There is no doubt that whatever happens in the neighboring states, affects the state of Goa directly, Goa depends on the Karnataka and Maharastra largely for the supply of Vegetables, Fruits, Beef and Fish, and forthcoming beef ban in Karnataka will lead to cripple the meat supply in Goa as Goa’s beef and Meat supply largely dependent on the state of Karnataka.
According to the report published in the national portal Hindustan Times, A ban on beef in neighboring Karnataka, as is being contemplated by the ruling BJP government in the state, will cripple the supply to Goa, meat traders here warned.
Goa’s beef supply largely dependent on Karnataka, traders fear that such a move will ruin their livelihood as well as render Goa’s government-run slaughterhouse, which relies on cattle brought in from Karnataka, defunct.
“We bring in beef and live animals from Karnataka. If they shut down the business in Karnataka, it will have a huge effect in Goa. Goa is a tourist place and many foreigners come here. Hotels and other businesses depend on us for beef. It will affect the whole state,” Manna Bepari, the president of Qureshi Meat Traders Association of Goa said.
Barely a month into power in Karnataka, a minister in the ruling government, CT Ravi said the government would introduce a bill banning beef after studying laws in other states.
“We are following all the norms as laid down by the law. Whatever is illegal can be shut down. What is legal should be allowed to continue. That is why what is as per the law should go on, irrespective of who is in power. Our business should not be at the mercy of which government is in power,” Bepari added.
The Goa BJP, which insists that the party is secular, has said it would be premature to react to comments until the government in the neighboring state is crystallized. “If they do it, we will see. Why should we jump the gun? There is no comment at this stage,” Michael Lobo, a two-term BJP MLA, and the minister said.
Goa has its own legal slaughterhouse, the Goa Meat Complex, which is run by the Goa government, but the lack of cattle markets and high fairs in the state forces traders to bring in live animals from neighboring state Karnataka. Others choose to bring in meat slaughtered at private slaughterhouses in Karnataka, rather than bear the cost of transporting a live animal to Goa.
Around 20 tonnes of beef is consumed in Goa every day. Beef sold in Goa isn’t really ‘beef’ as defined by the Goa Daman and Diu Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1978, but rather the meat of bulls, bullocks, male calves, male and female buffaloes and buffalo calves whose slaughter is allowed subject to an ante mortem certification by a veterinary surgeon.
The Act defines beef as the “flesh of cow in any form” the sale of which is banned but excludes flesh of cow contained in sealed containers, especially if they are sealed outside the state. The traders believe that any such law will not only affect livelihoods but also infringe upon food choices.
The Goa BJP, including former chief ministers Laxmikant Parsekar and Manohar Parrikar, have vehemently defended their government’s stance on the sale of beef. More recently, minister for animal husbandry, Mauvin Godinho told the legislative assembly that the notion that the BJP was against beef was false.
“Because it is a BJP led government, propaganda is being made that they are against meat eaters. It is totally a false allegation. We believe in carrying all the people with us and there is no objection in the meat being consumed either by tourists or by the local people,” Godinho said.
Godinho, whose department overlooks the government-run slaughterhouse, blamed “NGOs from outside the state” for disrupting the functioning of the government-run complex where animals are slaughtered. NGOs have repeatedly filed petitions against Goa Meat Complex, state’s legal slaughterhouse in the Bombay High Court at Goa alleging illegalities and lack of procedure.
Earlier this week, in response to yet another petition filed by the Gau Gyan Foundation, a Delhi based NGO, the high court found that “the allegation that the Goa Meat Complex is functioning dehors the terms and conditions subject to which permissions have been granted is quite vague and therefore, cannot be entertained.”
An even earlier order by the high court, while noting that the Goa Meat Complex was the only authorized place for the slaughter of animals, said that it was “the duty of the State of Goa and the Department of Animal Husbandry to ensure that the Goa Meat Complex is operational or that its operations are not hampered for the reasons which are easily avoidable” as failure to do so will certainly affect the fundamental rights of the members of the association to carry on their trade and occupation.