Mangaluru: On June 14, 2018, FIAPO’s local activists conducted their first ever inspection in Mangaluru meat markets and the revelations were horrifying. The inspection revealed the largely unregulated, unethical and illegal state of meat shops in Mangalore. The shops flouted the most basic rules such as the provision of food and water for poultry, stuffed poultry in unbreathable conditions in cages where birds didn’t even have space to turn around. Alongside this, slaughtering animals in the open amidst dust, smoke and pollutants was a common sight. Animals were routinely subject to injury and diseases and often crammed in the sunlight, without any shade. These shops were mostly operating without valid licenses, with little or no regard for the law. The meat vendors were oblivious to the provisions to maintain personal hygiene checks and health standards. The shops openly dumped animal carcasses and had very poor drainage systems as the markets were established unimproved since the Colonial period.
The Slaughterhouse Rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960; the Food Safety and Standards Regulations 2010; BIS standards; Pollution Control Norms and Municipal Rules for Registration were found being violated with impunity. Some of these violations, for instance, running a meat shop without Food Safety registration is punishable with imprisonment for six months and a fine of up to 5 lakh rupees. Owners of meat shops were mostly oblivious to both – these rules and the health and safety of people or the animals they slaughter.
Over the span of 8 months, consistent efforts of inspecting, counseling the meat shops owners Union in collaboration with Mangalore Municipal Corporation and with tremendous efforts by our local activist Tauseef Ahmed, Mangalore meat markets are now showing an exemplary change of attitude and practice towards its animals. In an inspection done on 7th Feb 2019, it was revealed that the shops that were keeping birds stuffed in cages beyond counts, open in the Sun and rain earlier have now created shades and are conscious to the suffering of birds and provide them with food and water at all times. The practice of open slaughter was not found in any meat shops. The city corporation has demolished most of the old markets and built new markets for meat shops.
In words of the local activist Tauseef Ahmed “The birds in these markets were kept in such small and cramped cages that they would not even be able to shift a wing but now they are kept in a way that they have space to move around and are also let out in open spaces. The practice of slaughter of one poultry in front of live poultry has been changed as the butchers have changed their practices and I do not see this practice going on anymore. They even get their health checked annually now under the supervision of Mangalore Municipal Corporation.”