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Nagaland has beef with Delhi for bid to ban dog meat

Nagaland has told union minister Maneka Gandhi that she was barking up the wrong tree with a move to ban consumption of dog meat – like beef elsewhere in India – in the northeast.

india Updated: Nov 01, 2016 08:32 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times
Nagaland,Dog meat,Maneka Gandhi


Nagaland attacked Union minister Maneka Gandhi over a move to ban consumption of dog meat — like beef elsewhere in India — in the North-east.

Dog meat is a delicacy among many Naga tribes in Nagaland and adjoining states as well as some communities in Mizoram.

In a letter to department of north eastern region minister Jitendra Singh a few days ago, Gandhi cited the Food Safety and Standards Regulation Act, 2011, that does not allow dogs, cats and other animals to be slaughtered for food. She said consumption of dog meat was both illegal and cruel.

But Nagas say Gandhi has no business telling them what they cannot eat or wield rules that are not applicable in Nagaland.

“Indian laws, related to religion or food habits, cannot be imposed in Nagaland because the state’s special status ensures preservation of social customs. We have been eating dog meat, as therapy too, for generations and we cannot stop eating now just because someone feels we should not,” Chuba Ozukum, president of Nagaland’s apex social organisation Naga Hoho, said.

Nagas, he added, will oppose strongly if the ban on sale and consumption of dog meat is imposed.

Officials of Nagaland’s health department said they were looking into the cruelty aspect. “We have asked traders and butchers to follow proper procedures on treating dogs and other animals for consumption,” Abhijit Sinha, commissioner-secretary in the department, said.

The state’s additional chief secretary, RB Thong, said enforcing a dog meat ban would be very difficult.

Fearing public backlash, the Nagaland government went slow on a legal notice that an Assam-based petitioner had sent in March against illegal trade of dogs for consumption. Though the demand for dog meat is high — a kilo sells for `300-500 depending on availability — the animal is not farmed for consumption. The dogs for most kitchens and ethnic restaurants are thus smuggled from neighbouring states, mainly Assam.

First Published: Nov 01, 2016 08:26 IST