Even as the Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA) has banned the slaughter of animal and import and sale of meat, restaurants are in the fix as they say the one month ban will negatively impact their business. Irked with the decision that will not only affect meat traders but also impact people’s food choices, restaurant owners say they now have to rethink the menus.
“With the huge population in the city, beef dishes are extremely popular here. At the restaurant, we buy 200 kgs of beef in a month with one kg serving five portions. We have a demarcated section in our kitchen where beef dishes are prepared. Beside taste, people eat beef for the lean protein it provides”, Tshering Palden, the owner of Zayzang restaurant said.
She added, “It would be better if the Ministry of Agriculture could issues a notification one or two months prior to the ban months because we buy around 200 kgs of meat in a month and when the ban is suddenly imposed there is no technology to store that much meat”.
Another restaurateur, Ap Sonam said, “A ban on the slaughter of animal and import and sale of meat is a good decision. A majority of people in Bhutan eat meat especially beef, pork and chicken and there are some people who can’t eat their meal without meat. When people don’t get meat, they come to hotels and restaurants to eat meat and when such ban is being imposed .”
Jamyang Choden, a consumer said, “I have a four year old son who has to eat chicken everyday and he won’t eat his meal if there is no chicken. It’s been two days he hasn’t taken his meal because I could not get chicken neither from any meat shop nor from any hotel or restaurants since there is a ban on the sale of meat in the country”.
Aum Dem from Yoezer Hotel said, “This ban has, however, resulted in a lot of headache for us. People rarely visit our hotel and our phone keeps ringing as people keep asking if we still sell beef and pork and we always have to say no”.
“From a religious perspective a ban is needed but as a restaurateur a ban is a serious issue because people come to our hotel to grab coffee. This ban would completely slaughter our business” she added.
BAFRA under Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, issued a notice that the slaughter of animals, import and sale of meat is prohibited from February 27 to March 28 2017 which is in accordance with the Section 16.5 of the Livestock Act of Bhutan 2001.
The sale of meat is banned in the country every year during the first month of the Bhutanese calendar, the auspicious month of Chhothruel Dawa and the fourth month of Saga Dawa.
The Regulatory and Quarantine Inspectors are placed at various Entry points, Check posts, towns and other appropriate locations throughout the country to strictly monitor non compliances as per the mandates of the BAFRA.