After an inspection of slaughterhouses, meat shops and processing units in Delhi last year found several violations, including lack of proper licensing, unhygienic conditions and illegal slaughtering, a monitoring committee member told the Chief Secretary in a letter last Monday that no action has been taken on their recommendations.
Gauri Maulekhi, an animal rights activist and a member of the Delhi slaughterhouse monitoring committee, said buffalo and goat meat from Delhi’s only official slaughterhouse in Ghazipur was not linked with markets and shops in the city, meaning that such shops were either procuring illegally slaughtered meat or slaughtering animals in violation of laws.
“Neither any action has been taken on the recommendations of the (inspection) reports nor have regular meetings of the slaughterhouse monitoring committee been held,” the letter said.
A slaughterhouse monitoring committee headed by the Delhi Urban Development Secretary was set up in the city as per an August 2012 order of the Supreme Court. Later, a sub-committee was made for inspection of slaughterhouses, which conducted several checks between May and August 2019 and recorded a number of violations.
An inspection of Gole Market in New Delhi Municipal Council area in May 2019 found live poultry birds kept in shops for slaughter, waste and blood being discharged on the floor and in drains, carcasses mixed with live birds, no proof that the meat was purchased from the Ghazipur slaughterhouse or a receipt of the place where the animal or bird was slaughtered.
A Council official said their officials conduct random inspections and fine shop owners who do not have a license, and estimated that 50% of shops may have closed since the pandemic.
Another inspection in May of two meat factories in Lawrence Road Industrial Area found that they were operating without a licence from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). At one factory, the source from where carcasses were obtained was not disclosed by the supervisors. Based on the inspections, the sub-committee had made several recommendations to MCDs, Delhi government, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee, among others, to take action against violation of rules.
The last meeting of the monitoring committee was held on February 13 this year, chaired by the Urban Development Secretary. As per the minutes of the meeting, the committee was told that most shops selling meat in Delhi were not getting their supplies from the Ghazipur slaughterhouse “as they have to store it for a long time”.
Municipal corporations were asked to examine the possibility of setting up de-centralised slaughterhouses near areas where most meat shops are, such as INA Market, CR Park, and Mayur Vihar, among others.
However, none of the four municipal corporations in Delhi currently have any plans for setting up decentralised slaughterhouses, with the exception of the South Corporation, which did not respond to queries.
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001 state that animals are not to be slaughtered except in recognised or licensed houses and such businesses also need an FSSAI licence. Moreover, the Delhi High Court had ruled in July 2019 that slaughtering of animals “cannot be allowed at any crossroad,” and in September 2018 had banned slaughtering of birds at the Ghazipur poultry market.
Despite the order, an inspection by the slaughterhouse sub-committee in August 2019 found that birds were being slaughtered in open and in front of each other, no health record of the birds, and drains choked with untreated waste and parts of birds and fish.
Nasir Ali Alvi, chairman of the Delhi Fish Poultry and Egg Marketing Committee, Ghazipur, said a slaughterhouse for poultry is being constructed by the committee and will be completed in around eight months. “At present, birds are not being slaughtered inside the market and are being sold live. A few shops outside the market are doing it with permission from the municipal corporation,” he said.
The Indian Express contacted a Delhi government spokesperson for a comment on the issue but did not receive a response.