Photos: Inside a Legal UP Slaughterhouse That Has Ground to a Halt
The government said that licensed slaughterhouses wouldn’t be targeted, but that’s not the reality on the ground.
Panic spread in slaughterhouses across Uttar Pradesh days after Yogi Adityanath took charge as the Chief Minister. This time it wasn’t the buffaloes but the owners who were scared. They were scared for their business and livelihood.
Over a dozen slaughterhouses were shut and several meat shops were closed in various parts of the state within two days of the order to crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses being issued.
The state government had assured that licensed slaughterhouses will not be targeted, but the ground reality is that even the legal slaughterhouses are not functioning out of fear and a lack of livestock supply.
The Quint visited one such slaughterhouse in Sambhal, a place in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh. The slaughterhouse is Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)-approved, but for the last four days, they had not received enough livestock to function.
MD of Al-Falah Frozen Foods, Haji Shakil Ahmad, seemed tense while talking to us. He made us meet his suppliers. One of the people who brought buffaloes to the company was attacked recently, and the attackers took the buffaloes away. Since then, he hasn’t risked taking another trip.
He took us to his factory where we see 40-50 buffaloes in the shed. The company has permission to slaughter 150 buffaloes a day and that is the number of the buffaloes it needs to slaughter in order to meet its expenses. He has been receiving 2-3 buffaloes, and is now waiting for the number to reach 150 in order to start functioning again.
The moment we entered the place, there was a strong smell, probably of meat. The company hadn’t functioned in four days and all the equipment was clean.
- 01/03The entirely mechanical slaughterhouse stands still. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
- 02/03The company hadn’t functioned in four days and all the equipment were clean. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
- 03/03The chains bind no buffaloes now. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
The crackdown on illegal slaughterhouses and the ripple effect it has created has disrupted the entire supply chain of buffalo meat.
In 2016, India exported 13,14,158.05 metric tonnes of buffalo meat worth Rs 26,681.56 crore to the world. The major destinations for its exports are Muslim-majority countries such as Malaysia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The supply to these countries and revenue earned by that has come to a halt after the crackdown.
India’s meat industry employs about 22 million people, including more than 15 million people in Uttar Pradesh. This particular company employs hundreds of people who work in different departments. The workers include both men and women. While the men monitor the slaughter and equipments, the women are in charge of packing the meat and storing them in the ice chambers.
As the company comes to a standstill, the workers are also worried. Only a few are aware of the reason the company hasn’t functioned in the last four days. The rest of them are just worried that with each passing day, they will be further short of money and won’t be able to buy basics, like groceries.
The Quint’s Neeraj Gupta spoke to one such worker and his family. Latif, who hails from Malda district of West Bengal, has been in the this industry all through his life. He came to Uttar Pradesh roughly 10 years ago and has been working in this company ever since.
Latif and his wife have two children and his mother and niece also stay with them. Six members of the family stay in the 10 ft x 10 ft room. Latif has a faint idea about Yogi Adityanath’s order but his family has no clue. They just hope that Latif goes back to work as soon as possible.
- 01/03Kaluni Bibi, Latif’s mother awaits his son to get back his job. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
- 02/03(Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
- 03/03Hashi (R) , Latif’s daughter does not go to school. She and her brother will go to school, once he manages to get the money, he said. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
The story doesn’t end there. It is not just the people working in the meat processing industry who are affected. A lesser known fact about the industry is that the buffaloes’ bones and horns too are used to make various kinds of handicraft items. The horns, for example, are used to make buttons.
Industries like leather, poultry feed made out of crushed bones, and handicrafts made out of buffalo bones, will also suffer immensely, for thousands of people are employed in these sectors.
- 01/03Industries like leather, poultry feed made out of crushed bones and handicrafts made out of buffalo bones also suffer. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
- 02/03Workers collect horns from the factory to the handicraft making place. (Photo: Abhilash Mallick/The Quint)
- 03/03Jewellery made out of buffalo bones. (Photo: Neeraj Gupta/The Quint)
The ban could lead to a huge deficit in terms of revenue from exports and leave a lot of people without work. Due to the clampdown, non-vegetarian food outlets in Lucknow, including the famous Tunday Kebabs and Rahim's, have switched to mutton and chicken dishes due to the scarcity of buffalo meat.
The BJP had promised to put an end to the illegal slaughterhouses but the problems even law-abiding citizens face goes against its “Sabka Sath, Sabka Vikas” agenda.
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