People in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Indore, Raipur, Delhi, Dehradun, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata are up in arms against the illegal slaughter of animals for food in their neighborhood. Under the campaign name Stop Illegal Slaughter, they have investigated and complained against at least 200 such shops to their respective local bodies and food safety authorities.
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 across the country 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 bodies did not have a mechanism to inspect and facilitate these either, with many street dogs thriving on waste from these shops.
Sonali Gupta, an activist from Dehradun said “I am fed up of the municipal body’s inaction on the issue. I had complained to them earlier as well, but neither they nor the media took the issue seriously as I was the one person speaking on the issue. However, now that many people like me have complained in their own cities, we know it is a national phenomenon and 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 Narayanguda market will show you who is responsible for street dogs being aggressive.” says Aditya from Hyderabad.
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 labor, 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 Bangalore’s Shree Kavya, mother of a 5-year-old girl.
Varda Mehrotra, Director of the national federation 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 this year led to illegal meat shops being closed down. We appeal to local bodies and food safety departments in these cities to take serious note of the complaints filed and initiate action in the interest of the lives of animals and humans alike.”
One can report any such illegal shops to the food safety department on their helpline at- 1800112100. Citizens can also complain on the Whatsapp number- 9868686868, or reach them on twitter- [email protected], facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/fssai/ or their mobile app- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.fssai.fssai&hl=en