Bahrain butchers firm on strike plan
Manama, September 17, 2012
Butchers from Bahrain’s Muharraq city say they plan to go ahead with an indefinite strike from Thursday, after postponing it last week.
They had planned to start their strike last Tuesday, but agreed to delay it after authorities agreed to look into complaints about meat imported to Bahrain.
Muharraq Municipal Council vice-chairman Ali Al Muqla said the strike was back on agenda if no solutions were found this week.
Bahrain has already announced it was looking for new livestock suppliers after authorities rejected a shipment of more than 21,000 sheep infected with 'orf' disease, which can be transmitted to humans.
However, butchers are complaining that imported meat - which is shipped into the country in chilled containers - is still below standard.
They also say they cannot guarantee it is halal and want to be supplied meat from animals slaughtered in Bahrain, since it would be fresher and slaughtered according to Islamic law.
"The evidence we have posted online, besides that gathered from experts worldwide, indicates that rotten meat is sold in the market," said Al Muqla.
"We wanted our brothers in Sitra, Manama and Jidhafs central markets to join us in the strike, but they seem hesitant for reasons that I don't want to mention - despite agreeing with Muharraq butchers' plans."
Al Muqla, who also heads the council's consumer protection committee, said butchers planned to go ahead with the strike since they were still awaiting guarantees about the quality of meat they are supplied with.
The Bahrain Livestock Company imports meat to Bahrain and its vice-chairman Yousif Al Saleh told our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News, that the company adhered to all government requirements and regulations, but declined to comment further.
However, Al Muqla said there were still question marks about the quality of meat - claiming that even more "rotten" meat had been delivered to butchers at the Muharraq Central Market after they postponed their strike.
"This is meat we are talking about - something that people eat and it could have health consequences," he added.
Al Muqla previously claimed some meat imported to Bahrain during Ramadan was more than five times the recommended temperature.
He said the sheep carcasses imported from abroad should have been stored at less than 5C, but claimed 200 carcasses were thrown away after health inspectors recorded raw meat temperatures of between 19C and 27C.
He also estimated it was up to three days between the sheep being slaughtered overseas and the meat going on sale in the market.
Around 100 tonnes of tainted meat has allegedly been imported to Bahrain over the past three years. – TradeArabia News Service
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