The latest clampdown on slaughter houses is an important development. Such clampdowns probe into what stands we make we as a consumer. It also gives us time to look at our rights as a consumer.
Have a look at some stats and observation here.
Nearly 60 percent of India is non-vegetarian.
Half of the Uttar Pradesh is non-vegetarian.
Uttar Pradesh is the biggest Exporter of Beef (Buffalo meat) in India.
India is number 1 exporter of beef in the World.
The BJP led Modi Government increased the number of slaughter house licences to beef up the exports.
Some states in India, who obviously are predominantly Hindu, are non-vegetarian in access of 50 percent. The top states among the list are majorly non-vegetarian. That 9 out of every 10 people eat meat.
Most of us use Leather products. We wear leather footwear at least.
Most of us consume sugar, refined by activated carbon or bone char.
All the above were the consumption side of food and basic needs consumption.
Now ask yourself these questions:
How many among us slaughter an animal to eat meat?
How many among us create leather to create leather goods?
How many among us manufacture sugar to sweeten our lives?
The answer is Obvious: Very few among us.
Forget illegal slaughter houses, supporting such crackdowns when we fall on the consumption side of such crackdowns leaves much about us as well!
From the past few days, the new Government in Uttar Pradesh has initiated a crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses in Uttar Pradesh. What are these illegal slaughter houses? Those who were operating without licenses. Yesterday it started in Uttarakhand as well.
A crackdown on illegal slaughter houses is welcome. By the way, why stop at slaughterhouses alone, why not crackdown on every shop set up illegally.
But going after every shop will be a way too much, right! They’re a vocation for many. The earnings made through these shops and kiosks feed the shop owner’s families. Most of these shops are set up by common folks.
But so are the illegally set up slaughter houses.
You will not find a billionaire sitting at these shops and slaughter houses. If there had been one, like the ones TRAI (Telecom Authority of India) is reporting against from the past one year, then crackdown would have been a far cry.
When was the last time, you purchased meat from a legal slaughter house?
When was the last time, you called a licensee to deskin your dead cattle?
The problem with our thinking is that we rarely introspect. That’s why many among us take stands even for those things which exist only because we choose to consume them. If half of the population will be non-vegetarian, then it’s obvious for slaughter houses and kiosks to exist. If almost hundred percent of people use leather goods then someone will have to deskin, tan and create leather. Someone has to convert the leather into useful products. If you consume food products which use some agent during its manufacturing process, then someone has to do the work to provide that animal product. But some how we take stands against all these people who fulfill our consumption needs.
One of the easiest things for any person is to say: I support such a crackdown, far difficult to question it. Why? As questioning it means looking at where one stands on the consumption side.
If 50 or 60 percent of the population is non-vegetarian, then the first thing which must come to mind is: From where, will I get my food?
If cattle are essentially linked to leather in India, then any crackdown on leather processing units, must instill a concern: From where will I get my leather footwear?
Such a thinking is not very different from supporting a Hydro-power or nuclear power project due to power concerns.
What would have been the ideal way to deal with illegal slaughter houses? By giving them the standards that need to be fulfilled first. After a definite period inspection must be done, and those fulfilling the criteria must be given licenses.
In a democratic country it’s not difficult to renew licenses first and then go for fault finding. If Government’s are run for people, by the people, then this must not be a difficult task.
To conclude, 30 percent of people consume liquor, 60 percent consume meat, nearly 100 percent use leather in some form. Nearly 100 percent consume products which use animal products in manufacturing, refining or flavoring purposes. That’s why it’s a question of right to access; and a question of morality as well.
From your consumption pattern, you decide where you stand on such crackdowns!
It’s essential to do so.