Even as an anti-cattle slaughter sentiment gains strength in many parts of the country, Kerala has topped the list of states engaged in cattle slaughter.
According to Times of India, Kerala has topped the list of states engaged in cattle slaughter for the year 2015-2016. An integrated sample survey conducted by the ministry of animal husbandry revealed that 11.7 lakh adult cattle and 69,170 young cattle were slaughtered in Kerala in 2015-16.
Bihar, which has also held the top position in the recent past, was pushed to the second spot. Four lakh adult cattle and two lakh young cattle were slaughtered in the state between 2015-2016.
According to the report, cattle slaughter in Kerala has tripled since 2009, when four lakh cattle were slaughtered.
Official, Animal Husbandry DepartmentA major share of Kerala’s population comprises meat eaters. Unlike other states, where cattle slaughter has dropped over the years, Kerala is free from any kind of taboo associated with consumption of cattle meat. There is a steady inflow of unproductive cows from neighbouring states like Tami Nadu and Karnataka to Kerala
The report also states that though the cattle slaughter figures have increased over the years, it does not necessarily mean that the production of livestock in the state is also on the rise. Most of the cattle being slaughtered in Kerala come from other states, the report says.
While Kerala's place in terms of meat production in the country has slipped from sixth position to the seventh, animal husbandry department director NN Sasi was quoted as saying that there is a shift to consuming more non-vegetarian food, especially in the wake of pesticide-induced vegetables coming into the market.
In 2011, Kerala emerged as the highest consumer of meat. According to a report published by The Hindu, the daily requirement had touched 5,000 tonnes. On the eating habits of the people in the state, the then animal husbandry department director R Vijayakumar had commented that 80 percent of the population was non-vegetarian.
Kerala was at fourth position in buffalo meat production, during the year 2013-2014, preceded by Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab.
According to government data, the total production of buffalo meat in Kerala was 93.41 thousand tonnes (8 percent of total buffalo meat production in India) during 2013-14.
A study conducted by Journal of Dairy, Veterinary & Animal Research in 2016 sheds light on the eat production pattern over the past two decades. According to the data, 35,324 thousand metric tonnes of meat was produced in 1995-1996. While this figure almost doubled in 2005-2006 with the state producing 55,923 thousand metric tonne of meat, the figures stood at 2,41,956.64 thousand in 2011-2012.
According to the study, Kerala is among the Indian states with the highest rates of meat consumption. Around 70 percent of the human population is reportedly highly inclined to non-vegetarian food items, especially during festivals. The increase in meat production between 1995 to 2012 is attributed to this fact.
(This article was first published in The News Minute)