INDIA: Last day for comments on India’s Meat Export Policy

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Today is the last day to sign a petition to the Indian government requesting a review of the Meat Export Policy.

Information on how to do this is below.

India has a tradition going back thousands of years of reverence for all animals, especially cows and bulls.  That these animals are now being slaughtered and their meat being exported abroad is a radical departure from Indian tradition, and the policy of meat export from India must be reconsidered.

Many thousands of animals are being bred and slaughtered for the sole purpose of their meat being exported.

As well as legal slaughterhouses, there are thousands of illegal slaughterhouses being run in India.  These illegal slaughterhouses abide by no rules and no humane standards, so the level of cruelty is enormous.  There is also immense cruelty involved in the illegal transport of the animals on their way to being slaughtered.  These slaughterhouses and the cruel transport to them exist only because there is such a huge market for beef, much of it exported.

It takes ten times more water to raise one kilograms (2 ¼ pounds) of beef than it does to raise one kilogram of rice.  Parts of India are now suffering from a drought.  Raising beef is a waste of water that harms the Indian people.  Only a few individuals who are producing and selling beef benefit from meat export. Meat export is harmful, not only to the animals, but to the Indian people as well, who suffer from shortages of food and water.

To sign the petition:

Go to   http://www.ratnaworld.com/petition

Please also send a brief, polite email today to

rsc2pet@sansad.nic.in

Shri R.P. Tiwari,

Deputy Director

Rajya Sabha Secretariat.

Thank you!

To have a more in-depth understanding of this issue, below is the communication sent to Mr. Tiwari, the Deputy Director of Rajya Sabha Secretariat, by Blue Cross of India.  It explains with great clarity and logic the reasons why the Meat Export Policy needs to be reviewed.

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Communication from Blue Cross of India asking for a review of India’s Meat Export Policy

Sent by M. Shantilal Pandya, Chairman,Blue Cross of India 

The petitioner is sending in this plea in his capacity as  the Chairman of BLUE CROSS OF INDIA,  Chennai – one of India’s most active and largest animal welfare organisations which is in its Golden Jubilee Year and begs leave to file this petition praying for a revision of the “Meat Export Policy” of the Government of India urging an urgent change in the current policy.

While we are an animal welfare organisation, all of us on the Governing Body of the Blue Cross of India work for organisations doing work for human beings and to us it is not a question of animals or people; it is animals and people.

The petition is based on several valid grounds including environmental; economic; constitutional; legal;  and opposition by several statutory bodies including the National Commission on Cattle, Law Commission of India, and the Animal Welfare Board of India. It is also based on the inherently cruel nature of the business and how abhorrent it is to our millennia old culture of ahimsa. 

In a case presently being heard by the Hon’ble Supreme Court, Hansraj Bharadwaj vs Union of India and others, the Hon’ble Court directed the Animal Welfare Board of India to collect and present data regarding the number of licensed and unlicensed slaughter houses in the states of India. A reading of the list is most depressing: the number of unlicensed slaughter houses in India far outweighs the number of licensed ones! And we are acutely aware that this list is incomplete – in Chennai, according to the Tamil Nadu government’s answer, there are two unlicensed slaughter houses in Chennai as against one licensed slaughter house. The petitioner avers that there are over a dozen unlicensed slaughter houses in Adyar (one postal division of Chennai)  alone!

In Orissa, there are 51 licensed slaughter houses versus 2073 unlicensed ones as per reports received from the Orissa government. In other words, the unlicensed ones outnumber the licensed ones by a factor of more than forty to one!

Arunachal Pradesh and  Andaman and Nicobar have reported that there are no licensed or unlicensed slaughter houses in both the areas – starnge that non-vegetarian items are freely available in both places!!

In all states which have responded, there is good reason to believe that the number of licensed slaughter houses is accurately reported – the number of unlicensed ones reported by the states is only a small fraction of those that exist.

It is further stated by the petitioner that virtually every rule in the Slaughter House Rules of 2001 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act of 1960 is broken by virtually every one of the licensed slaughter houses in India. Every rule in the Transportation of Animals Rules is also routinely flouted and authorities concerned turn a blind eye to this. 

