The meat dilemma
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.