The Kerala Cattle Merchants Association has decided to keep all beef shops shut starting Thursday as a protest against those who attack trucks transporting slaughter animals.
The association has been protesting since the last two weeks against attacks on cattle-led trucks in Tamil Nadu. Since Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu is the entry point for the state of Kerala, many of these trucks are diverted there by attackers. Beef has already almost disappeared from Kerala’s menu following the attacks.
Kerala agriculture minister KP Mohanan says he has taken up the issue with the animal husbandry department of Tamil Nadu.
“The Tamil Nadu government agencies have no role in preventing the movement of cattle trucks to Kerala. Certain elements have taken the law into their own hands. We are awaiting a reply from the Tamil Nadu government,” the minister said.
Slaughter houses across Kerala are now facing a shortage of animals. Traders have increased the price of beef from Rs 250 per kg to Rs 300 per kg due to the scarcity. Hotels are refusing to supply beef due to the shortage of meat supply.
President of the cattle merchants association, K H Kamaludhin says merchants have lost at least 14 trucks carrying slaughter animals because of the attacks. He says each consignment costed about Rs 5.5 lakh.
“Since our plea to ensure protection for safe transport of cattle was not addressed by the Tamil Nadu government, the merchants decided to go on an indefinite strike,” Kamaludhin said.
Official statistics reveal Kerala requires 2,500 MT of animals every day to meet the state’s beef demand.
About 90 MT of that demand is met through other states.
Also, despite holy attachments, India remain’s the largest beef exporter in the world to date.