Government says only illegal abattoirs banned, UP meat sellers shut shops

After coming to power, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered closure of illegal slaughterhouses and strict enforcement of the ban on cow smuggling to fulfil a key electoral promise.

On the other hand, In Lucknow, most of the meat shops had downed their shutters and meat is not easily available. Uttar Pradesh's government earns more than 110 billion rupees ($1.7 billion) a year from the industry.

Uttar Pradesh cabinet minister Siddharth Nath Singh on Monday had asserted that the state government will only act against slaughterhouses that are illegal.

Traders said the shortage of supply will not affect Delhi till after the Navratra though marginal increase in mutton prices has been reported in some areas.

11 meat shops have been shut in Raipur, capital of Chhattisgarh.

It is still unclear how long the crackdown will last and whether it will have a sustained impact on Indian buffalo meat exports, but media reports suggest the move is seriously disrupting illegal and legal slaughter house operations this week. However, licenced shops were allowed to sell meat in Allahabad and Bahraich.

Adityanath, a five-time MP and head priest of Gorakhnath Mutt, said he was a "fakir" (hermit) who lived on alms, but the people of the state had given him the whole state. "So we are treading the path with utmost caution", Majid said.

Earlier, Iqbal Qureshi, president of Uttar Pradesh Meet-Murga Vyapari Kalyan Samiti had said they would continue the strike, "We will continue our strike, as the actions which have been taken are arbitrary".

Manish Tewari, opposition Congress party member and spokesman said slaughterhouse owners must seek legal recourse. "We are forced to sell kababs made of chicken and mutton".

Akhlaq, who is also the chairman and MD of Al-Saqib Meat Exporters, said this was caused by overzealous officials eager to please the ruling party.

The crackdown has even hit the carnivores in the state's zoos, Al-Jazeera is reporting.

Zoos in Lucknow and the neighboring city of Kanpur have sent an urgent message to the state government saying the lions aren't keen on eating goat meat.

The government has received similar complaints from a lion safari park in Etawah that is home to three grown lions and two cubs.

  • Jon Douglas