Just two weeks after the Union government issued a notification banning the trading of cattle, like cows and buffaloes, at animal markets for the purpose of slaughtering them, global trade analysts have said that there appears to be a rise in prices of beef, globally. According to a report by Wall Street Journal, the ban has caused concerns of reduced supply from the “world’s biggest exporter of the meat by volume”, resulting in higher global beef prices. According to official data cited in the report, India roughly exports beef worth $4 billion annually.
The report says that even though the move will take some time to take full effect, with several state governments protesting the ban, the investors are already expecting the global beef supply to become tighter. According to analysts cited by WSJ, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange reached its upper limit with a rise of 2.5 per cent, mainly due to India’s ban on slaughter of cattle. The analysts also told WSJ that the benchmark for Australian cattle prices, Australian Eastern Young Cattle Indicator- ended up at nearly 0.8 per cent.
Tobin Gorey, a Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst, told WSJ, ““There has been a lot of market chatter around this and the Australian market has been bid up particularly.”
The Centre passed an order on May 23 prohibiting the sale of cattle animals for slaughter, in a bid to regulate the sale of bovines at cattle markets. As per the order, cows, bulls, buffaloes, calves and camels were among the list of animals that were banned for sale at cattle markets. The notice also aimed to tighten the rules for those involved in buying and selling of these animals. The order received strong protests in several parts of the country. In Kerala, beef fests were organised by in a bid to protest against the decision. Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also appealed to PM Narendra Modi to withdraw the order, saying that the move will affect millions of lives.
Similar ‘beef fest’ were organised at IIT-Madras in Tami Nadu. DMK acting president M K Stalin also led a protest in Chennai, asking centre to revoke the notification. West Bengal also saw similar protests against the Centre, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee slamming the Centre’s decision.
The move has worried India’s meat industry that it may affect their prices. As per data, India’s annual meat business is approximately estimated to be around Rs one lakh crore. In 2016-17, the industry recorded exports worth Rs 26,303 crore. Apart from affecting the buffalo meat industry in India, who have stated that they were not consulted before the move, the ban is likely to affect the dairy industry, leather industry and farmers as well.
“The decision will have implications on meat exports as well as on the availability of raw material for the domestic industry. We will ask the government to reconsider the decision,” Council for Leather Exports former chairman Rafeeq Ahmed told PTI. All India Meat and Livestock Exporters Association Spokesperson Fauzan Alavi also told PTI that a large number of farmers bring their “unproductive” cattle to the markets for sale. “It is the unproductive cattle, which arrives in large number for sale in these markets, as their feasibility virtually cease to exist, while the per day maintenance cost goes up. The high yielding milching animals rarely arrive at the cattle market for sale. The per day cost incurred on a buffalo ranges from Rs 125 to Rs 150, while the general price of the milk sold is Rs 40 per litre. If the per day milk production dips, then gradually the cattle becomes unproductive,” he had said.