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Cattle slaughter ban: Ageing cows and beef demand under discussion

BY Pamodi Waravita

The Livestock, Farm Promotion, and Dairy and Egg Related Industries State Ministry is currently holding stakeholder discussions regarding the practical implementation of the cattle slaughter ban, with a particular focus on dealing with ageing cows and satisfying the national beef demand.

“Discussions are ongoing about a number of issues such as what steps will be taken to deal with ageing cows, and how imports will have to meet the demand of domestic households for beef,” Livestock, Farm Promotion, and Dairy and Egg Related Industries State Ministry Secretary S. Senanayake told The Morning yesterday (25).

He said that current discussions have put forward a number of ideas including the need for allocating specific land areas in different regions for ageing cows.

“Sri Lanka already imports beef for the hotel and tourism industry. With the upcoming implementation of the ban, we are now considering how these imports can also meet the domestic household demand. Our discussions are with the Agriculture Ministry, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and other stakeholders,” added Senanayake.
When questioned as to whether compensation would be provided for those currently engaged in the beef trade, Senanayake said that the discussions will cover this area as well.

The Cabinet of Ministers on 18 October approved the amendment of five laws to ensure that the cattle slaughter ban could be given force and effect in the ambit of the law.

Therefore, the Cabinet has approved that the Butchers Ordinance, No. 9 of 1893; the Animals Act, No. 29 of 1958; the Municipal Councils Ordinance, No. 29 of 1947; the Urban Councils Ordinance, No. 61 of 1939; and the Pradeshiya Sabhas Act, No. 15 of 1987 be amended to allow the necessary provisions to be enacted to enforce the ban on cattle slaughter.

In September 2020, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s proposal to the Cabinet to ban the slaughter of cattle in the country was approved.

Buddhasasana, Religious, and Cultural Affairs Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Gunawardana told The Morning earlier this year that this is being done to benefit the country’s dairy farm industry and that although the provisions would cover the ban of cattle slaughter for the purposes of meat, the import of beef would still be allowed. When inquired as to how the problem of ageing cows would be solved, he said that there are plans to export the ageing cows.