INDIA - Kerala's appetite for meat has remained unchanged despite the din over cattle slaughter in the country. An integrated sample survey, published by the Union ministry of animal husbandry, showed that the state topped the list on cattle slaughter in 2015-16.
As per data available with the department, 11,70,000 adult cattle and 69,170 young cattle were slaughtered in Kerala in 2015-16. Bihar, which once held the top position, came second this time. In Bihar 4,09,000 adult cattle and 2,00,000 young cattle were slaughtered in the same time period.
According to The Times of India, Kerala's cattle slaughter figure has nearly tripled since 2009, leaving all other states behind. As per the statistics of 2009-10, 4,98,000 cattle were slaughtered in Kerala, while in Bihar it was 5,25,000. Officials with animal husbandry department (AHD) said that consumption of cattle meat was not affected by religious taboo here.
"A major share of Kerala's population comprises meat eaters. Unlike other states, where cattle slaughter has dropped over the years, Kerala is free from any kind of taboo associated with consumption of cattle meat. There is a steady inflow of unproductive cows from neighbouring states like Tami Nadu and Karnataka to Kerala," said a senior AHD official.
While Uttar Pradesh (UP) dominates in buffalo slaughter, Kerala has been inching closer to Andhra Pradesh and Punjab that are behind UP in terms of buffalo meat production. In 2015-16, 9,38,000 buffaloes were slaughtered in Kerala, nearly equalling Punjab's figure of 9,39,000.
When compared with 2009-10, the quantity of buffaloes being slaughtered in Kerala has more than doubled, the figures have leapfrogged from 4,10,000 in 2009-10 to 9,38,000 in 2015-16. Kerala has surpassed states like Bihar and Maharashtra which had once equalled or were ahead of Kerala.
The state's unbridled appetite for cattle slaughter, however, doesn't reflect in its livestock population or total meat production. Kerala has one of the lowest livestock population for cattle and buffaloes as per the 19th livestock census, which indicates that most of the animals being slaughtered here are being transported from other states.
In terms of meat production in India, Kerala has slipped to seventh spot from sixth. Kerala accounts for 6.6 per cent of total meat production in India while UP has consistently retained the top slot over the past five years, accounting for 20.2 per cent of the total meat production.
AHD director N N Sasi said that the statistics indicated a popular shift towards non-vegetarian food.
"Demand for meat has risen considerably over the past two years after reports about pesticide-sprayed vegetables emerged. There has also been a spurt in the number of non-vegetarian hotels for which the daily supply of meat has become essential," he said.
TheCattleSite News Desk
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