Despite the COVID-19 scare, the price and demand for mutton has remained unchanged across the city. Coronavirus has been declared a global epidemic, with the disease spreading to more than sixty countries across the world. Several cases of Coronavirus reported in India too resulting in widespread panic across the country. Apart from maintaining personal hygiene and cleanliness at all times, the most common question was whether or not non-vegetarians should consume meat during the times when coronavirus is rapidly spreading. There were trends on Twitter like “Stop Eating Meat” and “No Meat No Coronavirus”. But all this could not stop meat eaters eating their favourite mutton. Doctors too endorsed that there is no need to entirely cut the meat out of the diet, but consumption of raw meat should definitely be avoided. There is no conclusive evidence as far as meat or diet is concerned. But, as a precaution and especially in India, it is a good idea, generally also, to avoid raw meat. It is better to have cooked meat. As of now, there is no advisory that prevents you from eating any non-vegetarian food.
Both World Health Organisation (WHO) and Government of India have released a series of tweets about general queries relating to Coronavirus to curb unwarranted pandemonium. The fact that meat-eaters and non-vegetarians are being held responsible for spreading Corona-virus is a complete myth which is scientifically baseless. Cooked meat poses no risk to anyone, and doctors have reiterated that several times to avoid spreading rumours that suggest the contrary. Doctors and government both gave go ahead on eating meat but there is scarcity of supply in the market. Mutton is priced between Rs. 440 and Rs. 480 a kg now, the demand has not fallen, but nor has it risen given the high cost and the fact that many just don’t like mutton. Meanwhile, the price of chicken hovered between Rs. 130 and Rs. 150 a kilogram. However, a drop in both demand and price is expected in the coming days. This lock-down, mutton prices are all set to go up due to the increase in the rates of goats and sheep. The prices have escalated by a couple of thousands owing to huge demand for the mutton. Surprisingly, Meat consumption goes up phenomenally during these forced holidays. To meet the huge demand, cattle farmers from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and other States bring goats and sheep to sell in the city markets. The meat is currently priced between Rs. 400 and Rs. 450 a kilogram. Sheep weighing about 10 kg, which is now sold for a price between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 5,000 even more, will be sold for around Rs. 6,000, while the price will be higher for livestock weighing between 12 and 15 kg. The hike in diesel prices and tension in the regions has also impact the prices. Transportation costs are expected to drastically go up, and traders will eventually pass on the costs to the customers. Right now, transportation of sheep to butchering and selling everything has taken a slow pace, the meat market is not as open as it was earlier. Storage is also big issue, because keeping the shop open for all day is not allowed. Not only human but also animals in Byculla Zoo are offered with chicken but not beef or mutton due to non-supply of the same.
Corona or no corona, meat has become way of food pattern for many and their survival is non vegetarian food. At the end of the day, the fact remains that corona-virus is simply a respiratory virus that can spread primarily through contact with an infected person. As a preventive measure, it is okay to avoid consuming raw meat but to obliterate meat entirely from the diet would be unnecessary.
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