The initiative is to save lives and hoarding before the auspicious months begin
Meat: To indirectly save the lives of animals every year as the auspicious months on the Bhutanese calendar approach, 67 hotels in Bumthang signed a petition to refrain from serving meat throughout these months.
The hotel association of Bumthang (HAB) initiated the petition in June. “Hotels and restaurants from across Bumthang have signed the petition to refrain from serving the meat during these months,” HAB chairman, Pema Dawa said.
A few hotels are yet to sign the petition, he said.
The petition stated that such a decision to forgo serving meat is only fitting for a dzongkhag that is known as the spiritual heartland and a home to revered Buddhist masters.
“Our objective is to prevent the slaughter of animals before the ban months for storage during the holy months,” the petition stated.
Although import of meat is banned during these months, the food business industry across the country hoards meat in advance to table it during the banned months.
For instance, Hotel Kinley in Bumthang, which does a brisk business, hoards meat worth Nu 0.4 million (M) during these two months. On an average, the hotels and restaurants here hoard meat worth Nu 15,000 each during a month long ban.
Meat hoarding, as the holy months approach, is also a brisk business for meat shops. For instance, a shop in Bumthang sells meat worth Nu 4.2M before the sale is banned.
The petition also stated that the number of animals killed to meet the demand of meat during the banned months is more than any months of the year.
“Therefore, the hoteliers are going to abstain from serving meat at least for these two auspicious months,” the petition stated.
Hotel Kinley’s proprietor said that although the decision would incur loss since 90 percent of the customers prefer meat, the petition was signed for the larger interest of saving lives of animals. “I signed the petition to save slaughter of animals in large scale before the ban months,” the proprietor said.
The petition is also to avert losses the hotels suffer from storing large supplies of meat during the ban months. “Hotels also face difficulty in storage of meat in large quantity,” Pema Dawa said, adding that serving meat refrigerated for a long duration could also prove hazardous for consumers.
But some already fear the petition’s effect on business. “It would affect business because even a religious figure refuses to eat without meat,” the proprietor of Hotel Kinley said.
Yedzin Wangyal hotel owner, Jigme Namgyal also said that guesthouses wouldn’t feel the brunt as these months fall during the tourist off-season, but hoteliers catering to local would. “Business would be affected since majority of Bhutanese prefer meat even during the banned months,” Jigme Namgyal said.
By Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang