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Congress MP fumbles on Goa's beef-eating percentage
Monday June 24, 2013 2:34 PM, IANS

Congress Lok Sabha member Francisco Sardinha Monday said 60 percent of Goans eat beef, but later quickly retracted, and insisted that only about 40 percent of the state comprised beef-eaters.

Sardinha was speaking to reporters about the government's failure to tide over a long spell of beef shortage, and commenting about how this posed a problem of food insecurity for the minority community and a section of Hindus who eat beef.

"Over 60 percent (of the population) eat beef in Goa. And the shortage of beef and the rising prices of mutton are putting these meats out of the reach of the common man," Sardinha had said, at first.

He later corrected himself: "Not 60 percent, only 40 percent of people eat beef, which includes Christians, Muslims and some young Hindus who eat the meat. The shortage is depriving them of a nutritious diet."

Christians account for nearly 29 per cent of the state's population, while Muslims comprise six percent of the state's total population of about 15 lakh.

The beef crisis in Goa started after the high court temporarily stopped slaughter of cattle at the Goa Meat Complex, the state's only legal abattoir, and constituted a committee to look into the illegalities and animal rights violations, as alleged by the Govansh Raksha Abhiyan, a local NGO.

The three-member committee, after a probe, confirmed earlier this week the allegations made by the NGO, which had claimed that underage and diseased cattle, often procured from neighbouring states, were slaughtered at the facility in violation of state laws.

The court's directive to the government to ensure that cattle are not imported from other states has resulted in a virtual halt of slaughter, because Goa does not have enough cattle "qualified" for slaughter.

Cattle below the age of 12, economically viable, or diseased cannot be slaughtered in Goa.

The state government has started importing slaughtered beef by trucks to Goa, but its limited quantity has failed to offset the meat shortage.

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