India Buffalo Meat Facts II                                                                     


Of around 40 lakh tons of buffalo meat produced in India about a half comes from what are referred to as municipal slaughterhouses and goes towards mainly domestic consumption. The number of such slaughterhouses is not easily available. In a recent response to an RTI application, the Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairy and Fisheries gave the number of registered slaughterhouses in the country to be 1,624. It is generally believed that there are tens of thousands of unregistered slaughterhouses.


The other half of the buffalo meat is produced in mechanical slaughterhouses that are approved by the APEDA and almost all of this production is exported. There are 79 APEDA approved abattoirs in the country. Of these, 5 are approved for the slaughter of only Sheep and Goat.


Of the 74 abattoirs approved for the slaughter of buffaloes, 42 are in Uttar Pradesh, nearly all of them in western UP. There are 13 such slaughterhouses in Maharashtra, 5 in Punjab, 5 in Telangana, 3 in Andhra Pradesh and one each in Haryana (Mewat), West Bengal (Kolkata) and Nagaland (Dimapur).


Uttar Pradesh thus has emerged as the hub of production and export of buffalo meat. The State has the largest buffalo population in the country. According to Livestock Census 2012, there were 2.93 crore (293 million) buffaloes in UP. But buffaloes from neighboring Rajasthan, which has a buffalo population of 1.26 crore (126 million), and some other States also probably end up in the slaughterhouses of UP.


Punjab with a buffalo population of 49 lakhs in 2012 has developed a slaughter hub of its own in Dera Bassi near Chandigarh. All the five slaughterhouses in Punjab are located in the non-descript small town of Dera Bassi.


The media often reports that there are many Hindus in the business of buffalo slaughter. Of 74 slaughterhouses approved for buffalo slaughter by APEDA, 66 are licensed to persons with Muslim names, 7 carry Hindu names and 1 appears to be a Christian.


There seems to have been considerable consolidation in this business. As many as 13 of the slaughterhouses spread across the country are in the name of Afzal Latif and his several companies. There are many others owning more than one slaughterhouse.


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