The ways of stopping them and some experiences
Part 1 – Why do we not want the business of meat production ?
The Govt. of Maharashtra and later the Govt. of Haryana brought about major changes in the existing cow-slaughter laws. Immediately there was a hue and cry on how this change will badly affect the meat-eaters ! However, this law was changed to fulfil the aspirations of Hindus and to respect their sentiments by ensuring a complete ban on cow-slaughter.
The excuses that the dissenters put forward are extremely naïve. Some of these excuses include ‘how would you provide food to these rescued cows?’ ‘where is the fodder in the state for these cows?’ ‘who is going to bear the expenses?’ ‘the carcass provides medicines, what will you do if slaughter stops?’ There are some ridiculous arguments put forward too. For example some dissenters compared the way the cattle being taken for slaughter with the packed train coaches that people travel in, and said that what about the people! Another argument is that the beef is cheap source of protein for the masses and preventing cow slaughter will deprive them of their nourishment !
This article is being written to help those passionately supporting the anti cow slaughter campaign to counter the arguments put forward by beef lovers.
Non vegetarianism is losing ground throughout the world, but increasing in India !
There are reasons behind this increase in meat-eating. There are many civilizations & religions which advocate meat. But in India, increase in non vegetarian diet is due to the change in the life-styles. As the people moved up the societal ladder, the living became sophisticated and so did the food consumption styles. People are tempted to try different types of food, including meat. And if the prices are lower, the demand also increases. In economics this is called “Giffen’s Paradox”. Because of this, all kinds of meat becomes accessible. Meat-eating becomes a lifestyle. And because of this, families in India which were traditionally vegetarians are now turning non-vegetarians. This has progressed to such an extent that those families which were occasional meat eaters (say on Sundays) are now consuming meat every day !
In foreign countries non-vegetarianism is not an exception, but is the rule. But now in countries like America, vegetarianism is making a comeback. But unfortunately in India vegetarians are becoming non-vegetarians.
Today the issue regarding protection of cows and its economic benefits is in its nascent stage in the entire subcontinent. Hence the cow slaughter is limited to the old cows procured from farmers and milk vendors. For regular slaughter hens and goats are domesticated. So ‘food reformists’ suggest that old cows that have no commercial value can be slaughtered.
When the non-vegetarianism increases in scale, the meat-providing industries, a chain of vendors etc. comes in existence. This leads to a great danger. In countries like America, Canada massive meat producing businesses and industries have come into existence. Animals are reared in huge numbers. Huge sheds are built for them. They are given special food and hormone treatments to make them grow faster and have higher quality meat. But this is not the case in India. We are a developing, agri based and primarily a vegetarian economy and therefore we have not much to do with these arguments which are fit for non-vegetarian economies of the world.
But studies have shown that such meat based lifestyles are harmful for the society, is a concern that is being raised all over the world.
We must remember however that the animal farming which is being done by Agri based economies is because of their farming necessities; there is no danger from Nature. Because here each farmer has as many bulls as he requires for farming. He keeps as many cows and bulls as he wants. He does not try to possess bigger and larger quantities of cows and bulls so that he could send them for slaughter. Therefore there exists no danger to agricultural economies, as we now mention below which are faced by other big Economies of the world :
What are the concerns being raised about unchecked animal rearing and slaughter ?
Destruction of Nature : The UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization has very important information on its web-site.
Global warning : Global warming has serious and immediate as well as long term effects for the Earth as well as the earth’s occupants. Global warming is responsible melting of Himalayas, cloudbursts, famines, landslides etc. One reason for this is the exhaust smoke from all fossil fuel burning engines. The other one is the gases that are let in the atmosphere by domesticated animals, which has increased the pollution over the years by almost 18% increase (as of 2006). This is dangerous. Such gases include Carbon Dioxide, Methane & Ammonia, all of which are potent greenhouse gases.
Large scale deforestation : To maintain the lives of the livestock, vast tracts of forests are required to be cut. Thus great amounts of land tracts are not available for farming. Where you could have produced grains and vegetables you have to produce grass for animals. It is found that all over the world 26% of the land is being used for producing grass to maintain the livestock.
