Indian Buffalo Meat Facts VII

Indian Buffalo Meat Facts VII

Various agencies of the Government of India not only subsidize, recognize, handhold and guide the buffalo slaughterhouses, but also engage in intense commercial diplomacy to promote Indian buffalo meat.

A recent example of such diplomacy is the vigorous lobbying undertaken by the Government of India to make China agree to buy buffalo meat from India. Large quantities of buffalo meat bought by Vietnam, it seems, are partly destined for China. According to a high officer of the Commerce Ministry quoted in a recent report:* **

“Making China agree for direct import of bovine meat from India has been a top priority for Indian Government since Narendra Modi government took over in May 2014. … We have been lobbying hard to make China agree on importing buffalo meat directly from India. Chinese traders were using Vietnam for channelling their meat trade and Vietnam’s buffalo meat import has gone up more than its consumption.”

Such lobbying, it seems, has been undertaken at the highest level. There are reports suggesting that the issue gained traction after Prime Minister Modi’s visit to China in May 2015 and the Chinese have now, in January 2017, agreed to source buffalo meat from 14 abattoirs that they have inspected.

It is ironic that while the Government of India on the political side discourages slaughter and trade of bovine animals, on the bureaucratic side, it continues to make intense exertions to promote production and export of bovine meat. Bureaucracies, it seems, have a life of their own and do not get swayed from their direction even when the political climate changes.

It is even more ironic that the ministries that are engaged in this effort of promoting slaughter and export of meat are headed by three women, one of whom is a firebrand Sadhvi and another is among the brightest products of the Hindu resurgence movement.

Bureaucracies, it seems, have the ability to bend their political masters and make them do things that go against the grain of their training and conviction.

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