India is the world’s second-largest beef exporter and fifth-biggest consumer, although its majority Hindu community views cows to be sacred, and Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party is pushing for legal steps to “protect and promote the cow”.
Maharashtra, which has a population of about 110m and sprawls over an area roughly the size of Italy, widened its ban this month to cover meat from bulls and bullocks. The northern states of Jharkhand and Haryana are looking for ways to discourage slaughter of livestock.
Such curbs will cost jobs and hit India’s exports, but spell good news for poultry farms. India consumed 2.3m tonnes of beef last year until October — higher than for all of 2013 — while exports were 1.95m tonnes in the same period.
Overall consumption in the state could rise 5%-8% within a month, said Dinesh Bhosale, the South Asia sales head of AB Vista, an animal feed supplier based in Britain.