Ban: All hotels in Bumthang have stopped serving meat from February 9 as agreed in June last year to refrain from serving non-vegetarian items during the auspicious months.

About 67 hotels had signed an agreement among themselves acquiescing to abstain from serving meat during the auspicious months, February 9 to March 9 and May 7 to June 5.

“The agreement came into effect from February 9,” Hotel Association of Bumthang chairman, Pema Dawa said.

While most hotels remained closed on February 9 and 10 to celebrate losar, hoteliers refrained from serving meat starting yesterday, the first day of opening since the businesses closed for Losar. Hotels, resorts and small eateries in Bumthang catering to local and tourist alike are sticking with the agreement.

“I have instructed my cooks to avoid serving any meat,” hotel Kinley proprietor, Kinley said. Unlike in the past year, Kinley had not stocked meat. Before the rule, hoteliers used to stock meat with the just one meat shop in Chamkhar selling meat worth Nu 4.2m.

The rule has not affected business.

“Tourists appreciate and respect the ban after their guides convey the message of the ban,” a staff of Wangdichholing resort said.

The agreement signed by 67 hotels stated such initiative was needed because hotels serving meat items despite the ban on sale of meat, led to massive slaughter of animals with arrival of these auspicious months.

The agreement also stated that the number of animals killed to meet the meat demand with the approach of auspicious months were bigger than the number of animals slaughtered in the entire year.

“Earlier, almost every hotel would stockpile two-three deep freezers of meat during the ban since hotels were allowed to serve non-vegetarian food items,” Pema Dawa said.

Although hotels from Tang, Chumey and Ura couldn’t make it to sign the agreement, they were notified and agreed to follow the rule.

Meanwhile, Bumthang vegetarian initiative committee would soon conduct surprise inspection to ensure if members are abiding by the agreement. They will not be penalized. Religious advice and talks on merits of refraining from consuming meat during these months would be held in hotels found breaching the agreement.

“They will also be educated on types of vegetables to supplement the meat,” Pema Dawa said.

Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang