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Beef Steak At Stake

Beef Steak At Stake
File - AP Photo/Toby Talbot

No more soya wine chilli beef or Tappanyaki beef in Mumbai's Leopald cafe. It's time for some of the Mumbai restaurants to reprint their menus, it seems, or be jailed for up to five years and fined Rs.10,000.

President Pranab Mukherjee has signed the almost two-decade old Maharashtra Animal Preservation (Amendment) bill that bans cow slaughter in Maharashtra with restrictions on sale and possession of the meat.

Bill was originally passed in 1995 by the BJP-Shiv Sena government but has only come into effect now.

Chief minister Devender Fadnavis expressed happiness over the President's assent to the bill.

But many on Twitter didn't seem to share the CM's enthusiasm on the matter.

Outlook's Oct 20, 2014 issue carried a graphic which might shed some light on the meat-eating patterns of our nation where 60% of the population is non-vegetarian.

In an article called 'They Will Stay Short' published in the same issue, Anuradha Raman wrote:

Animal protein yields better height, stronger muscles, a fact often suggested as a solution to counter India’s malnutrition problem, especially in the light of some uncomfortable statistics. Forty-four per cent children are malnourished, of which 45 per cent have stunted growth and another 20 per cent are too thin, or ‘wasted’ as health parlance goes. Buffalo nationalism, of the kind trumpeted by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat and Union minister Maneka Gandhi, with the tacit support of the ruling BJP dispensation, then is not the answer. In the face of data showing a declining pulses intake (largely on account of rising prices) and dietary shifts, the poor, it would appear, would be forced out in the tirade against meat. Eggs and milk are expensive. Judged by the nutritional ratio, meat, especi­a­lly beef, is not.

Dried beef is a staple in many Dalit households, among the poor as well as in the Northeast. It accounts for nearly 70 per cent of their protein intake. A series of studies conducted by the National Nutr­ition Monitoring Bureau has come up with some astounding facts. In the last 50 years, the average height of the poor increased by just 1-3 cm as opposed to the middle class and rich who have shot up by 6-8 cm.

Also read about the beef-eating habits of ancient Hindus: A Brahmin's Cow Tales (From Outlook archives)

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