Cattle Notification: ‘It is all flawed, anti-farmer’

The recent controversial notification banning sale of cattle for slaughter in markets have stirred a hornet’s nest. The industry is up in arm’s against the move. I spoke to Fauzan Alavi, the spokesperson of All India Meat and Livestock Exporter’s Association. Excerpts:

What is your view on the notification?

It is all flawed. First thing, it is anti-farmer. Mainly because, the farmers will not have an edge if the buyer is going to his house and negotiating. Then they say, you cannot take it for slaughter. Take the case of butcher, how will he now know who is selling a goat or a buffalo. Then there should not be any market within 25 km of the state borders. In Delhi-NCR, the biggest market is in Ghazipur, which is just metres away from the UP border. What do you do? Now, if you take the question of animal cruelty, then why is it only for buffaloes. Have you seen how poultry is dealt with? Goats and sheep are transported hundreds of kilometres. So why nobody is bothered about it. Another point raised is smuggling, which is a law and order issue. If somebody is smuggling cars through borders, are you going to ban sale of cars? The blatant misuse of the Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals is another issue. It does not prohibit trade or human consumption. So on what grounds these rules were made?

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Were stakeholders not involved?

Not at all. Leave the private sector, even stake holders from the government were not involved. Some 15 people sat down in a room and decided. Why come up with a policy without consulting stakeholders? You are saying it was in public domain, 13 responded and you acted on their advice. If it was in public domain, then the Chief Ministers and others would not have reacted in this way. Industry was not aware.

What do you think is the motive behind the notification?

We feel that there is a particular set of people who have some hatred, they are behind this. I would not have found no fault if the notification had every animal included in it. But why only buffaloes. When buffaloes come, you know it is a particular trade with a particular set of people who are dealing with it. The only people who get affected are Dalits and Muslims. This is where we feel that it is selective. This is where we feel that it is not done in the right spirit.

Are you happy with the way the opposition parties have taken up the issue?

That is political for them. Obviously, on such occasions parties take political advantage. These are also political as well as social issues. People are used to certain kind of life and when it is disrupted, they will react. But I think in a country like ours, respect for each other’s views and lifestyle is important. That is how we survived so long.

How will this affect business?

See, the first affected will be the farmers. Feeding animals is a burden on day-to-day basis. You know what kind of money our farmers get. On an average, a farmer is making Rs one lakh a year. Out of that, if he sells one buffalo for meat, he gets Rs 30-35,000. For him, this is a lot of money. So he will be crippled now. Another to be affected is the employees, which is more than 25 lakh. Then leather industry is going to be affected. There are by-products, pharmaceutical companies, export goods, poultry feed, paint brush, handicraft industry, there are so many sectors.

What is your estimate of loss?

It can affect the entire 5 million dollar industry. The meat business will be affected because 90-95% of cattle is procured from markets. So if markets are not fuctioning, it will have an adverse impact. How do I know who is selling the cattle? The reason is when 90% of the supply is coming form the markets, what will happen when the supply is stopped.

What are your demands?

There should be a fair discussion. Buffalo should be taken out of the notification because it is affecting the entire trade. It is an anti-farmer, anti-dairy move. It has been done with an agenda. If it had been fair, then all stakeholders would have been consulted and all animals would have been covered in this.

(The interview appeared in Deccan Herald’s Spotlight on June 4, 2017)

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