Cows and their offspring on the long forced march from auction in Tamil Nadu to slaughter in Kerala...
...collapse on the way, are beaten and have hot chili peppers rubbed into their eyes to make them get up. If they don't, they are piled into trucks...
INDIA’S HOLY COW: THE SACRED AND
THE SUFFERING UPDATED.
BY Dr. Michael W. Fox
In October 2011 the USDA forecast that Australia and Brazil would remain the largest exporters of beef in 2012 with exports of 1.38m tonnes each, followed by India at 1.28m tonnes and the US with 1.25mt. But now, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s international marketing forecasts and India’s own Financial Express (April 8th, 2012) India is poised to become the world’s largest beef exporter by 2013. Factors other than price would also help to expand Indian buffalo meat exports, particularly to North Africa and the Middle East.
Meat is slaughtered following Halal standards and the lean character of buffalo meat has several positive blending characteristics sought by processors, the USDA reported. But when I observed buffalo slaughter in a large facility in India these standards were in question and were pointed out to me by the concerned Indian veterinarian who accompanied me. The prone animals were having their throats hacked while they struggled.
India has a herd of 185m buffalo. Ample supplies and relative weak domestic demand mean that it relies on export markets to absorb increased production for the valued buffalo milk.
The rising demand for low-cost Indian buffalo meat by ‘price sensitive’ importers such as Vietnam, Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia resulted in some 1.52 million tones of buffalo meat being exported in 2012. Further market expansion may be limited by trade restrictions being placed on India because of Foot & Mouth Disease. The export of meat and other foods from India where millions are malnourished is an inescapable irony. Raising buffalo calves for this new export market may soon be challenged by an informed and concerned public raising questions about how these surplus buffalo calves can ever be fed and watered sustainably in a country where land, feed and water are in ever shorter supply. Also what safeguards if any are in place to prevent the mingling of this meat from buffaloes with the meat from illegally slaughtered calves and bullocks from dairy cows? The buffalo beef market is another tempting opportunity for the cattle mafia of India.