Agriculture Minister proposes a meat tax to discourage local slaughterhouses

The Agriculture Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Penjore said that the government cannot do anything to stop private people from opening slaughter houses but it can impose a tax on such meat to discourage them.

He also said that while Samrang is currently not a slaughter house it can become one in the future once it is privatized.

“The government should make sure that our farmer can produce food products on their own without having to buy it from other countries”, Lyonpo said.

Lyonpo also said, “The government can discourage farmers to produce meat but the government cannot ban them from producing meat as it is their individual right. Under the Constitution, farmers have the right to decide whether they want a slaughter house, dairy farm or agriculture farm, government has no control over it”.

But at the same time, Lyonpo said, “Government will not encourage slaughter houses and in order to encourage people not to produce meat, government will impose tax on such meat.”

If we think scientifically and technically, Lyonpo said, “It is good to produce meat on our own because government can’t tell people not to consume meat and as there are so many people who consume meat.

We need to depend on imported meat and the imported meat which comes in our market and which our people consume is contaminated or unhygienic”.

Lyonpo said, “And at the same time, government cannot ban the import of meat or any product because if government wants to ban the import of product, the product needs to be proven contaminated beyond the consumable limits”.

The minister also confirmed that Samrang is not a slaughterhouse after his recent visit there. Agriculture Minister visited Samrang on 23rd February after attending Royal Flower Exhibition in Samdrup Jongkhar.

Lyonpo also visited the agriculture farm at Phuntshothang on 24th February. Both the livestock and agriculture farm is in Samdrupchholing dungkhag under Samdrup Jongkhar.

The Agriculture Minister said, “I visited Samrang because I wanted to confirm that Samrang project is not a slaughterhouse and I also wanted to see what kind of activities are happening in Samrang. Now I am fully confirmed that Samrang is not a slaughterhouse but it produces and supplies seedlings and livestock breeds to local farmers”.

Lyonpo said further, “Samrang consists of dairy goat farm, a dairy cattle farm with Jersey cows, a commercial poultry farm and fishery ponds”. He said that before this DNT did not know that Samrang is not a slaughter house so they had pledged that they will convert Samrang to a vegetable farm in order to discourage production and consumption of meat.

The new government after realizing that it is not a meat processing unit removed the pledge from their manifesto.

Lyonpo said, “Samrang project or mega livestock project is a state owned enterprise (SOE) initiated by the previous government to boost dairy production in the country by breeding and supplying farmers with young heifers or young female milk giving cows.

Lyonpo further said, “Currently, Samrang farm being an SOE is under the government and government can tell them not to produce meat as long as it is under government but once they are privatized or on their own, they have the full authority to decide whether they want to produce meat or just engage in production of dairy products.”

“There is a possibility that Samrang may turn into slaughter house in the future as it gets privatized but at present it is not a slaughter house but a livestock project where dairy products are produced.”

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