The slaughter of cattle will soon be banned in Sri Lanka, the government said yesterday, in a move widely viewed as a concession to increasingly influential Buddhists in the ruling party.
The government said it would push through the ban after finalising a scheme to care for cattle too old to plough fields.
In neighbouring India, restrictions on cow slaughter imposed by the Hindu-nationalist government led to an increase in old cows wandering the streets and creating a traffic nuisance.
Sri Lanka has experienced a decline in beef consumption in recent years, with Buddhists and Hindus shunning it for religious reasons.
The industry has shrunk in recent years, with just 29,870 tonnes of beef produced last year, compared with 38,700 tonnes a decade earlier.