Traders association says the meat is being legally imported from Karnataka and harassment is to tacitly implement a beef ban in State
AMN / PANJIM (GOA)
Facing continue onslaught from cow vigilantes, Goa Meat Traders Association, an umbrella body of meat suppliers in Goa, has decided to go on an indefinite strike from today till the state intervenes in the matter.
Given that consumption of meat is higher in the winter months when large number of tourists descend on Goa, meat supplies are expected to be badly hit.
For the last two weeks, the association has been trying to meet government authorities to complain about “forced cases of vigilantism and harassment” by NGOs and people claiming to represent the animal welfare board.
Manna Bepari, president of the Goa Meat Traders Association, said: “The first so-called raid happened on December 25, on Christmas day. We bring cattle meat from Karnataka since we are not allowed under law to slaughter them. We purchase the meat legally and transport it to Goa.”
“Trucks are stopped at check posts where these NGOs step in and start destroying the meat. They start by taking photographs of the meat, claiming it is beef. We have told them that we do not trade in cow meat and neither do we get it to Goa,” he said. “There is a legal procedure for seizures to take place and the meat has to be stored in refrigerators, and the sample sent to a laboratory for inspection and final report. In all these raids, these vigilante groups enter trucks with washing detergents, phenyl and destroy our meat. This is bizarre. No action is taken against them,” he said.
The meat, Bepari said, is brought from Karnataka as traders in Goa are not allowed to slaughter animals anywhere outside the government-recognised Goa Meat Complex.
“When the first raid happened, we approached the government. We had all the paperwork. The raids though have continued. Even purchase of meat is verified by officials at that end. We are going on strike till the government or the animal husbandry in Goa talks to us.”
Bepari said that around 20 tonnes of beef are imported daily from the neighbouring State to Goa. He said, “Daily seizure of vehicles and beef has led to huge losses to the traders which has now become unbearable.”