Banning Beef – Justified or not?

Banning Beef – Justified or not?

President Pranab Mukherjee has finally passed “Maharashtra Animal Preservation Bill”, 1995 that prohibits slaughtering of bullocks and bulls within the state of Maharashtra. There have been mixed reactions when the twenty years recent bill was passed. The Beef ban bill states that anyone found with beef or commerce is also captive up to five years and punished for Rs ten thousand.

India is a democratic country where everyone has equal right to have food of their choice. It is merely a wrong perception that only Muslims eat beef, whereas beef serves as a food for many of the other religions. So banning it means not only taking away their right to eat whatever they want, but also it makes our country vulnerable to not to be unite in diversity.  The Maharashtra government has said that they have not imposed any ban on beef. There is a difference in imposing ban on beef and ban on cow or cattle slaughter.

And moreover, the ban on cow/bullock slaughter is not driven by any hidden or communal agenda. It was an old bill from 1997-98. The government has taken it to its logical end driven by agro economics. A cow or bullock can become an alternative means of livelihood for a farmer. Much uproar is coming for the government from all sides. Beef was cooked in the open and Hindus and Muslims seated together for a meal in Kerala for showing a protest against beef ban in Maharashtra.

They took it as a token to protest against beef ban and warned government if implemented in Kerala. The annual sale of beef is estimated at 2.3 lakh metric tonnes against the corresponding figure for poultry of 1.51 lakh metric tonnes. This ban on beef will affect the economically and many people will be affected including those dealing with cow hide, which is very important for leather industry.

Beef ban comes in with the Hindutva politics in general; its dietary importance for poor dalit’s and tribals is being underestimated. It is the cheapest and rich source of protein. Beef is a cheap meat. It is often called the “poor’s man protein”. This will have an inflationary impact and will raise household food bills. It will affect livelihoods of traders and butchers who deal with bovine meat.  Various industries such as Pharma will be affected as many of their products involve ingredients like fats from buffaloes. And what about the beef imported from other parts of world? Nothing is done for it. There are many restaurants that use Angus beef from USA and Australia.

Others believe that banning of beef is rightly justified as in India cow is considered as holy and according to Hindu religion slaughtering of cow is considered as a sin. But then what about other animals who are considered as a ‘Bali’ to some Gods or Goddess; why people don’t remember animal love at that time? It is really hypocrisy to impose ban on slaughtering of bulls and calves. If we are animal lover then rule should be same for hens and goats or for other animals which are slaughtered on name of puja or for eating purpose. India is a diversified country and that should be kept in mind before imposing any law. Although Hinduism is in majority, yet being a republic it is also the duty of the government to respect the choices of the minority.