Change in Cattle Slaughter Raises Risks
20 June, 2013
The upcoming amendment to the code on safety of food, veterinary and herb protection that allows cattle slaughter outside the slaughter houses, creates food security risks - Georgian non-governmental watchdogs worry. They sent a request to Georgian parliament on June 16, 2013 not to approve the change and discuss the issue with the sector pundits.
The draft amendment is already put under the parliamentary procedures. The explanatory note of the submitted project states that it aims
to change the obligation to slaughter the market-bound cattle only at slaughter houses to avoid the transportation-related costs that jacks prices on the meat ultimately. Non-governmental watchdogs including Association Woman and Business, Eurasian Partnership Fund, the Union 21st Century, social organization Environment, risk and Citizens’ Rights, The Center for Strategic Researches and Development of Georgia, and Association of Georgian Tea Producer fear that the questioned change reduces food security control acknowledged by international standards. Non-governmental experts believe Georgia has no sufficient financial and human resources to implement the proper veterinary supervision over the cattle slaughter at each household in rural area that want to sell the beef.
“Georgian food market control is pretty weak and permitting cattle slaughter at home will increase the food security risks furthermore” the statement reads. Moreover, the alarming fact is that the essential amendment in the food law is put under parliamentary procedures within limited timelines without broad public inclusion. Besides, the change does not create due legislative framework how to handle with the cattle slaughter beyond slaughter houses that most probably will lead to misunderstanding between the state structure and the meat producers, non-governmental experts warn. Besides, they are apt to discuss the change in cattle slaughter permission together with the entire package of changes worked out by Agriculture Ministry of Georgia to make fundamental amendments to the code on Food Safety, veterinary and Herb Protection. This package is scheduled to enter the Parliament in coming months.
“A united strategy and approach should be outlined toward the issue and making separate changes may affect the entire process,” non-governmental watchdogs say and appeal to Georgian parliament to delve in details of the said issue and allow all interested organizations and sector pundits to participate in the decision-making process. Ex-powers banned cattle slaughter beyond the slaughter houses in November of 2010 to set the beef quality in line with the international standards and make food security closer with the EU standards. However the beef prices more than doubled as a result for the slaughter-house infrastructure is pretty underdeveloped in Georgia and ex-powers were hailed in boosting monopoly at beef market.