A consumer rights forum has called for monitoring of slaughter houses operating in the town amidst growing public concern over unauthorised and unhygienic trade practices.
According to A.Sankar of the Tuticorin District Consumer Rights and Protection Association, the mandatory inspection by veterinarians is not carried out before slaughtering sheep, goats and cattle in the town.
He claimed a cross-section of the public here feels that the absence of blue-coloured seal on meat sold by butchers across Tuticorin raises doubts over whether dead animals were being slaughtered. He urged the authorities to launch a crackdown on butcheries. The animals are slaughtered at unauthorised places such as sheds and the wastes disposed of at public places leading to a health hazard in residential areas, he added.
“Though there is a slaughter house near the new bus stand, it is not functioning. Mere organising of awareness programmes on hygienic food consumption is not enough. The officials must prevent slaughtering at unauthorised places and ensure that the animals are inspected by veterinary doctors before the slaughter,” a resident of Polpettai said.
M. Jagadish Chandrabose, District Designated Officer, Food Safety and Standards Act, Tuticorin, said that a team of officials from the departments of Food Safety, Animal Husbandry and Health will be formed and surprise raids conducted in the town. Butcheries will be inspected and meat found without the seal seized and destroyed. Only licensed shops will be permitted to sell meat, he said.
Around 380 shops are licensed to sell meat, poultry and fish in the district, Dr. Chandrabose said. Sources from the Department of Animal Husbandry said they could only render assistance and only the Corporation authorities should take action against the erring butcheries.
Corporation Commissioner S. Madhumathi said that the animals were slaughtered as per the norms at the abattoir. Raids will be conducted in meat shops based on specific complaints. “There is no slaughter house for cattle (beef) in Tuticorin. A place will be leased near the stadium for the purpose soon,” she said.