Beef merchants in Kerala feel the pinch of Karnataka law
| Friday | 5th February, 2021
The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 – which came into force on Jan 18 – outlaws the transport of cattle outside the state for the purpose of slaughter. Also, it has widened the definition of cattle to include cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo aged below 13.
Cattle traders and meat merchants in Kerala have started to feel the pinch of stringent anti-cattle slaughter law, passed recently by Karnataka, as it has cut their supply line of livestock from the neighbouring state. The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 – which came into force on Jan 18 – outlaws the transport of cattle outside the state for the purpose of slaughter. Also, it has widened the definition of cattle to include cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo aged below 13.
Meat merchants in Kerala, one of the largest beef consuming states in the country, say that Karnataka used to account for 30-40% of their supply and now they are forced to solely depend on cattle from Tamil Nadu.
"Supply of cattle from Karnataka has stopped as officials intensified checks at the border and blocking cattle trucks. The move has hit the cattle markets in Malabar including the ones at Koduvally, Manjeri and Chelari as Karnataka was the main source of live animals in the region. We have written to the government to take up the matter with Karnataka and find a way out," said PV Kunhayeen Koya, president of All Kerala Meat Merchants Association.
He said that though the sector is managing with supply from Tamil Nadu along domestically-raised cattle, the supply disruption from Karnataka would cause issues during Eid in May. "Also, cattle markets in TN, which were closed following Covid-19, have not opened and we are now arranging supply of live animals through brokers. We have urged the government to take up the matter with TN government as well," he added. Haneefa KK, a beef merchant at Vellayil in Kozhikode, said cattle suppliers from TN are exploiting this new dependency as they increased the wholesale prices of livestock.
Animal Husbandry Department figures showed that meat production in the state stood at 2.5 lakh tonnes, comprising both cattle and buffalo in 2018-19. The estimated number of animals slaughtered stood at 13 lakh cattle and 8.5 lakh buffalos during 2018-19. The beef market of the state is valued at Rs 6,500 crore.
The new anti-cattle slaughter law in Karnataka also says that no person shall purchase, sell or offer to purchase cattle for slaughter. It also imposes stringent punishment for violation of the legislation including imprisonment between three years and five years with a fine not less than Rs 50,000 which may be extended up to Rs five lakh for offences like transport of cattle outside the state.
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