Bengaluru: Karnataka’s law against cow slaughter has drastically reduced the earnings of beef traders. Some have shut their businesses because they have not earned any money after the law was enacted.
Owing to recurring losses, the number of beef shops in Shivajinagar has declined to 18 from 56.
Khasim Najeeb, a beef trader at Saqib Beef Stores, Shivajinagar, informed The Observer: “Earlier, due to a good demand for beef, I had employed 4-5 people to deliver orders and manage my business. But, now due to decreased orders and a fall in income by 90%, it is difficult to meet daily expenses.”
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Mohammed Zaid, another beef trader, said: “After the anti-cow slaughter law, my income has declined by 90%. Beef sales have reduced to 30 kg from 100 kg a day. Beef price has increased to Rs 300 a kg from Rs 240.” These factors have made sustaining the business a challenging task.
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Under the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2021, the government is supposed to open “gaushalas” that will be registered with the department of animal husbandry.
Dr Thippuswamy, additional director, animal husbandry and veterinary services, said: “At present, there are 159 gaushalas across the state that are owned and managed by private organizations or NGOs. There are no government-owned gaushalas. But the government is planning to build cow shelter houses soon.”
Since 1964, the slaughter of cows, calves and female buffaloes was banned under the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation of Animals Act. The 2021 law, piloted by the BJP government, bans the slaughter of cows, calves of cows, bulls, bullocks, and male and female buffaloes below the age of 13 years.
Dr. Suresh S., assistant director, of the Tannery Road slaughterhouse, said: “The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill has led to a decline in the slaughter of animals from at least 90 animals to less than 25 animals per day.”
Cara beef (buffalo meat) is not in demand in Karnataka as it is in Kerala, leading to traders facing hardship he added.
Few restaurants remained closed as a sign of protest against the law. The restaurants have recurring losses, even after resuming operations, due to low demand.
Jigar Khan, owner of the Shahi Beef Kabab Centre, said: “We haven’t earned a profit for the past three months. After the introduction of the Bill, the restaurant was closed for 1.5 months. After reopening, we are facing a financial crisis. Our sales have declined from 18 kg to less than 10 kg a day, resulting in losses.”
Sanganatha G.R., a police inspector, said: “No case of illegal cow slaughter has been registered this year.”
According to the law, cow slaughter is a cognizable offense. Violators can be sentenced to an imprisonment of three to seven years and a penalty of Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh, depending on the offence.