FIAPO’s Campaign to Close Illegal Meat Shops Kicks off
People in Bhubaneshwar are up in arms against the illegal slaughter of animals for food in their neighbourhood. Under the campaign name End Slaughter Cruelty, citizens came together to discuss and train on various laws governing slaughter and on how to work with Government authorities to end illegal slaughter.
Hundreds of thousands of animals are slaughtered for food every day across the country. Such killing is allowed under specific rules, to ensure humane treatment of animals, health and hygiene of the surroundings. However, none of the facilities investigated confirmed to these.
It was observed that birds were cut up before they were even dead; live birds were kept in utmost cramped and unhygienic conditions; large animals were also being slaughtered in shops and even basic paperwork was absent. Diseased birds were kept with healthy ones and there was no food, water or veterinary care provided. Meat shops, which are only supposed to sell meat, were found slaughtering animals. There were no proper facilities for hygienic disposal of waste or processing of meat. The municipal body did not have a mechanism to inspect and facilitate these either, with many street dogs thriving on waste from these shops.
Varda Mehrotra, Director of the FIAPO for animal protection summarized the movement as “Thousands of animals suffering in illegal meat shops and slaughterhouses have a fresh ray of hope with people speaking up for them. A similar movement in Jaipur earlier last year led to illegal meat shops being closed down. We appeal to the local body and food safety department to take serious note of the complaints and initiate action in the interest of the lives of animals and humans alike.”
Tanuja Sethi, a resident said, “I am fed up of the municipality’s inaction on the issue. I had complained to them earlier as well, but neither they nor the media took the issue seriously. However, now that many people like me have come together, I am hopeful that action will be taken on them soon.”
“Owners of meat shops are totally inconsiderate about the health and safety of people or the animals they slaughter. I have seen them casually throw the leftover meat to the dogs waiting outside, encouraging them to fight among themselves. A walk down the meat market near my place will show you who is responsible for street dogs being aggressive.” says Sai Singh, another resident.
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 fine of up to 5 lakh rupees.
“Many of these shops employed child labour, were using rusted implements to process meat which was exposed to insects, dust and smoke. These are ripe conditions for a disease outbreak and our city does not even have any lab to test for germs in meat. Does the entire city have to pay to sustain the illegal and unethical profiteering of some people?” asks, Priyaranjan Padhi.
Purabi Patra, Founder of Animal Welfare Trust Ekamra says, “We are thankful to FIAPO for conducting this workshop in our city. It was a much needed venture to be done to channelize the procedures to shut down the illegal roadside meat shops which is definitely not a healthy practice for any civilization. We will try our best to follow the protocols under the expert guidance of FIAPO in association with Bhubaneshwar Municipal Corporation and Food Safety Department and will make it sure to happen”