Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

Beef­ing up the ban on cat­tle slaugh­ter

- By Sheain Fernandopu­lle Food Industry · Livestock Industry · Industries · Agriculture · Sri Lanka · Anuradhapura · European Union · Beijing · Russia · Japan · United States of America · South Korea · New Zealand · Mahinda Rajapaksa · Ampara · Wattala · Negombo

The much-mooted move to ban cat­tle slaugh­ter has been in the spot­light ever since Prime Min­is­ter Mahinda Ra­japaksa pro­posed it. Cab­i­net later ap­proved the PM’S pro­posal de­spite an­nounc­ing on Septem­ber 10 the de­ci­sion would be put off by an­other month. How­ever, beef im­por­ta­tion has not been banned.

Many par­ties seem pos­i­tive about the ban while some are show­ing signs of ag­i­ta­tion. The is­sue has been a con­tro­ver­sial one, and in 2013 a Bud­dhist monk set him­self on fire against cat­tle slaugh­ter out­side the Tem­ple of the Sa­cred Tooth Relic in Kandy. In this back­drop, it is fit­ting to see how the ban im­pacts those con­cerned.

CAB­I­NET NOD

On 29 Septem­ber, Cab­i­net ap­proved PM Ra­japaksa’s pro­posal to ban cat­tle slaugh­ter in the coun­try. Ac­cord­ingly, the gov­ern­ment is to pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to the fol­low­ing as­pects:

■ Tak­ing im­me­di­ate nec­es­sary ac­tion to amend the An­i­mal Act No. 29 of 1958, the cat­tle slaugh­ter Or­di­nance No. 09 of 1893 and other re­lated laws and reg­u­la­tions passed by the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties re­gard­ing cat­tle slaugh­ter which are cur­rently in force in the coun­try.

■ Tak­ing im­me­di­ate nec­es­sary ac­tion to im­port the re­quired meat and pro­vide it at a con­ces­sion­ary price for peo­ple who con­sume beef.

■ Im­ple­ment­ing a suit­able pro­gramme for age­ing cat­tle which can­not be used ef­fec­tively for agri­cul­tural pur­poses.

■ Ban­ning of cat­tle slaugh­ter in the coun­try with im­me­di­ate ef­fect sub­ject to tak­ing such mea­sures.

“As a coun­try with an econ­omy based on agri­cul­ture, the con­tri­bu­tion of the cat­tle re­source to de­velop the liveli­hood of the ru­ral peo­ple of Sri Lanka is im­mense,” the gov­ern­ment said in a state­ment. “Var­i­ous par­ties have pointed out that the live­stock re­source that is re­quired for tra­di­tional farm­ing pur­poses is in­suf­fi­cient due to the in­crease of cat­tle slaugh­ter and the in­suf­fi­ciency of the live­stock re­source is an ob­sta­cle to up­lift the lo­cal dairy in­dus­try which en­ables de­vel­op­ment of the liveli­hood of the ru­ral peo­ple while re­duc­ing the sub­stan­tial amount of for­eign ex­change which grav­i­tates to­wards for­eign coun­tries on im­ported milk pow­der.”

While com­mend­ing the move, Ven. Omalpe So­bitha Thera said there was no need to im­port beef ei­ther be­cause, even if cat­tle are slaugh­tered else­where in the world, it is a sin. “No­body dies sans beef. There­fore, it is per­ti­nent that the gov­ern­ment also bans the im­port of beef. This will also re­duce ex­pen­di­ture, by elim­i­nat­ing the large sum which would be spent on beef im­ports,” So­bitha Thera told Daily Mir­ror. The govt. should not push back and with­draw this de­ci­sion what­ever in­flu­ence is used

The thera said his­tor­i­cally, in Sri Lanka, peo­ple who killed cat­tle were sen­tenced to death and those who con­sumed beef were marginalis­ed. “In that per­spec­tive, the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to ban cat­tle slaugh­ter is highly com­mend­able and rel­e­vant,” he said. “The gov­ern­ment should not fur­ther push back and with­draw this de­ci­sion de­spite what­ever in­flu­ence is used, but make sure the move is prop­erly en­forced,” the Thera stressed.

So­bitha Thera also em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of pro­mot­ing cow milk from lo­cal cows to dis­cour­age the im­por­ta­tion of milk pow­der, which causes cancer. He in­sisted the gov­ern­ment should stop im­port­ing milk pow­der and in­stead pro­vide much-needed fa­cil­i­ties to up­grade the lo­cal dairy in­dus­try. The thera said the ban would pro­duce re­sults from both an eco­nomic and health per­spec­tive, and there­fore it was im­por­tant that the gov­ern­ment im­ple­ment the move de­spite any ob­sta­cles to it.

