Post Mortem

To eat or not to eat

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 7/30/2020 12:18:21 PM IST

 There is an anonymous saying that says, what is nauseating to one man is meat and drink to another. If this is not and food habit the world over is akin and homogenous, there will be food crisis leading to ecological imbalance. For which through natural selection, carnivores and herbivores roam the jungle to maintain ecological balance in the forest.

To eat or not to eat dog meat  ( I prefer to call canine meat like sheep as mutton, South Koreans called it gaegogi) was and is not the contentious issue to my own opinion. As per history dogs were probably there from the times of the Nagas migration and dog was not only a hunting companion but was also a source of meat by choice from those days. 
The contentious issue was the inhumane and reckless transportation and selling of live dogs in the open market for meat purpose that attracted animal lovers and activists attention. Chapter 111 of The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 No.11 treating animals cruelly(1)d says if any person conveys or carries, whether in or upon any vehicle or not, any animal in such manner or position as to subject it to unnecessary pain or suffering; or (e) keeps or confines any animal in any cage or other receptacle which does not measure sufficiently in height, length and breadth to permit the animal a reasonable opportunity for movement or; (f) keeps for an unreasonable time any animal chained or tethered upon an unreasonably short or unreasonably heavy chain or cord; are all punishable under the prevention of cruelty to animals act,1960. 
Religion does allow believers to eat meat of their choice but caring and loving them is also the prerogative of the owners. Killing and slaughtering animals in public views is considered to be an act of cruelty that invites penalties under Veterinary Jurisprudence. In my small campaign for this cause, some years back when the construction of the slaughter house at Wokha town came up, I told the officials that they could have consulted the Veterinary department but the reply was they also know. Or else my intention was the slaughter house should be away from public view with proper sanitation and slaughter protocols and at the same time taking care of public health concerns and than outlets can be in any corners of the town.
To this cause I have apprehensions that if we continue to slaughter animals the Naga style ( By the way Halal is the best method of slaughter) there may be issues on cattle and pigs in the nearby future also. An awareness ; the best time to eat meat is after passing off rigor mortis which in medical term is the stiffening of the body after death caused by biochemical changes in the muscles. Time taken for rigor mortis to set in depends on species and in cattle & pigs it will set in by 6-12 hours and resolves by 24 to 48 hours after which ageing of the meat will begin. By then the meat will become tender and palatable to eat. But for general advice, animal slaughtered today will be best to eat the next day.
This cause also taught us a lesson on the need of an expert opinion on issues. It is a pride to say that, today there are Naga experts in almost all fields and disciplines and Nagas can rely on such experts in times of needs. Here expert opinions are with the A.H & Veterinary Services, SPCAs, State Animal Welfare Board, animal lovers and activists and maybe old man mozz to advice us like he use to advice the Phantom when he is in doubt.
Today, society for the prevention of cruelty to animals are registered there in almost all the districts in our state with Deputy Commissioner as the chairman, Chief A.H & Veterinary Officer as the member secretary and members drawn from all related disciplines and also State Animal Welfare Board. Their functions of  which  is to oversee any incidence of cruelty acts and at the same time see for their welfare and wellbeing.
Finally, to eat or not to eat canine meat is like the titular prince Hamlet in dilemma- from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, when he said the famous soliloquy, to be, or not to be, that is the question. So to come out from this dilemma we need expert opinion but still Bertrand Russell is of the opinion that, even when the experts agree they may well be mistaken.
Dr. N. Mhonchan Shitiri

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