Disgruntled beef dealers and butchers have threatened to stop all work at the municipal abattoir at Deonar if the Maharashtra government does not reconsider its decision to impose a blanket ban on beef.
The butchers have already stopped slaughtering water buffaloes to protest against the government.
At a meeting held under the banner of Mumbai Suburban Beef Dealers Association on Wednesday, members decided they would not slaughter buffaloes till March 24, and would soon extend the strike to goats and sheep.
This would hit the supply of meat in the city badly, those associated with the trade said.
“We met officials from the chief minister’s office on Tuesday, who assured us they would address our concerns about the blanket ban on bulls and bullocks slaughter in the state. We told them we would wait for action till March 24,” said Intezaar Qureshi, vice-president of the association.
He said on March 24, if the government fails to act still, the members will hold a massive demonstration at Azad Maidan, much bigger than Tuesday’s protest.
Around 10,000 traders and butchers had assembled at Azad Maidan on Tuesday to protest against the ban, organised by the Sarv Shramik Sangh.
“Around 1.5 lakh people associated with the trade of bulls and bullocks have been rendered jobless. I know of many cases where small-time traders got such a shock that they had to be hospitalised,” said Qureshi.
According to Dr Pathan KA, deputy general manager at Deonar abattoir, the slaughterhouse is incurring a loss of more than Rs1 lakh every day. “Around 450 large animals, mostly bulls, used to be brought to the slaughterhouse a day. Now, the butchers are not even slaughtering the buffaloes. It’s a huge loss to the abattoir,” he said. The Deonar is the only authorised animal slaughter centre in the city.