NO HARM TO MUS­LIM COM­MU­NITY: MOULAVI AMHAR

Other com­mu­ni­ties would be af­fected more than the Mus­lim com­mu­nity by the cat­tle slaugh­ter ban, Di­rec­tor of Aca­demic Af­fairs of Zamzam Foun­da­tion Moulavi Amhar Hakam Deen told Daily Mir­ror. We won’t in­cur any losses from this be­cause we can shift to mut­ton if the ban comes into ef­fect

“We don’t con­sider this an alarm­ing threat and in­jus­tice to the Mus­lim com­mu­nity as it is non-mus­lims who are in­volved in the farm­ing in­dus­try, while Mus­lims have been aimed as beef con­sumers. We won’t in­cur any losses from this be­cause we can shift to mut­ton if the ban comes into ef­fect,” Moulavi Amhar said. “Cat­tle can be found abun­dantly in Tis­sama­harama, Am­para, Tana­mal­wila and Anu­rad­ha­pura. These are not ar­eas with large Mus­lim pop­u­la­tions. It is by sell­ing cat­tle that these non-mus­lims earn an in­come. Hence, they will be badly af­fected if the ban comes into play.”

On the other hand, he ques­tioned whether there was an at­tempt to please one com­mu­nity while in­con­ve­nienc­ing an­other. Hence, the gov­ern­ment should ex­plain on what grounds they were hop­ing to im­pose the ban.

GLOBAL MEAT IN­DUS­TRY STAN­DARDS UN­HEALTHY: DR DAMAYANTHI

The global meat in­dus­try is a vast in­dus­try and they are more into fac­tory in­dus­trial farm­ing

Com­ment­ing on the qual­ity of im­ported meat, Nu­tri­tion, Di­etet­ics and Life­style spe­cial­ist Dr. Damayanthi Perera said, in­dus­trial farm­ing in other coun­tries was nei­ther good nor healthy. She said the qual­ity of meat de­pends on how you farm. “There is a gen­eral per­cep­tion that any­thing ‘im­ported’ is good. But that is not the case. Food safety has two key as­pects. First there’s bac­te­ri­o­log­i­cal safety and sec­ondly, there’s health is­sues re­lated to fac­tory farm­ing or in­dus­trial an­i­mal farm­ing,” she said.

The global meat in­dus­try is a vast in­dus­try and they are more into fac­tory/ in­dus­trial farm­ing. “Fac­tory farmed meat is not healthy for many rea­sons. Firstly, the an­i­mals are stall fed on var­i­ous ar­ti­fi­cial ra­tions, and are raised in a very un­nat­u­ral man­ner. The an­i­mals can­not graze nat­u­rally and they are not ex­posed to sun­light and the nu­tri­tion qual­ity of the meat is in­fe­rior to that of nat­u­rally-raised or free-range an­i­mals.”

Be­sides, some coun­tries use drugs to pro­duce a lean beef ef­fect. One drug, Rac­topamine, was banned in 160 coun­tries in­clud­ing the Euro­pean Union, China and Rus­sia in 2014. How­ever, it is al­lowed in Ja­pan, the United States, South Korea and New Zealand.

“Con­sumers should re­mem­ber the Mad Cow Dis­ease to demon­strate the many con­cerns about in­dus­trial farm­ing. It is also im­por­tant that meat con­sump­tion in the West is de­clin­ing. Many Western­ers are turn­ing veg­e­tar­ian or ve­gan for health and eth­i­cal rea­sons,” Dr. Perera said, adding that beef, whether im­ported or not, was not healthy as it is associated with cancer. “That’s why we have been ask­ing peo­ple not to eat red meat,” she stressed.

MAS­SIVE JOB LOSS: KULARAJA PERERA

The con­tri­bu­tion of the cat­tle re­source to de­velop the liveli­hood of ru­ral peo­ple of SL is im­mense

In­stead of ban­ning cat­tle slaugh­ter the gov­ern­ment should con­struct slaugh­ter­houses where cat­tle are hu­manely slaugh­tered, the All Cey­lon An­i­mal Trans­port and An­i­mal Pro­duc­tion Farm­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion said.

Its pres­i­dent K.S.K Kularaja Perera said it was the gov­ern­ment’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to end in­hu­mane cat­tle slaugh­ter. Kularaja said many herds­men and dairy farm­ers would face prob­lems due to the ban on cat­tle slaugh­ter. “There is a risk of los­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of di­rect and in­di­rect jobs gen­er­ated from herd­ing. Male breed­ing in any herd is more than 50%. So the gov­ern­ment should ex­plain what they are go­ing to do with the male an­i­mals. Cows must breed to pro­duce milk. At the same time what will hap­pen to the dairy cat­tle? How will these an­i­mals be pro­tected with­out be­ing slaugh­tered for meat? Are there suf­fi­cient grass­lands in Sri Lanka? Can those cat­tle be re­leased into gov­ern­ment jun­gles? There are many other is­sues that need to be con­sid­ered be­fore the ban­ning of cat­tle slaugh­ter,” he said.

Thus, the As­so­ci­a­tion urged the gov­ern­ment to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion in this re­gard.

