The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG)’s plan to build a modern, multi-storeyed abattoir in Sector-37 has run into a wall.
Former Haryana MLA Swami Agnivesh and animal rights activists from organisations such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Jawaharlal Nehru University Animal Activists Group (JAAG), Walk for Animals and Habitat (WAH) and Fauna Police staged a protest last week in front of the deputy commissioner’s office, demanding that the project be scrapped. They argued that the abattoir would lead to more animals being slaughtered, illegal slaughter of cows and consume too much water and power.
“The matter is not about an abattoir being built. We fear cows could be slaughtered illegally there. When it comes up, the abattoir may not have provisions to slaughter cows, but in future cows could be slaughtered too and we won’t be able to stop it. We will have no authority to inspect the premises and stop slaughter of cows, if it happens,” Agnivesh said.
Under the original plan, authorities said, the civic body wanted to slaughter buffaloes at the abattoir, but the Ministry of Food Processing did not approve it.
Animal rights activists are not convinced. “By opening an abattoir, we are pushing animal rights ten steps backwards… Animals are killed in a cruel manner at slaughter houses,” a JNU student, who took part in the protest, said.
The activists also argued that Gurgaon does not have adequate temporary rest houses for animals before they are taken for slaughter. Also, no proper ramps are there for unloading animals from vehicles. “If an animal is slaughtered immediately after transportation without proper rest, a lot of blood is retained in the meat, which is prone to microbial action,” Gaurav Jain of PETA India said.
But, civic authorities argue that the abattoir would, in fact, prevent illegal killing of animals and reduce pollution as the waste would be disposed of scientifically. “Mechanised killings will stop roadside slaughter of animals, which violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Amendment) Act, 1982. Traditional butchers will have to bring animals to the slaughterhouse,” Sonu Kumar, sub-divisional officer at MCG, who prepared the Detailed Project Report, said.