Letters

 
Last Updated: Friday 10 July 2015

Slaughter defined as 'farming'

Of late, the media has been hollering about the cruelties perpetrated on animals and the conditions of slaughterhouses in the country. However, there is much more to the matter than meets the eye. Barring exceptions such as Maneka Gandhi and other likeminded animal rights activists, campaigns such as these are used by the meat industry as a justification to set up larger, more modern and mechanised slaughterhouses.

There are other links in this insidious chain: the agriculture ministry and the Planning Commission have mega-plans to encourage animal slaughter-based activities. Plans are afoot to establish rural abattoirs and multinationals like MacDonalds are being invited to create a chain of restaurants dishing up mutton/beef products.

In this context, we need to raise some pertinent questions: what has prompted the government to include animal slaughter within the category "agriculture/farming"? How can the killing of animals be equated with the production of foodgrains? And what does a glossy designation like "food processing industry" mean?

We asked the Lok Sabha Secretariat to enlighten us in this regard, but so far we have had no response, and for obvious reasons. With the increasing stranglehold of globalisation and instituitions like the FAO all set to change our food habits, powerful interests are looking for more avenues of profit in our country.

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Hyderabad's dying lakes

The Society for the Preservation of the Environment and the Quality of Life has launched a movement called Save the Lakes of Hyderabad with the Saroornagar lake as a pilot project. This is the biggest freshwater lake in the eastern part of the city. It houses about 12 varieties of fish and sustains 200 fisherfolk families.

This valuable eco-heritage is threatened by encroachments, dumping of garbage and official apathy. There were 2 major fish kills in the lake -- on October 19, 1993 and on April 2, 1994. Now we find that revenue officials are gradually converting the lakebed area into residential plots and selling them.

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Errata

In the article Rice goes against the grain, dated July 15, 1994, para 3, it should read 481,984,000 metric tonnes instead of 481,984 million tonnes, and 26,740,000 metric tonnes instead of 26,740 million tonnes. The error is regretted....

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