Mushrooming unlicensed slaughterhouses in Puducherry a cause of concern

Unhygienic slaughtering of animals by roadsides, without adherence to rules, exposes people to diseases

In a clear violation of all existing rules and regulations, Puducherry has witnessed a mushrooming of unlicensed meat shops in the last few years.

The roadsides, even in residential areas, have slaughterhouses that sell mutton and chicken in unhygienic conditions, exposing people to zoonotic diseases.

“The recent Madras High Court order asking the Director of Tamil Nadu Rural Development Department to crack down on all meat shops without a valid licence, is applicable to Puducherry too. We have witnessed mushrooming roadside meat shops in the last few years. In fact, on particular days, especially Sundays, every 500 m or so, we could see herds of goats being bundled in a temporary shelter for slaughter. The animal will be slaughtered on the road for selling the meat. It is against rules and increases health risk,” said a retired government employee.

As per Prevention of Cruelty to Animal (Slaughterhouse), Rules, 2001, animals should be slaughtered in licensed houses, he said.

“No persons shall slaughter any animal within Municipal areas, except in a slaughterhouse recognised or licensed by the concerned authority, empowered under the law of the time being in force to do so,” the act says. The act, among other guidelines, prescribes that a veterinary doctor should give a fitness certificate of the animal. No animal should be slaughtered in sight of other animals.

“The act prescribes several things for slaughtering to prevent cruelty to the animal. The unlicensed slaughterhouses will certainly cause more cruelty to the animal during its slaughter. It also poses health risk to meat-eaters,” said a government veterinarian.

NOC required

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) stipulates that a slaughterhouse should have a no objection certificate (NOC) from a local authority. The slaughterhouse should be a unit of a meat market, located away from vegetable, fish or other food markets, and must be free from “odour, smoke, dust or other containments. The premises should be located at an elevated position in a sanitary place.”

According to a retired municipality staff, as per rules, an animal, “suspected of contagious or infectious disease should be segregated and kept in isolated pens, which should have arrangements for watering and feeding.”

He said no rules are being followed in keeping a check on the meat shops. The Local Administration Department, in 2012, had formed a State Level Committee to monitor the functioning of slaughterhouses.

The State Level Committee for Slaughterhouses, headed by Secretary to Government, LAD, was entrusted with the task to prepare the list of slaughterhouses and confirm whether they are functioning within the ambit of laws.

“One of the mandates of committee was to recommend modernisation and relocation of slaughterhouses, far away from residential areas. The committee was also entrusted with the task to crackdown on unlicensed and unlawful establishments with slaughter animals, with the assistance of the District Magistrate. In the last few years, we have only seen slaughterhouses mushrooming in roadsides and residential areas. Every day we could see a slaughter house-cum-meat shop, violating all rules, coming up,” he added.

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