Agriculture Minister proposes a meat tax to discourage local slaughterhouses [The Bhutanese, 9th March 2019]

This is one “hell” of a confused article and I know many will not agree with this article of mine [].

The article “cites” local slaughterhouses or rather a meat production will be levied the tax and the same source says imported meat is not hygienic.

Well! when imported meat is un-hygienic; when we can’t ban people from eating meat; when we can’t ban people from creating slaughterhouses if they want. Why on earth, do we want to impose a tax if there are people willing to start a slaughterhouse. This is like encouraging people to import more meat by making their [local] production fail to compete in the market. This is economics from “text-book”. I see a logic in letting them, those interested, start slaughterhouses. It is not about being a Buddhist or non-Buddhist, it is about giving choices to our people to eat good meat; it is about minimizing the import of those which we can locally produce.

Here’s how the number from Bhutan RNR Statistics 2017 reads. Bhutan imported 7911.11 MT of fresh meat in 2017 worth Nu. 1.1 billion, likewise in 2016 Bhutan imported 8108.92 MT of meat. We could clearly see the decrease in import of meat as we imported 9069.89 MT of meat in 2015 and 8703.11 [I have no idea what happened here] in 2014 and 9241.75 MT in 2013. Fresh meat includes Beef; Pork; Lamb; Chicken and Fish. Here we are not even talking about the import of dried meat like fish; prawn; sausages etc. I believe the number looks encouraging for we see the consistent decrease in the import of meat. This may not necessarily be that Bhutanese are going increasingly vegetarian [I do not deny this, as it may be the reason too], but it may also be supplying locally grown fish and other meat too [I ‘m not sure if we have any local slaughterhouse though].

While we may lose the name of not having a “slaughterhouse” in Bhutan, we will be able to provide healthy meat to our Bhutanese consumers; some Bhutanese will make living from this [it is their individual right]; we will save our ruppee reserve. Of course we will not be considered hypocrites [now we want others to accrue sins of killing animals to give us meat]. Give people choices about what they want to do for a living.

If we want to dis-courage slaughterhouses, encourage vegetarianism. I remember reading in my class 9 economics, long time back, supply will cease to exist without demand. Here is the rule of thumb, fanaticism shall not work to run the mass and definitely not when “religious” sentiments are used. Romantic ideas are good to ears, however, it shall not run the country.

…and yes! I ‘m a vegetarian, uhm! NO, I take eggs and I’m definitely not vegan.

Peldhan Drukpa Gyel-Lo!

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