In Latin America 70% of the land is being used for livestock and out of 30% remaining land much is being used for farming. The productivity of this land has now decreased. Besides, there is vast pollution because when the animals feed on grass, the amount of dust that goes up is dangerous for the health of the people and other living beings. The overall result is that you lose forests, you lose cultivable land, you get massive pollution; all for some meat that does not even feed may people.
Water pollution and scarcity : “PETA” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) says that ‘however best one may try to dispose off the animal wastes, it is beyond their capacity as this is very vast’. In USA the animal waste generated per second tops 89000 pounds (40000 kg or more) ! It is extremely expensive to dispose off such waste. Some percentage of this waste is absorbed by land and water. As a result the life in rivers, lakes, water-bodies, wells etc dies and what remains is just water. It affects the overall life be it fish or vegetation. Peter Chik, the Professor of Oregon University believes that this is a great assault on atmosphere or environment.
It is found by the researchers that in West Virginia and Maryland in USA the male fish species turn into females and this must be because of the pollution. In 2006 Britain’s ‘The Independent’ published that due to the waste that has flowed into the Mississippi river; the Gulf of Mexico, around 21000 kms belt of water has no life, and a Coral reef is dead. Also the 3000 km long Great Barrier Reef of Australia is also slowly dying exactly because of such pollution.
How much water does it require to produce vegetable and meat ?
Some examples :
|Meat (1kg)||Water ( in litres)|
The above example is self-explanatory.
Cheap Meat or Inflation ?
It is a great question why those who are drumming the benefits of individual freedom cannot see the economic aspects of the problem ! One claim is that meat is a cheap food. This is an extremely delusory and banal argument. What is the truth?
The greatest use of water is made for producing beef from Bulls and buffaloes. In USA each cow (to produce 1kg of Protein) consumes 75 to 300 kg of grass and other things, whereas in Africa a cow requires more than 500 kgs of food.
In order to stop the increased consumption of such grass, a special scheme was introduced in which instead of giving grass to animals for eating they were given grains for consumption. This produced good results for slaughter-houses. The need for grass was finished and slaughter houses became happy because the quality of meat remained the same.
But what about the consumption of grains that was needed to produce meat ? According to the University of Cornel in USA it found in its study that nearly 40% of grainstock is consumed to produce this meat; and as per studies of Food & Agriculture Dept. of UNO the World Preservation Foundation of England has produced the following very important information.
|Meat (1kg)||How much grain is required (kg)|
|Pork||4 to 5.5|
|Chicken||2.1 to 3 (minimum amount)|
Looking at this, will these meat lovers agree to propagate pork ? This question should be asked by Gorakshaks now. What will the people who take the side of fanatic Muslims have to say now ?
How much does 1 kg of meat give food to people and how much does 1 kg of grains give food to people? This question should be raised and evaluated by each and every thinking individual. Indeed grainstock is nourishing and more efficient in satisfying hunger – there is no doubt about it !
- Inspite of this, if the use of grains is not made for satisfying hunger but used for feeding the animals then the following results would occur.
- World-wide increase in cost of living and the reduction of supply of food-stock
- Disturbance in the balance of supplies of food-stock. Wherein you require food stock to feed people for e.g. rice, wheat etc; you produce food stock like that of corn which is needed by animals. This disturbs the balance of supplies in the market as despite having shortage of wheat stocks in the market, you have plenty of corn available in the market which is not needed. This spoils the balance of supply-demand in the market. Because there is no enough supply of food stocks, ways and means to produce more food stocks are tried e.g. Large amounts of fertilizers are used. This in turn leads to environmental pollution.
USA is a good example of how the business of meat affects the Economies of the world ! In USA the business of making “Ethanol” was on the rise. Instead of bringing or importing fuel from outside; America decided to make organic fuel in USA itself. This experiment succeeded. Corn, sugarcane etc. started to be used to make fuel. This experiment proved successful. The making of fuel from Corn started in a big way.