No­body dies sans beef. There­fore, it is per­ti­nent that the govt. also bans the im­port of beef.

Gov­ern­ment should stop im­port­ing milk pow­der and in­stead pro­vide fa­cil­i­ties to up­grade the lo­cal dairy in­dus­try

It is by sell­ing cat­tle that these non-mus­lims earn an in­come

What are they go­ing to do with the male an­i­mals

Are there suf­fi­cient grass­lands in Sri Lanka?

PRE­VAIL­ING LAW

The cur­rent An­i­mal Act of Sri Lanka bans the slaugh­ter of cows and calves be­low the age of 12. It says: “No per­son shall slaugh­ter, or cause or per­mit to be slaugh­tered, any cow (other than a cow im­ported for slaugh­ter), un­less that cow is cer­ti­fied by the ap­pro­pri­ate author­ity to be not less than twelve years of age, or in­ca­pable of breed­ing, or un­fit to be used for any agri­cul­tural pur­pose, and ex­cept in ac­cor­dance with such reg­u­la­tions as may be in force un­der this Act re­lat­ing to the slaugh­ter of cows.” In this sec­tion, “ap­pro­pri­ate author­ity” means a Gov­ern­ment Vet­eri­nary Sur­geon, a Vet­eri­nary Sur­geon em­ployed by any lo­cal author­ity, or any other of­fi­cer ap­pointed by a lo­cal author­ity can is­sue cer­tifi­cates un­der this sub­sec­tion. The law was passed in 1958 and amended in 1964.

Gov­ern­ment should ex­plain on what grounds they were hop­ing to im­pose the ban

VOICE OF THE PEO­PLE

Au­gus­tine Silva, a res­i­dent of Wat­tala said it was a good move as long as the im­port of beef was done in a proper man­ner. “I am against cat­tle slaugh­ter. Though I ab­stain from eat­ing meat, it is risky to eat im­ported meat in­clud­ing beef be­cause we never know what sorts of an­i­mals in what con­di­tion are slaugh­tered. There­fore, if the gov­ern­ment is to ban cat­tle slaugh­ter, they should pay spe­cial at­ten­tion on the qual­ity of im­ported beef,” he said.

Rath­nasekara, a butcher from Ne­gombo, said al­though many did not eat beef, it was a meat with a high nu­tri­tional value. “Peo­ple may be­come un­health­ier by eat­ing beef from abroad. There­fore, I don’t see this as an ef­fec­tive move,” he opined.

Mo­hamed Shi­raz from Slave-is­land said the mo­tive be­hind the ban was un­clear in a con­text where peo­ple were suf­fer­ing from other burn­ing is­sues. “There are more im­por­tant is­sues that should be looked into be­fore con­sid­er­ing a ban on cat­tle slaugh­ter,” he said.

Mar­cus Fer­nando, a butcher from Katana said it was not a long-last­ing so­lu­tion as cat­tle slaugh­ter would take place by hook or by crook de­spite the ban. “Most peo­ple are used to eat­ing beef from Sri Lanka. The au­thor­i­ties can’t stop slaugh­ter­ing cat­tle all of a sud­den as many de­pend on this for a liv­ing. If it is banned, how would they earn their in­come,” he asked.

Rashmi Fa­tima from Wellawatte said as the pur­pose of the ban had not been spec­i­fied by the gov­ern­ment, it was hard to com­ment on the is­sue. “If the pro­posal has come due to in­flu­ence of re­li­gious groups, then the ac­tual pur­pose is ham­pered and would not pro­duce good re­sults,” she said.

 ?? PIC BY NIMALSIRI EDIRISINGH­E ?? The ‘Pa­vidi­handa’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion headed by Ven. Mu­ruth­thet­tuwe Ananda Thera launched a march to­wards the statue of Sri­math Ana­garika Dharma­pala on Septem­ber 18. The march was or­gan­ised in sup­port of the gov­ern­ment ‘s de­ci­sion to ban cat­tle slaugh­ter. Cat­tle were pa­raded in a bid to con­vince peo­ple on the grav­ity of slaugh­ter­ing cat­tle.
PIC BY NIMALSIRI EDIRISINGH­E The ‘Pa­vidi­handa’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion headed by Ven. Mu­ruth­thet­tuwe Ananda Thera launched a march to­wards the statue of Sri­math Ana­garika Dharma­pala on Septem­ber 18. The march was or­gan­ised in sup­port of the gov­ern­ment ‘s de­ci­sion to ban cat­tle slaugh­ter. Cat­tle were pa­raded in a bid to con­vince peo­ple on the grav­ity of slaugh­ter­ing cat­tle.
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 ??  ?? BEEF IM­PORTS SHOULD ALSO BE BANNED: OMALPE SO­BITHA THERA
BEEF IM­PORTS SHOULD ALSO BE BANNED: OMALPE SO­BITHA THERA
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