I think if a poll on the world’s biggest hypocrites are taken then we Bhutanese would feature somewhere at the top. I say this because of our senseless policy of meat bans during the so called ‘holy months’ and our general attitude to meat. In fact one ban is right on our door step just when we need meat for Losar.
Studies and sample surveys have shown that more animals get slaughtered due to these so called ‘holy months’ as people are psychologically inclined to horde meat. And we all know that most humans while in a hoarding mood store and even consume more meat than they normally would.
So the main aim of the meat ban to save animal lives is defeated and in fact more animals die.
Another problem is hygiene and health. Since meat is bought in such large quantities storage often becomes a problems especially in restaurants and there have been cases of people getting sick from eating such meat. This would be the case even in individual households.
There is also a large economic component as both restaurants and families are forced to buy huge fridges or freezers to store meat. There is also additional cost with higher electricity Bills. For a nation that claims tourism as its mainstay such a ban also hampers tourism.
The meat ban month also hampers our food sufficiency goals as poultry and livestock sectors cannot do business during this time.
I think it is time that the new government takes a completely fresh new look at not only the meat bans but also the whole taboo against the livestock and meat industry.
It would be far healthier, cheaper and cleaner to not have the meat bans. The government should also go all out to encourage domestic meat production so that our citizens will not have to rely on suspect imported meat. I say suspect also because the animals there are not kept or slaughtered in the most humane ways.
For a nation of avid meat eaters, whatever our pretensions, I think it’s high time we deal with ensuring a regular and healthy supply of meat.
Pema Tashi, Thimphu