Govt sets up committee to check slaughter houses
Joaquim Fernandes, Times of India
The government has constituted a committee "to carry out the inspection of slaughter houses in the state in adherence to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960", but only the Goa meat complex slaughter house is recognized by the government.
Sources in the government told TOI that according to the Goa Animal Preservation Act, 1995, slaughtering of animals can only be done at the Goa meat complex because it has the qualified staff and the equipment required to follow the procedure for the scientific and hygienic slaughter of animals. Section 4 of the act states that "no person shall slaughter or cause to be slaughtered any scheduled animal in any place in the state of Goa, unless he has obtained in respect of such animal, a certificate in writing from the competent authority that the animal is fit for slaughter".
Sources also said that according to intelligence inputs, illegal slaughter of animals is done in at least 20 to 30 places in Goa. The Goa meat complex reportedly follows a stringent procedure for the slaughter of animals; an ante mortem test to check the animal's health where only healthy animals are cleared for slaughter, feeding the animal only water for a day prior to its slaughter, carrying out another postmortem test to check for diseased organs and clearing only healthy meat, etc.
Although the Goa meat complex charges private meat vendors only 400 for the entire procedure including the slaughter of their animals, not many vendors bring their animals to the Goa meat complex. "There are reports that dead and sick animals are slaughtered in these illegal slaughter houses all over Goa. There are approximately 400 animal diseases that can be communicated to human beings. This poses a threat to public health and although the government is supposed to act against these illegal slaughter houses and also has the staff, it lacks the will to do so," said sources.
The director of the department of animal husbandry and veterinary services (AHVS) H Faleiro said that earlier inspections were carried out by officials of his department and of the Goa meat complex. Faleiro said that some meat comes from across the border and village panchayats and municipal councils are responsible for stopping the illegal slaughter of animals in their jurisdictions. "Our officials are also making efforts to stop wherever possible," Faleiro said.
Faleiro also said that these small slaughter houses in Goa could not be authorized by the government because they would not be able to comply with the norms specified in the rules for slaughter houses.
Hopefully, the new committee will be able to clamp down on the illegal slaughter houses. The committee comprises the deputy director (farms) and member secretary of Goa state advisory board for animal welfare (AHVS), A D P Verlekar (assistant director, veterinary hospital, Mapusa), R V Jog (veterinary officer, Dharbandora), Norma Alvares ( Animal Welfare Board of India) and Rosario Menezes (Goa state advisory board).
The function of the committee shall be to inspect the licensed slaughter houses in the state every six months under the provision of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (slaughter house) Rules, 2001, made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
During their inspections, the committee will check issues such as humane slaughter and provision of stunning of animals prior to slaughter, state of lairages/animal holding areas, feeding and watering arrangements, general hygiene and sanitation of the slaughter house, see that animals are not slaughtered in view of each other, check if pregnant, very young (less than three months old), recently calved animals are being slaughtered, whether ante and postmortem examination by a qualified veterinarian is being carried out and the method adopted for disposal of condemned/rejected meat.
The committee will also comment on the prevalence of illegal slaughter houses in Goa and ensure that an action plan is worked out by coordinating with the State Pollution Control Board and state Animal Welfare Board to ensure that all slaughter houses have requisite clearances to meet the requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (slaughter house) Rules, 2001.