Protest against India's 10th Five-Year Plan
- Prime Minister of India, Agriculture Minister of India
July 23, 2002
The Government of India is currently formulating the country's 10th Five-Year Development Plan, for the period 2002-2007. Expert committees in the various areas of development formulate the nation's policies for those areas. One area of planning is the Meat Sector, under the Ministry of Agriculture. The report of the Meat Sector has made us sit up. From cover to cover it talks of nothing but the need for India to produce, consume, and export more meat of more (number and type of) animals. More killing, more non-vegetarianism, more slaughterhouses. If implemented, it would turn India into one mass butcher house.
We also find that the Committee advising the Planning Commission in this sector consists of *people running meat industries themselves*, thus having vested interests instead of an impartial and disinterested advisory panel. Can anything more ridiculous be imagined? Irfaan Allana and Satish Sabharwal - owners of the Allana group and Hyderabad-based Al-Kabeer Exports Limited, the country's *largest meat-producing and meat-exporting empires* -lead the advisory committee of the Meat Sector!
The cultural and economic impoverishment of India from adopting their recommendations.
To prevent passage of these proposals.
We at Beauty Without Cruelty have decided that we would not allow the Plan to be passed in its current form and have therefore taken up this campaign to scuttle the proposed policies. This will mean appealing to authorities at the highest level and has therefore a very uncertain outcome. However, if not objected to, it would naturally pass. And then we would repent not having put up a fight at the time the policies were being drafted. Hence this campaign and the appeal to you to participate and help.
Our request to you:
Learn more about this matter by reading the rest of this petition, and if you agree with our arguments, please come to the aid of India's animals who are otherwise being slated for the butchers' knives. Besides signing this petition which we would (electronically) submit to the PM on the due date, please also *write a personal email (for which click here) or a handwritten/signed letter on paper to the PM* asking him not to accept the Advisory Committee's recommendations, providing your own brief enlightened reasoning. Your letter need not be more than a few clear lines expressing your opinion and you may of course freely use the contents of this document to base your letter on.
I A glimpse of the Plan's proposals:
- setting up of more and more slaughterhouses
- removal of ban on beef export
- removing restrictions on buffalo slaughter
- reducing the valid age for slaughtering bulls
- setting up rural slaughterhouses
- setting up a Meat Board
To see the new ways of industrialised animal husbandry that the proposals ask us to accept, the reader is asked to cast a glance at the photograph on top: that of a buffalo being manhandled into position-much against its wishes, naturally-for being beheaded at a private, mechanised slaughterhouse in Satara. Aesthetic indeed! Very comfortable. Not cruel. Just the way to use the cow for our sagging economy. And what great nutrition compared to fresh fruit and vegetables. The harmless buffalo-that lumbers down the road, yielding litres of milk with which we feed our children-struggles to save its life from its many captors who want to somehow cast it on the table to take its life in cold blood. This is what the proposed Plan asks for more of.
II Our Objections:
1 Composition of the advisory panel of the Planning Commission: Instead of an impartial and disinterested advisory panel, the panel advising the Planning Commission in this sector contains Shri Allana and Shri Satish Sabharwal: people running corporate empires in meat production and export themselves! Shri Allana owns the Allana group, while Shri Sabharwal runs Al-Kabeer, India's largest meat export houses! We cannot have vested interests like these formulating national policy.
2 Consequences of accepting the Plan's proposals: details below
III Consequences of accepting the Plan's proposals
a) Cultural/spiritual Impoverishment of India:
- Disappearance of the respect that we accord to all life, due to the view of living creatures as mere commodities for human use as has already happened with the hens as a result of the poultry industry.
- Desensitisation of our citizens to suffering of others, including humans.
- Discontent among vast majority of Indians towards blatant disregard by Government of the fate of the animal most holy to them.
b) Nutritional misguidance:
- Replacement of healthy dietary habits with the fat-rich, unhealthy, disease-causing habit of non-vegetarian eating. Consequent increase in health costs.
c) Environmental dangers:
- Living animals -> Organic fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals : environmentally beneficial.
- Killed cattle -> dependence on poisonous fertilisers, pesticides, pharmaceuticals from chemical sources : environmentally harmful.
d) Quality of life of citizens
- Increase in the number of butcher shops in our neighbourhoods, in the spectacle of carcasses hanging from hooks on the roadside, in the unbearable sights and sounds and noxious smells of slaughter, in the sad sight of pathetic captivity, transport, and cruel manhandling on the roadside and countryside.
- A vast increase in non-vegetarian hotels all over the country because of the increased supply of meat. With it the often-accompanying evils of pubs and permit rooms.
e) Economic Impoverishment of rural India:
Wholesale killing of animals will reduce the free source of fuel, fertilizer, food, medicine, bio gas, pesticide.
