As Gujarat's Muslim ghetto plans to build cow shelter, ban on slaughter houses might spell doom for dairy industry

Just days after the Gujarat government amended the state anti-cow slaughter law to make cow slaughter punishable with life imprisonment, Hindustan Times reported that the state's largest Muslim ghetto of Juhapura has proposed to set-up a modern bovine shelter.

In the run up to the 2017 Assembly elections, Juhapura, which lies in the western part of Ahmedabad, has seen mohalla meetings against cow slaughter as part of birth anniversary celebrations of Hazrat Ali, a historic figure in Islamic history, the report noted.

“We have written to the animal husbandry department about setting up a gaushala (cow shelter). Soon, our delegation will meet chief minister Vijay Rupani. Hopefully, we will be able to set up a shelter by the end of this year,” Anwar Shiekh of the Muhibban-E-Ahlul Bait Foundation was quoted by the publication as saying.

Community leaders in the ghetto also distanced Islam from cow slaughter, suggesting that the community believes in preserving the animal holy to crores of Hindus.

The latest development comes at the time when cow vigilantism is visibly on the rise across the country.

Representational image. Reuters

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had condemned violence by cow protection groups, saying it "defames" the cause.

Nevertheless, he made it clear on Sunday that the Hindutva organisation wants a law banning cow slaughter across India.

However, Bhagwat's call for a nationwide ban on cow slaughter coupled with the rise in violent attacks over this senstive issue can have grave economic implications, especially on the dairy market.

According to an op-ed in The Times of India, a likely ban on cow slaughter can erase the cow population over the years.

The report further added that the government's focus on protecting cows from being slaughtered will discourage farmers from owning cows, which are generally known to have short span of productivity, ranging three to ten years. However, cows tend to live for at least 20-25 years. The remaining unproductive period in the lives of cows will encourage farmers to largely shift to buffalo-rearing in the future. This, the op-ed argued, might spell doom for the cow population.

Noting that a ban will affect the economics of the dairy industry, the op-ed said, "If the milk producer cannot get rid of an unproductive cow, she will have to feed it for the rest of her life. Since the unproductive cows will be as many as productive ones, the amount and cost of feed will double."

The rise in the number of unproductive cows will invariably lead to rise in the cost of milk and a marked fall in competition in the dairy market, the op-ed said.

While the law only bans slaughter of cows, there are no such curbs on buffaloes. According to The Indian Express report, this loophole in the law helps farmers prefer rearing buffaloes over cows as the latter's meat can be sold and exported too.

The fact that Buffalo milk fetches higher price than cow milk has also encouraged farmers to shun cow rearing, the report added.

The higher milk yield from buffaloes is also encouraging farmers to move to buffalo-rearing, a report in Mint said.

A Mint report quoted a farmer Uday Ram as saying that indigenous variety of cows yield only three to six litres of milk every day milk while buffaloes yield over 10 litres a day.

Ram too added that the advantage of selling unproductive buffaloes to slaughterhouses encouraged him to stay with buffaloes.


With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Apr 12, 2017 14:44:22 IST

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