value of the old animals has collapsed; two, the risks involved if the cow gets injured have risen; three, chaara (fodder) prices have shot up.
Quraishi cited an instance of a farmer actually seeking police protection to take his ailing cow to the vet for fear of the cow vigilantes.
"All this is becoming a deterrent to rearing cows and other bovine animals. The gau rakshaks often attack at the sight of anything that looks like cattle," he said.
"And, if old non-productive animals are not allowed to be slaughtered or if slaughtering them is made difficult, can you imagine the strain there will be on fodder?"
Quraishi added, echoing Salim: "With rapid urbanisation, grazing grounds have become harder to come by; so the farmer must spend money to buy fodder for his milch animals and the unproductive ones too. Why should they want to rear cows under these circumstances? Wait and watch what happens to the milk industry."

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