Hyderabad: The Telangana government should stop wasting money on the sheep distribution scheme as the animals would eventually end up in slaughter houses, said Union Cabinet Minister Maneka Gandhi at a summit on “The Future of Protein: A Summit on the New Food Revolution” at CSIR-IICT on Friday. “The sheep will not stop in any house and will go straight into a slaughter house, as there are no grazing grounds,” she said.
She was speaking in the context of reducing the animal population for consumption of meat.
Ms Gandhi said that we were losing forests at the rate of playgrounds per second, because of grazing of the animals used for meat consumption. Instead of multiplying animals, we could get rid of excess animals reared for consumption and instead using clean meat, and within four years methane could disappear, she said. Eleven kilograms of grain is used to create 1 kilogram of meat and in the next five years, 1/4th of the grain would be used to make meat.
Ms Gandhi pointed out that methane contributed to global warming 24 times more than carbon-di-oxide. She said, “Cows, goats, pigs eat grass and have become the single largest producer of methane. One cow releases 600 litres of methane every day. 70 per cent of methane is by animals and we can get rid of it using mock-meat”.
Mock meat or clean meat, is cultured meat that is made in labs and created using cells of the animal. Meat is grown from in vitro animal cell culture instead of from slaughtered animals. While she initially expressed willingness to demonstrate eating clean meat, later she expressed her apprehensions over consuming even cultured meat.
She said industry players in other countries were investing in this and the largest companies working in the clean meat segment were headed by Indians.
Ms Gandhi pointed out that there was acceptance for clean meat in India and said that a study showed that there were a lot of consumers who were willing to switch, buy and replace their regular meat with clean meat.In 2008, the highest amount of meat was consumed in the country, which is double what it is now. The number of people becoming meat eaters in India surpassed that of England. “I’ve realized that you cannot turn people who are non-vegetarians into vegetarians,” Ms. Maneka Gandhi said.