Yearender/Meat: It is not clear whether or not the government had planned a slaughterhouse. What was crystal clear was it did lead to an intense debate almost throughout the year.

While details were vague, the clarification from the government that came late further aggravated the issue.

It all started after this paper carried an article in April on the government’s plans to start a meat-processing unit at Serbithang. While most misunderstood the meat-processing unit for slaughterhouse, others linked it to slaughtering of animals within the country, as meat would have to be supplied to the unit to be processed.

The article quoted a livestock official stating that “animals will be slaughtered in a professional way, like stunning down, making the animal unconscious.”

The unit was expected to process meat products like ham, bacon, meat balls, minced meat, sausages, frozen and smoked chicken and chicken cuts, among others, for high-end hotels as well as for household consumption.

There was also a Facebook page against slaughterhouses, with over 5,000 members. This followed with a petition to the Prime Minister by the dratshang.

It did not end there. Even at the question hour session in both the Assembly and the National Council, the government was thoroughly questioned about the slaughterhouse plan.

While the government denied having any plans to start one, Lyonpo Damcho Dorji said that the dratshang to urge people not to consume meat. “The reality is that people are against slaughterhouses, but they love meat and this is where the problem lies,” lyonpo had said.

Reiterating the government’s stand on the slaughterhouse, the agriculture minister Yeshey Dorji, also informed the National Council that imported meat would be processed at the planned meat-processing unit.

Despite lyonchoen and the ministers’ clarifications on the slaughterhouse, people are still convinced that there is a plan for slaughterhouse. It is still not clear how the meat-processing unit would reduce import when the unit at Serbithang would process and package imported meat.

Meanwhile, Lyopo Yeshey Dorji urged all ministries, constitutional bodies, autonomous agencies, corporate bodies, armed forces, international organizations, private and non-governmental organizations to not serve any meat or meat items during the ceremonial or official gathering during the holy Choetrul dawa month (From today until March 9).

Kinga Dema