But what side-effects did this gave to the American economy ? In 2007 to make more and more fuel in America, vast amounts of corn was used. This resulted in the increase of milk prices because the corn was started to be used for feeding the live-stock. This led to the increase in prices of other food product. Besides this affected the global overall food supply as well.
American jungles once again were reverted to the making of corn. All over the world the attempt to make fuel from corn increases the overall cost. It strains the general economy. The experiment was stopped.
There is no alternative as yet in the world for petrol and diesel. Many countries of the world are dependent upon their import-export yet. Because of this the experiment of making alternative fuel from grains was dropped. But there being an alternative for meat are we going to use grains. Just for the sake of maintaining the taste of their tongues or for some others just for hurting their religious sentiments ? If this is allowed are we going to ignore the effects of price-rise and shortage of food grains ?
But it is not that, there is altogether everything is smooth in the slaughter business.
The way the animals are slaughtered is extremely cruel.
How do the protagonists of personal liberty who demonstrate because of curtailing their freedom and giving their approval and hidden support to the promiscuity agree to the violence to the humankind and others. It is not necessary to give examples here because everyone has experienced himself at some time.
According to “PETA” as soon as the cow gives birth to its calf, it is separated from its calf and the calf is either slaughtered immediately or reared separately from its mother. The mother cow however pines for its calf. Such is the routine of all the Cow-shelters.
It is a very serious issue for our country. This is because this is not a question of non-vegetarianism only, but a death knell for all of us as it touches our lives. The western countries are extremely rich and wealthy but they are not happy in their living. Free for all living, violence, drunkenness, drug abuse, extreme despondency and fractured families and many other such negative aspects are fraught in their lives. Do we want to go their way ? Before the lifestyle was such that when you got a holiday the family went to the temples. Now there are parties of drinks and non-vegetarian food served at such times. Slowly this becomes the norm. We get habituated to drinks and non-vegetarianism. The meat eating is not a necessity however but we get accustomed to it.
Dissenters cry foul that a particular (Muslim) community has remained undernourished because of the lack of availability of cheap meat, only food that they can afford. It must be noted that the undernourishment and poverty are not due to lack of meat! They do not find the necessity of mixing with the rest of the society and also do not want to get educated. They find it precious to possess a Maulana degree (which limits to the education of Koran only). They feel the education of Koran is enough. They do not want to be Doctors or Engineers by getting these ‘secular’ degrees. It is not that India has thrust poverty in their lives. This poverty is voluntarily accepted by them, this we must say. They want to live in their own cocoons and ghettoes. Should we allow them to remain in their opted ghettoes and sacrifice the progress of the Nation. The answer to this of an Nation-loving citizen is No, an emphatic No, however harsh or non-palatable it may be found.
It is being asked that because of this they would lose their lively-hoods and where would the meat vendors, people working in slaughter houses and so on would go ? The question is that the economy of a Nation or its business enterprise is never static. It is ever dynamic and flowing. It was thought and believed that because of computers many people would lose their jobs and remain idle. But a country like India turned this thought on its head and proved itself to be one of the most efficient users of the computer in the world. Those that are in the field of slaughter business are not any skilled or indispensable workers in a Nation. It is not that their skills are earned after years of toil and study. Such labourers can get a job elsewhere too. In fact they will be employed in positions far more important that their present occupations.
Doubts are raised on how the cattle can be fed, who will take care of the old and infirm cattle etc. The politicians will simply ask the people not to worry about it. Not because they (the politicians) have a solution, but because they are least bothered about it! There are efforts to increase employment through popularisation of Gavya chikitsa, optimal use of Goumutra and cowdung. This will not be a huge issue in India, which is an agri based society. It would be incorrect to suggest that you need to kill and eat the cattle because you cannot feed them ! In economics, that would be akin to dipping into your main capital because you do not have a working capital. No economist will sanction this. Then wouldn’t it be a fallacy to impose such ideas on Indians?
Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, President, Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad