Gov­ern­ment’s plan to start slaugh­ter house, a slap on GNH

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Eco­nomic self-re­liance is an im­por­tant na­tional ob­jec­tive. As a de­vel­op­ing na­tion, Bhutan must strive harder to pro­mote eq­ui­table and sus­tain­able so­cioe­co­nomic devel­op­ment, through peo­ple cen­tric poli­cies and pro­grams. Devel­op­ment in Bhutan has been care­fully guided by the noble phi­los­o­phy of Gross Na­tional Happi- ness that as­pires to strike a fine bal­ance be­tween ma­te­rial devel­op­ment and spir­i­tual well­be­ing of Bhutanese peo­ple. Our far­sighted Mon­archs have en­sured that in our pur­suit of eco­nomic goals, we do not for­get our time tested le­gacy, cul­ture, pris­tine en­vi­ron­ment and rich tra­di­tional val­ues.

Much of our val­ues and prin­ci­ples – the bed- rock of our so­ci­ety – are based on Bud­dhist con­cepts of com­pas­sion for and in­ter­de­pen­dence of all sen­tient be­ings. Our na­tional life is deeply spir­i­tual. In this con­text, the PDP gov­ern­ment’s plan to start slaugh­ter­houses in the coun­try is a mas­sive blow to the noble prin­ci­ples that have shaped and molded our na­tion. The gov­ern­ment’s plan has shocked and deeply dis­tressed the peo­ple of Bhutan.

While eco­nomic self-re­liance and food self-suf­fi­ciency are crit­i­cal na­tional ob­jec­tives, the gov­ern­ment must also re­mem­ber that they must ful­fill the man­date with­out caus­ing un­nec­es­sary dis­tress to the peo­ple. The gov­ern­ment needs to ex­plore in­no­va­tive ideas to off­set the neg­a­tive bal­ance of trade and ru­pee deficit in the econ­omy rather than quick-fix so­lu­tions that un­der­mine the very philo­soph­i­cal foun­da­tion of our devel­op­ment.

Open­ing abat­toirs and meat pro­cess­ing in­dus­try not only con­tra­dicts our age-old Bud­dhist val­ues but also re­flects poorly of the gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic strat­egy to boost the econ­omy. Although we can­not deny the fact that meat im­ports re­sult in out­flow of sub­stan­tial amount of ru­pee from the econ­omy, the over­all trend is largely due to ex­ces­sive im­ports against ex­ports across all sec­tors.

There­fore, it would make much greater sense if the gov­ern­ment comes up with vi­able al­ter­na­tives and longterm strate­gies to boost ex­ports and re­vi­tal- ize our econ­omy than fo­cus­ing on small, pet projects. The gov­ern­ment’s eco­nomic plans must be in line with the guiding prin­ci­ples of GNH. All ma­jor poli­cies have to un­dergo GNH screen­ing test and we hope the gov­ern­ment will ap­ply the screen­ing mea­sures to projects and pro­grams as well.

Druk Chir­wang Tshogpa would like to ap­peal to the gov­ern­ment to be mind­ful of the reper­cus­sions of such ini­tia­tives and take into con­sid­er­a­tion the sen­ti­ments of peo­ple of Bhutan. We hope good sense will pre­vail and the plan to start slaugh­ter­houses will be shelved for good.

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