India black markets in everything

by on May 3, 2010 at 5:34 am in Economics, Food and Drink, Law | Permalink

A dirty little secret that most Indian politicians don't discuss is the thriving cow smuggling trade from their Hindu-majority nation, home of the sacred cow, to Muslim-majority Bangladesh, where many people enjoy a good steak. The trade is particularly robust around the Muslim festival of Eid.

India has outlawed cattle exports, but that hasn't prevented well-organized traffickers from herding millions of the unlucky beasts each year onto trains and trucks, injecting them with drugs on arrival so they walk faster, then forcing them to ford rivers and lumber into slaughterhouses immediately across the border.

The story is here.  Here is information on the price differential:

A $100 medium-size cow in Jharkhand is worth nearly double that in West Bengal and about $350 in Bangladesh. Indian residents along the border complain that the markup also attracts illegal migrants from Bangladesh, who steal cows at night and dart back home.

In a bid to stem the rustling, the Murshidabad local government announced a cow-licensing system in 2007. Cows were issued photo IDs.

In theory the "border is sealed" but in reality the guards are often corrupt and accept bribes to allow the illegal migration.

CowLover May 3, 2010 at 6:35 am

Illegal moogration.

charlie May 3, 2010 at 11:33 am

This is only news to people like Tyler who don’t live in the real world.

My grandfather kept an urban cow for milk. Milk was being rationed out then and came from semi-suspect sources (christians). After the cow gave birth, he sold the cow every year to the Muslims to make curry.

anon May 3, 2010 at 1:43 pm

The two nations met to discuss the idea in 2008, but Sikder acknowledges that legalization is unlikely anytime soon, given longstanding distrust between the two sides.

The 2 nations have not been able to agree, but with 1.5 million cows annually, it looks like a lot of people on both sides do agree. Let freedom ring!

So they’ve tried border guards, photo ID, fences, etc., and nothing works to deter beef lovers. “Prohibition didn’t work in the 1920s,…”

Wonder how a “Just say moo! Er, no!” campaign would work.

Careless May 3, 2010 at 6:49 pm

Milk was being rationed out then and came from semi-suspect sources (christians)

This made me laugh.

JK May 9, 2010 at 2:38 pm

Long-time reader, first time commenter. I grew up in that part of the world. Just wanted to say this was a real blast from the past for me. We have been hearing this story for 20 years now.

The border is very porous. And Indian border guards can be very trigger happy, so I’d be suspicious of any reports that place the blame on this trade on Bangladeshis.

Also worth noting: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/6766563.stm

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