Cattle saved from slaughter
From unauthorised abattoir in Welisara:
The government imposed a ban on the slaughter of animals and the
closure of liquor bars, taverns and casinos for a period of three days
from 16th-18th of May 2011 in view of the Sambuddathva celebrations this
month. According to police however it is during prohibition times that
bootleggers make a fortune by supplying liquor and beef to unauthorised
outlets in the City of Colombo. Prior to Vesak celebrations last year,
several illicit hooch dens were raided and barrels containing unlawfully
manufactured liquor (Goda) and unlawfully distilled spirits (Kasippu)
were seized by the police.
Last week, the OIC of the Walana Vice Squad, Inspector Duminda
Balasuriya was tipped off that an illicit cattle slaughter house was
being operated at Mahabage Welisara.
The informant told the OIC that cattle were transported from distant
places such as Anuradhapura, Puttalam, Embilipitiya, Moneragala and
Ratnapura to the abattoir at Welisara.
The informant further told that cattle stricken with diseases, are
being slaughtered without the approval of the Veterinary surgeon or by
the Public Health Inspector (PHI) of Welisara town. In fact the
slaughter house had been raided on previous occasions. Meanwhile the
cattle tethered to the walls of the abattoir were also seized by the
police. As the information appeared to be credible, OIC Walana Vice
Squad detailed a 12 member police team led by Sub Inspector Dharmasiri
to raid the premises.
The team was despatched to Samagi Mawatha at Welisara-Kandana last
Tuesday with instructions to raid the abattoir if the allegations were
true. The police party travelled to Welisara in a vehicle.
They arrived at Welisara around 2 a.m. Having parked the vehicle in a
less conspicuous area of the town, the policemen walked to Samagi
Mawatha, where the abattoir was situated. The policemen were clad in
laymanís garb to shield their identity from the prying eyes of the
They lay in ambush near the abattoir until 4 a.m. By that time the
slaughter of cattle had began. When the policemen walked in to the
abattoir in the wee hours of the morning, what they witnessed was a
Five slaughtered cattle and their flesh lay on the blood splattered
floor. They found four more cattle tethered to a wall just outside the
abattoir. The cattle were to be slaughtered that morning if not for the
intervention of the police.
The two butchers present at the abattoir were taken into police
custody along with the knives and implements used by the butchers in the
slaughtering process. Police questioned the two suspects and learnt that
they were residents of Wattala and Ragama areas. Despite earlier raids
and cases still pending before courts, the abattoir had functioned over
the years violating Municipal laws. Residents have told police that
butchers were responsible for polluting the area by dumping offal such
as skulls and fragments of bones and flesh in a land adjacent to the
abattoir. Complaints made by residents about the stench had gone
unheeded. They have fallen on deaf years, police said.
Apart from the stench the dumping of offal has created a bigger
environmental problem as a whole. The two suspects who were produced
before the Wattala Magistrate pleaded guilty to the charges and were
fined Rs. 17,500.
The Magistrate postponed the inquiry with regard to the four cattle
seized by the police. The cattle have been handed over to the police
with instructions to trace its owners. The Magistrate ordered the 600
kilos of beef seized by the police to be destroyed as it was not fit for
The statements of the Public Health Inspector was also recorded with
regard to five slaughtered cattle. The Public Health Inspector (PHI) in
his statement said the cattle was slaughtered without his knowledge.
Last year the Walana Vice Squad raided the same abattoir at Samagi
Mawatha and found 35 buffaloes and cows slaughtered on the previous
night. The unauthorised abattoir was the largest where over 100
buffaloes are slaughtered every day. Police learnt the buffaloes had
been transported from the North Central and the Eastern provinces by
It was further revealed that the suspects involved in transporting
cattle to Colombo had used false documents. The 1,105 killogrammes of
meat found at the abattoir was worth rupees 100,000. Police also seized
41 heads of cattle including buffaloes and cows worth over Rs. one
A few years a ago the Central Anti Vice Striking Force (CAVSF) raided
an illegal buffaloe slaughter house at Payagala and found the carcases
of two buffaloes, eight live buffaloes and two cows and a calf.