The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) team seized a large amount of suspected pig meat, during a raid conducted near Lahore Railway Station. The PFA DG Ayesha Mumtaz, said that the raid was conducted on a tip off that pork is being supplied and sold in the city in the name of beef and mutton. This particular meat was also being used in the making of ice cream.

The Chief Minister Punjab has ordered the checking of the supply of carcass meat strictly after the previous instances of confiscation of donkey and horsemeat. The supply has been seized and samples are sent to laboratory for a test to determine whether it is actually pork or some other form of substandard meat.

With the amount of meat that is actually consumed in this country, not only the affluent classes but across social strata, demand for meat is always sky high. Meat has become a staple at the dinner table. The scam is catering to that demand and must not come as a shock to a meat obsessed nation.

Pakistan’s goat meat consumption was 779,000 tons in 2011-12, ranking it among the top 3 in the world. There is no doubt that this figure has vastly increased, leading to a detrimental level of consumption of meat in Pakistan. There is 1.7 million tons of beef consumption in Pakistan every year, ranking it 9th among beef consuming nations. In addition, 834,000 tons of poultry meat consumption puts it among the world’s top 20. All these statistics are not there merely to inform people, but also serve as a warning. We need to reevaluate this particular lifestyle, before it actually ends involuntarily.

News revolving the selling and using of dubious meat is not something new. Butchers have been arrested for skinning donkeys, while shops have been closed down for selling of ‘haram’ meat. This is a problem that won’t go away unless we change our dietary habits. There are other options for catering to this insatiable protein intake. South Asia has been blessed with a variety of lentils that provide almost the same nutrients, with Pakistan not far behind. Associated health risks of a high protein diet include constipation, reduced energy, bad breath, difficultly concentrating, kidney problems, heart problems, high cholesterol and even diabetes. While there must be a crackdown on illegal meat to protect public health, we have to realise that there are other ways to protect ourselves.