As campaigning for the Lok Sabha election reaches fever pitch, it appears that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi’s stock of barbs against the Congress is running out, forcing him to rake up issues that are sensitive (“Meat exports growing in Modi’s Gujarat too, says Congress,” April 4). His allegations on meat export appear to be bereft of substance as facts from the period of the NDA regime show. Mr. Modi should look at discussing meaningful issues, with his speeches revolving around subjects of national importance. What is the use of indulging in communal talk?

R. Sivakumar,

Chennai

The controversy over meat export and cow slaughter represents an attempt to divert the attention of the people, who long for an alternative to neo-liberal economic policies. Mr. Modi is deliberately trying to whip up communal sentiment. The issue should be meat export in general and not merely cow meat. Mr. Modi seems to be increasingly revealing his true identity and agenda.

A.G. Rajmohan,

Anantapur

Though the graphic talks about “buffalo meat,” is one to conclude that cow meat also forms a part of it? In Tamil Nadu, cattle merchants from the small towns of Keezhakkarai, Kayalpatnam and Kulasekharapattinam patronise the meat market at a place called Vallanadu near Thoothukudi. Here, native-breeds are bought at the rate of Rs.7,500 to Rs. 8,500 an animal, depending on fat content, and then transported to Kerala, where there is consistent demand — for consumption and export. I also understand that this breed is also procured from Ottappidaram in the State, where about 2,000 heads of cattle are sent out daily. It appears that there are powerful vested interests involved in this trade. There is a need to rise above petty politicking and examine the facts in Mr. Modi’s statement.

S. Chidambaresa Iyer,

Chennai

Mr. Modi is promising large-scale industrialisation should he become the Prime Minister. But it must be realised that this can happen only at a huge cost to both the environment and rural livelihoods. Such a vision of economic growth can only mean a loss in natural habitat and impacts on wildlife. The Congress party’s position that meat production largely depends on “utilising spent animals at the end of their productive life” is equally misleading. With industrialised meat production, one can only expect a large-scale increase in energy consumption, water pollution and increased emission of greenhouse gases. Studies have shown that all over the world the meat industry plays a major role in climate change.

Anjali Lal Gupta,

Hyderabad

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