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Holy cow: World’s 2nd-largest beef exporter may ban cattle slaughter


Hindus consider cows to be sacred (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Hindus consider cows to be sacred (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Hindus consider cows to be sacred (AP/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Beef markets remain abuzz about India’s potential ban on cattle and buffalo slaughter.

The ban, if implemented, would take a large amount of carabeef (buffalo) and a small amount of beef off the global market.

India exports around US$5 billion worth of beef and buffalo meat, accounting for around 20pc of global ‘beef’ exports. India is also the second-largest exporter.

Other beef exporters, like New Zealand, stand to gain. Rural Economist with New Zealand bank ASB Nathan Penny has said the opening up additional market opportunities for exporters would help underpin further rises in beef export prices.

This development follows other recent ones affecting beef markets such as the tainted meat scandal in Brazil. Moreover, beef prices are already healthy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government decreed animal markets will only be able to trade cattle for agricultural purposes such as ploughing and dairy production.

The move will further trouble Muslims, in the country who make up 14pc of India's 1.3 billion people, and raise communal and religious tensions.

Hindu hardliners and cow vigilante groups have been increasingly asserting themselves since Modi's Hindu nationalist government came to power in 2014.

Most of India's beef comes from water buffalo rather than cows, which are considered holy by Hindus, but local cattle traders and slaughterhouses have repeatedly come under attacks from activist groups that oppose the meat trade.

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