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Shelley Goldberg

India Is About to Upend the Global Beef Trade

A recent ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter will limit access to growing markets.


Photographer: Chandan Khanna /AFP/Getty Images

India’s paradoxical relationship with beef took a new turn last month, when the Ministry of Environment imposed a ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets.

Cow slaughter has been banned for decades in India because of the cow's traditional status as a respected creature in Hinduism, the largest religion in India. In some cases, penalties for slaughter can be equivalent to five times the price of the animal slaughtered, or as severe as life in prison.