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Deonar slaughterhouse closed, meat prices soar

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Representative image / Reuters

COVID-19, lockdown had pushed the prices of vegetables northwards, the cost of mutton is soaring. In the last few days, few mutton shops in the city are willing to sell mutton for the price of Rs 800 per kg, far higher than the reigning Rs. 400 a kg. The price went up to almost double per kg in some places on Sunday when the demand for mutton is normally high.

Khalis, a mutton merchant in Borivali, told Afternoon Voice that “They are finding it difficult to procure sheep at a financially viable cost amid lockdown. The type of mutton that is available in frozen form is not preferred by the people,” he said and added that the cost price for a mutton merchant itself is around Rs. 400 to 450 per kg.

Khalid Hussain, another mutton merchant, said “He used to sell meat of around 10 sheep every day till a few days ago when the scarcity of sheep began to hit the merchants. “Today, I manage to find only one or two sheep’s because there is lot of checking and hazard in bringing the sheep for butchery,” he said. Though the availability of sheep had been drying up in the last few weeks, the situation had turned worse in the lock down period. Many mutton merchants are unable to supply mutton to hotels due to the scarcity, he said. “Only merchants, who have firmed up a contract of regular supply to hotels, are meeting their contractual obligations. Others are not being able to do so,” he added.

Some meat shop owners reportedly faced trouble getting goats to Mumbai and even had to bribe police on their way in. Sellers fear that this may eat into their profit margins given that the markets are shut and people are unwilling to pay a steep price for the same. Last year, in regions like Kolhapur and Sangli, mutton prices saw a steep rise due to the floods. Several parts of Mumbai are currently sealed to curb the spread of Coronavirus.

The poultry industry is slowly making a comeback with an increase in demand for chicken and eggs, lovers of red meat in Mumbai are being forced to pay a heavy price for indulging in their cravings as buffaloes are also in short supply. As a consequence, mutton prices, which were at Rs 560 per kg, have now reached up to Rs 800 per kg. Chicken, on the other hand, has returned to its normal price of Rs 160 per kg.

General Manager of the Deonar slaughterhouse Yogesh Shetye, said “That around 3000 sheep and goats and 250 buffaloes were slaughtered at Deonar every day with animals coming from neighboring regions of Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh. “Now, all that has stopped. We shut the abattoir also because social distancing became an issue.”

Shahnawaz Thanawala, president of Bombay Mutton Dealers Association told Afternoon Voice that “The poultry industry is somehow back in business with chicken selling for even Rs 200 per kg as the rates for sheep and goat meat have shot up due to the unavailability of buffalo meat. In between, people had completely stopped eating chicken with the rates crashing to Rs 50-Rs 80 per kg. But now due to the lockdown, we are unable to get chicken and the prices have gone up.”

Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Coach, Shilpa Arora ND, also agrees, “there is no harm whatsoever in consuming cooked meat. People suggesting avoiding meat entirely should know that there is no evidence of the same.”

Also Read:

Lamb meat gone overpriced amid COVID-19

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