Living animals are one of the pillars on which the rural economy stands. These are to be killed in the name of "pragmatism?" Killing them means killing the people that depend on cattle being *alive*.
Living cattle are the inexpensive or *free* providers of
- food (milk),
- fuel (dung cakes, bio-gas),
- fertiliser (urine, dung),
- pesticide (urine),
- energy (draught power for carrying loads, tilling soil),
- pharma products from urine, milk.
Except milk and draught power, they provide these to their *dying day*.
Killed cattle: our needs to be met by expensive options like kerosene fuel, chemical fertilisers, chemical pesticides, petrol-driven tractors, and lab-synthesised medicines.
What is the logic in killing the source of free food, fuel, fertiliser, insecticide, draught energy, pharma products? Does anyone destroy the very source of their wealth?!
f) International Image of India:
- The loss of our unique identity and our proud place in world culture, as the birthplace of ahimsa. Condemnation to repeat the mistakes of the West and to subsequently rediscover our own virtues through the West.
- The ignominy of having scorn heaped on us for our own treatment of our holiest animal: butchering, exporting, and profiting from the sale of its body parts.
- India is a nation of farmers, not butchers. We fill our stomachs by tilling the soil, not by beheading animals.
IV Our expectations of the Government:
- To check the rampant spread of slaughter activity (butchery, transport, captivity) on every street corner and countryside.
- To recognise the social harm of violence-based occupations like meat production. The occupation of butchery forces a person to quell mercy, to harden his heart. Work of this nature often results in a reduced sensitivity to suffering even of humans. In the interests, therefore, of investing in the creation of populace that is less prone to violence, the Government should discourage rather than encourage activities like meat production that involve violence, and encourage all habits (like vegetarianism) that promote peaceability in a person.
- To not artificially create demand for meat through policies of encouragement of meat industries.
- To plan economic progress not merely from more employment in just any occupation but from employment in the Right Occupation. We Indians excel in many industrial occupations, both physical (engineering) and intellectual (e.g., Information Technology). There is no reason to involve ourselves in occupations like meat production that involve the sacrifice of kindness, mercy, compassion. Our policies should promote and not suppress these qualities in our citizens.
- That it gives the country policies in keeping with our spiritual heritage. Today countries like USA, UK have banned activities like cockfighting, fur-farming, respectively, on ethical grounds! How much more fitting for India to enact laws and policies that promote the teachings of ahimsa.
V Our version of the Meat Sector's Plan:
What we would like to see in the country's meat policy:
- A 'Butcher-rehabilitation' scheme for butchers who want themselves and their children to leave the occupation permanently.
- A National Cattle Insurance scheme to look at cattle during the summer months when the drought conditions force the farmer to sell his cattle.
- No new slaughterhouses, large or small, rural or urban, buffalo or hen.
- All unlicensed slaughter operations to be closed down. No butcher shops without license.
- Existing slaughterhouses to work under strict monitoring by Animal Welfare Officers. Rigorous implementation of numerical restrictions on killing.
- Pre-slaughter medical inspection of animal be done in presence of Animal Welfare Officers far away from the slaughterhouse, in absence of butchers to prevent either intimidation of veterinary doctors by butchers or corruption on the part of vets.
- Scrapping of licenses of slaughterhouses found employing children. Brutalisation of children's minds not to go on.
- No Government encouragement to any meat production. Let meat business survive on its own strength...why should citizens' taxes support it?
- Complete halt of all meat export. Why must we fulfil the demand for meat of those abroad? Let them get their meat from elsewhere.
- Complete halt of all meat import. Meat is discouraged nutritionally and medically. There is no need to import more of it.
- No slaughter in rural areas. These lack fresh fruits and vegetables, not meat and eggs.
- Go-vansh (cow-progeny) slaughter to be banned. Cow, bulls, bullocks, calves, buffalo are all too valuable alive for us to afford losing them by actively killing them ourselves.
OUR APPEAL TO YOU:
Please sign this petition and forward it to as many people as you can. If we don't act fast and voice our protests, the Planning Commission's proposals will be accepted by the Cabinet and will become the country's official policy. Neither the courts nor the police would come to our aid then.
Dear Prime Minister,
We, the undersigned, request you to preserve India's cultural and spiritual heritage and not to accept the proposals made under the Meat Sector of 10th Five Year Plan of India which consist of the following:
- Removal of ban on beef export
- Lowering the age for slaughtering bulls
- Removing restrictions on buffalo slaughter
- Introducing slaughter activity into rural areas
The Protest against India's 10th Five-Year Plan petition to Prime Minister of India, Agriculture Minister of India was written by Beauty Without Cruelty and is in the category Animal Rights at GoPetition.