  The attention of the Hon’ble Members of the Petitions Committee is drawn to the FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow; The World Water Development Report of 2003; Brahma Chellaney’s Water – Asia’s New Battleground; Vrinda Narain’s Water as a Fundamental Right – A Perpespective from India; Sharad K. Jain’s Sustainable Water Management in India Considering Likely Climate and Other Changes; Vandana Shiva’s The Transcript,  her Stolen Harvest; and her other writings;   Praveen Sharma’s Water – The Hidden Export and other sources which will be referred to in this petition.

 Environmental reasons for stopping the export of meat from India:

 

It is an indisputable fact that the conversion of animal feed to meat in any form is a very low efficiency process with a conversion factor of between 6:1 and 12:1. In other words, between 6 and 12 kilograms of corn or soy beans are required to produce one kilogram of meat.

In addition, it takes ten times more water to raise a kilogram of beef than it does to raise one kilogram of a water-intensive crop like rice.

The country’s natural resources are being rapidly depleted because of the meat export business and it is estimated that 16,000 cubic meters of water is required for every tonne of beef exported. India is one of the leading exporters of “virtual water” in the world! And this, when millions of our countrymen have limited access to potable water!

 Water is a public and material resource, fundamental to life and meant for the common good as mandated by the Public Trust Doctrine, which is part of the law of our land and as directed by Articles 21 and 39(b) of our Constitution.

Economic reasons for stopping the export of meat from India:

Agriculture or Agricide? This is a question that must be answered by this Hon’ble Committee.

No indigenous culture – not China and not India – has ever fed grain to animals. Animal have eaten what humans could not eat.

The economic viability of intensive animal agriculture in India given the grain and water requirements is non-existent. The business goes on only because no economic price is placed on the vast quantities of water required and the subsidies on the animal feeds. Land that can profitably be used for growing food for humans is used to grow feed for animals at great expense to the unknowing and un-informed public.

In many places, fertile rice fields are being destroyed to put up sheds housing upwards of 50,000 chickens each, destroying agricultural land and causing pollution to such an extent that the lands will be rendered unproductive for crops for years to come even after the factory farms are stopped.

The public health costs of the meat industry are astronomical. New and lethal diseases being born from factory farms including zoonotic ones like bird flu and swine flu have been an added burden on our public health system.

The financial gains of the meat export industry are centered in the hands of an “elite” few. In addition, these people are given subsidies to set up slaughter houses and tax-benefits for exporting the country’s cattle wealth. The nation’s food security is threatened because renewable energy and renewable sources of fertilizer from rural farm animals are being destroyed.

Animals are a primary source of fertilizer and draught power, especially in rural areas. According to Dr. Vandana Shiva, in the case of one export-oriented slaughter house alone, meat exports earned $45 million, whereas the estimated contribution of the slaughtered animals to the economy if they had been allowed to live was $230 million.

Constitutional grounds for stopping the export of meat from India:

The petitioner submits that the State is duty bound to follow the Directive Principles and the Fundamental Duty as enunciated in Article 51-A of our Constitution.

We are, therefore, constitutionally bound to show compassion to living creatures. It is reprehensible to most of us that cattle are condemned as “old and useless” to enable them to be slaughtered when the ruling by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in State of Gujarat Vs Mirzapur (October 26, 2005) stated that bovine cattle remain ‘milch and draught’ even if they are so-called ‘old and useless’.

The above ruling also emphasised the fact that the State is also a citizen and it is therefore required to honour the Constitutional mandate of Article 51-A.

Cattle that have served us for milch and draught for their entire “useful” life cannot be slaughtered under horrendous conditions to be exported just for the sake of what is rightly called “filthy lucre”.

 

National Commissions and Statutory bodies opposing the export of meat from India:

The National Cattle Commission under the Chairmanship of Justice Lodha and  the Animal Welfare Board of India – a statutory body set up by an Act of Parliament – both have recommended that the export of meat from India should be stopped.

The inherently cruel nature of the meat export industry:

The father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, stated: “The greatness of a nation and its social progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”

That each and every animal that is slaughtered dies with a great deal of pain and suffering cannot be disputed.

The cruelty is inherent in the raising, transportation and in the actual slaughter process.

Virtually every rule under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (59 of 1960) is violated in the process.

Should the country that was the birth place of Ahimsa continue to kill and export animals knowing that they are subject to the most heinous of atrocities?

Photos: Sharon St Joan / Bulls rescued by Blue Cross of India in 2012, from being illegally transported to slaughter.  

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