Veterinarians have stressed the need to set up a modernised slaughterhouse that could meet ISI standards in the Union Territory, considering the growing concern across the world over zoonotic diseases.
The growing demand for meat had led to the mushrooming of unregulated slaughterhouse-cum-meat stalls across Puducherry.
Veterinarians said that during French rule, the Union Territory had a robust system in place where only meat from a licensed slaughterhouse would be allowed for sale.
"In fact, the French took great care of animal health. In 1935, the French Administrator created a cell in the Public Health Department for treatment of animals. A law was promulgated in 1937 under the authority of the mayor of the municipality to look after public health. The law made it mandatory for staff to inspect slaughterhouses regularly. Meat was sold only from a licensed slaughterhouse. Now, anyone could slaughter the animal at any place and sell meat then and there. If this goes on unchecked, it will have serious public health ramifications,'" a government veterinarian said.
It is common knowledge that open air slaughtering of animals for the purpose of meat is a threat to the environment and public hygiene. During the French regime, closed door and licensed slaughterhouses alone were permitted to do business, it was pointed out.
There used to be close monitoring of slaughterhouses from the point of public health. Separate sales centres were also introduced so that there would be no inconvenience for shoppers, and there was no mix up of mutton stalls with the other wings of the trade and business.
"With Puducherry's rapid development necessitating quick establishment of housing colonies, public hygiene should be kept in mind without interference from any quarters," said another veterinarian.
"A hygienic slaughterhouse with close monitoring is the need of the hour. Apart from the public health angle, the region is fast emerging as a major tourist destination. It will not augur well for the Union Territory to allow people to slaughter animals on roadsides, especially on Sundays when weekend tourists swell the town," the veterinarian added.
According to an official, the Government in 2016 was on the verge of signing an agreement with a private player to establish a modern slaughterhouse at Attupatti.
"The plan was to modernise the existing slaughterhouse at Attupatti with all facilities as per ISI standards. The Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries had agreed to provide a grant for the construction. It did not take off due to various reasons, including opposition from certain people in the locality. Now, we are planning to have a modern slaughterhouse under the Smart City Project, near Thengaithittu. It is important to have such a facility to guard against the public health and environmental hazards caused by the open slaughtering of animals," a senior official told The Hindu .
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