Meat lovers in Mumbai will have to do without their favourite beef burgers and steaks as President Pranab Mukherjee has signed a bill that bans cow slaughter in Maharashtra with restrictions on sale and possession of the meat.
The decision had been pending for almost two decades, says the state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. The Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill was originally passed in 1995 by the BJP-Shiv Sena government but has only come into effect now. Under the new law, anyone selling beef or in possession of it can be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs.10,000.
(Beef Pollutes More Than Pork, Poultry) The President's decision came after he met with a delegation of seven state BJP MPs, led by Kirit Somaiya, that submitted a memorandum seeking Mukherjee's assent for the bill. The memorandum prohibits the slaughter of bulls as well as bullocks. However, it permits the slaughter of water buffaloes, whose meat is generally seen as inferior in quality. But a majority of India's beef comes from buffaloes, which are not worshipped. "I am very happy that the President finally gave his assent. We have been trying hard from the last several years to get the bill passed into a law. It not only ensures that animals are not killed, but would also stabilize the agricultural situation. Prevention of the killing of animals will increase the productivity of farms. Even healthy animals were being killed for money, but it will stop now," Mungantiwar said.
Thanks a lot Hon President Sir for the assent on MaharashtraAnimalPreservationBill.Our dream of ban on cow slaughter becomes a reality now.— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) March 2, 2015
On the other hand, beef traders are disappointed with the decision as not only will it leave many jobless but it will also push up meat prices. India is the second-largest exporter of beef after brazil.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, India's beef exports rose to 1.95 million tonnes last year, 5 percent more than what it was in 2013. Traders have expressed concern regarding this ban saying that if it were to become nationwide it could threaten the lucrative business.
Here's how some celebrities, chefs and food critics reacted to the ban.
So now in Maharashtra you can have a beef with someone but you can't have beef with someone.
— Farhan Akhtar (@FarOutAkhtar) March 3, 2015
Congratulations Maharashtra: it is now safer to be a cow than a woman, Dalit or Muslim in the state.— RushdieExplainsIndia (@RushdieExplains) March 3, 2015
I wonder if the Maharashtra state govt has formulated a plan for what they'll do with all the retired cows (no pun intended). Next scam?— Manu Chandra (@chefchandra) March 3, 2015
I find a good piece of meat is important for my peace of mind...— RockyandMayur (@rockyandmayur) March 3, 2015
Dear Maharashtra Govt, such favouritism! You just lost the entire chicken and goat vote bank.— Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 3, 2015
They banned beef in Maharashtra because there was a political legacy at steak— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) March 3, 2015
With inputs from PTI