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