Illegal cattle slaughter on the rise in Salcete

 

  Consumption of beef in Goa is known to be on the higher side as compared to other states in the country with the meat of around 300 to 325 bovines being consumed on a daily basis.
 
However, the Goa Meat Complex (GMC) with its  modern  abattoir at Usgao legally slaughters just around 65 to 70 animals for human  consumption, with the remaining  being slaughtered in various places in the state.
Also the meat is being  imported from across the border either legally or illegally.
Sources  said  that Catholic dominated Salcete consumes above 40 per cent of the beef produced in the state. Interestingly, as per the  information from the  GMC,  around  30 bovines are being brought  at the  Usgao  abattoir  from Salcete  traders for slaughtering.
So, obviously, the beef requirement of Salcete is being met by bring it from Belgaum. Hence, there are chances that the beef eaters are consuming the meat that is being obtained by illegally slaughtering the cattle or at  times produced from unhealthy and dead animals.
‘The Navhind Times’ gathered that there are at least five places in Margao and its outskirts, where the animals are being slaughtered illegally.
And, what really encourages such illegalities is the tedious process  the  butchers need to follow, including undergoing the health check, ante mortem, post mortem etc, to  slaughter the animals legally at GMC, Usgao, even  though the fees are reasonable.
And, perhaps these are the reasons that force the stall owners and local butchers to slaughter the animals locally without the knowledge of  the GMC.
There are reports that bovines are being slaughtered at the  SGPDA  market, Khareband, Gandhi Market and in Benaulim  during the wee hours by the local  butchers, allegedly by greasing the palms of the concerned authorities.
However, when this reporter contacted the officials of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary  Department, Health Department and police, they denied it. They instead  passed the buck on to others.
While, the director of Animal Husbandry and  Veterinary  Services  (AH&VS), Dr B Braganza, said, “Police are also equally  responsible for the increase in illegal slaughtering,” the police on the other hand said that “the  doctors at the Animal  Husbandry are the appropriate authority  to  raid  the illegal slaughtering  with the  police  assistance and that they cannot blame the police.”
A health official from the Margao Urban Health Centre and the  officials from the Food and Drug Administration also claimed that they are not the direct authorities to check the illegal slaughtering of animals.
“There is a special committee constituted by the AH&VS Department to  check the illegal  slaughtering of animals. They have to  put efforts and interest to control the illegal slaughtering and to give healthy  meat to the  consumers by  bringing the animals for  slaughtering at the official  slaughtering  house with  certifications. They play a very responsible role in the society besides their official obligations,’’ commented a social activist.
A  consumer,  Mr  Jose Manuel Crasto, from Margao  said  that there has to be a mechanism to instantly check the meat when the consumer complains.
“What we see is the lack of appropriate system in place to check such illegalities and what compounds the problem is the greed of few of the officials concerned who are least bothered about the quality of the sold meat,’’ he added.
Explaining further, he said that if they complained to the MMC, the  answer is that they cannot check it.  
Animal rights activist claimed that “many a times animals are ill treated, left hungry, prior to the slaughtering (including in the open). The slaughtering houses are not kept clean.” Despite being well aware of the ongoing  illegalities  in Salcete,  none of these officials dare to bell the cat.
“We  get complaints that the animals are being slaughtered in the  wee hours, but  we directly cannot  raid them,’’ said the  director of  Food and Drug  Administration, Mr  Salim Valjee, and an official of the  Urban  Health Centre, Margao.
Sources in the  Directorate of  AH&VS  informed  that there  are incidents wherein  information  of raids are being leaked to the butchers  in advance by some of the  action-taking team members and hence they are proved helpless.
Interestingly, the Salcete taluka in-charge of the AH&VS, Dr S M Naik,  said  that they have acted  tough, whenever there were complaints  To justify his statement, he recalled the incident of having arrested 12 persons, who were later released, for  slaughtering  bovines at Khareband, Margao,  illegally on the occasion of Eid.
The director of  AH&VS, Dr  Braganza, however, said that raiding and  controlling illegalities is not  impossible if all the authorities concerned work in tandem.  
He  recalled how  a truckload of  unhealthy  and illegally  slaughtered  cattle meat  was  checked  at the Goa- Belgaum  boarder a  couple of  years ago and the persons were booked  under the law and over 30  tonne of meat was destroyed.  
He said  they  booked  these persons to  avoid selling of  rotten meat to the  consumers, even though  these  butchers tried their political influence to  release their vehicle at the border.
Dr Braganza said that the imported meat is checked at the border  and the end point at the cold storages and at the stalls by the officials of the AH&VS.  “Their  certificates are checked.  The received quota is also checked and if a stall owner or beef seller is found selling unhealthy meat, it is instantly destroyed and the person is booked,’’ he added.
A butcher from Belgaum, who supplies meat to Salcete beef stalls  alleged that he pays to the  concerned  authorities  for  ignoring the thorough checking and smooth transportation.  
He, however,  solemnly stated that  they never ever slaughtered  dead or  half  dead or ill bovines for human consumption. [NT]