The meat dilemma

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

The depart­ment of live­stock un­der the min­istry of agri­cul­ture is set­ting up a meat pro­cess­ing plant to pro­vide hy­gien­i­cally pro­cessed and pack­aged qual­ity meat to suit the needs of the peo­ple. The project is funded by depart­ment of live­stock devel­op­ment of Thai­land at a cost of about Nu. 13.5 M.

The meat pro­cess­ing plant is one of the 10 projects as a part of the 11th Plan ac­tiv­i­ties to boast the live­stock pro­duc­tion and food suf­fi­ciency. The project will help in the re­duc­tion of meat im­ports and give a range of choice to the con­sumers ac­cord­ing to their needs. The plant will also pro­vide ca­pac­ity build­ing to the lo­cal meat ven­dors in meat pro­cess­ing.

As the meat im­ported now is not hy­gienic and a need was felt nec­es­sary that the meat con­sumed is hy­gienic and pack­aged as per the size re­quired by the con­sumers. Now meat is pur­chased in bulk as the meat ven­dors don’t sell in small quan­ti­ties.

There has been a huge out­cry on the public domain with re­gard to the estab­lish­ment of a slaugh­ter house in the coun­try and even the gov­ern­ment was quizzed last Tues­day in the Na­tional As­sem­bly about the plans to set up the slaugh­ter house in the coun­try. The gov­ern­ment has clar­i­fied that it doesn’t have plans to set up a slaugh­ter house but was set up a meat pro­cess­ing unit.

As a Bud­dhist na­tion, slaugh­ter­ing of an­i­mals are con­sid­ered sin­ful and will not be al­lowed. The gov­ern­ment will be los­ing its cred­itabil­ity if the slaugh­ter house comes in. But with the gov­ern­ment clar­i­fy­ing its stand that it has no plans for the slaugh­ter house for now. The heat has calmed down.

The killing of an­i­mals has been against our reli­gion but con­sum­ing meat has al­ways been part and par­cel of our so­ci­ety. Peo­ple in the vil­lage rear pigs, cat­tle and poul­try and are mainly used for fes­ti­vals and an­i­mal rit­u­als. This has been a part of our cul­ture and will con­tinue as we hand over the tra­di­tion to our chil­dren.

With Bhutan im­port­ing about 10,336 MT of meat per year amount­ing to 1.37 bil­lion from In­dia and neigh­bor­ing coun­tries, the high­est per capita con­sump­tion of meat in South Asia, it may be dif­fi­cult to change the pat­tern overnight.

How­ever, it is bet­ter that the Drat­shang may dis­cour­age peo­ple from con­sum­ing meat and ab­stain from us­ing it dur­ing the re­li­gious cer­e­monies. But the great con­cern is that will this not af­fect the re­li­gious sen­ti­ments of our peo­ple or will our peo­ple ac­cept the changes so soon. Or maybe we eat meat on the con­di­tion that that the an­i­mals are not slaugh­tered specif­i­cally for the per­son who eats it with­out mak­ing hypocrisy of our selves.

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