Emerging Issues on Meat Sector as : Human Foods of Animal Orgin , Food Saftey and Food Security , in India.
I , recently , happened to read the learned treatise on these and allied subjects by Prof.Dr.John Abraham , on face book. First of all I thank him for the mass of information on this topic of vital importance to India, he has placed before the consuming public as also before Government .
Quite different from the contents of his treatise but allied to the issues raised by him , I venture to place before the public and the policy makers my concerns about the Government’s attitude towards meat as food in general and consumption of beef in particular.
Sentiments among a section of the people in the country to treat the cow as Gomatha and therefore a sacred animal is what I want to talk about. Their interference in place and out of place , compelled the Government to ban the slaughter and consumption meat from cows and its offspring : denying a large section of people including Hindus like me , access to beef , the food we prefer , to satisfy the sentiments , whims and fancies of groups of religious fanatics . Enacting such a draconian law has absolutely no rhyme or reason as holy scriptures of the SANATHANA Dharma , nowhere restricts nor bans the consumption of beef.
By the enactment of the ban on cow slaughter and consumption of beef the Government has in one stroke jeopardised the food security of the country and condemned the the poorest of the poor farmers to bear the burden of enormous numbers of unproductive Indian Cattle eating them out of their houses and homes , as they can no longer trade their surplus animals as part of the country ‘s food chain. 80 per cent of the cattle in India are owned by the small and marginal farmers and the landless , both urban and rural.
We are also , ipso facto , ignoring the enormous food bank the surplus indigenous cattle constitute ! If we breed them for beef production, using beef breeds from Europe or America , we can progressively double , triple or even quadruple the beef out put , starting from the very next year onwards.
The standard argument against slaughter of indigenous cattle had always been that they are needed to produce the work animals for Indian Agriculture . This is no longer true : draught animals now contribute less than 20 per cent of the total farm power used in the country , the rest comes from electrical and mechanical sources . The indigenous cows committed to draught animal production is now redundant . The livestock census 2019 clearly shows that there is drastic reduction in draught animal numbers and with female among indigenous cattle increasing in proportion !
The second argument was that , the indigenous stock constitute the enormously important germ plasm pool . This is true but the female of the species alone are enough to meet that requirement . Trading in indigenous surplus stock is therefore the critical factor balancing the economy of the farm households.
Now , about the holy cows : a myth with no religeous or scriptural sanctions ! I had studied Sanskrit for more than 15 years during my academic life : as my second language from prep school to BSc ! I therefore had plenty of exposure to holy scripture , in original Devanagari : some as part of the curriculum , the other because of access I had to university libraries. I have not come across any recorded restrictions on slaughter of cattle or for that matter , consumption of beef, any where in the scriptures. On the contrary there are recorded evidence on the ritual slaughter of cows and on the popularity of beef as human food.
In the Vedic era , Aswamedha was the ritual of the Kshatriyas , involving horses : where as Gomedha was the ritual of the Brahmins. The ritual caparisoned cow after its ritual wandering about in villages , was ceremonially sacrificed and the beef served to Brahmin Guests at the ceremonial feast at the end of the Gomedha Yaga !
The cow was recognized as a very important livestock , intensely associated with the welfare of the farm family, but never was treated as the gomatha ! Deification of the cow evolved during the era of Adi Sankara ! It was never ever considered holy before !
Thus , there are no religious or scriptural sanctions for a total ban of cow slaughter or consumption of beef. It is high time that right thinking citizens rose against the ban and compel the government to repeal the draconian law on ban of cow slaughter and consumption of beef !
MPG Kurup , Toronto , Canada