A Bharatiya Janata Party MLA in Goa said on Wednesday that the coalition government led by his party had failed beef-eaters in the state. Speaking in the Assembly, Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo accused “so-called cow protectors” of blocking beef being brought into Goa at the border, The Hindu reported.

“They [reports] say that some gau rakshaks have thrown phenyl on the beef,” Lobo said. “The Goa Meat Complex has been shut. Some people may not like the way I am talking but if we do not want beef to come from Karnataka and Maharashtra, then certified cattle in Goa should be slaughtered at the government meat complex.”

The daily local demand for beef in Goa, which has a large meat-eating Christian population, is about to 25 tonnes to 30 tonnes. This demand is now fulfilled mainly by meat transported from neighbouring Karnataka as the Goa Meat Complex, the only state-run mechanised abattoir has been struggling.

Lobo said there were large number of people in Goa who eat beef. “There are tourists who come here to eat beef,” Lobo said. “You cannot stop that. But now there is a shortage of beef for our feasts.”

Lobo blamed the government for failing to act against cow vigilantes. In January, beef traders in the state had gone on strike alleging harassment by cow vigilante groups. They called off the strike after four days when the government assured them that the meat would be imported from Karnataka under police protection.

Earlier on Wednesday, former Chief Minister Pratapsingh Rane told the state Assembly that India treats its cows worse than countries that consume beef, reported the Hindustan Times. “We may love cows, but it is still the worst-treated animal in India,” he said. “Our cows are just cast off, forced to eat garbage and plastic and fall victim to road accidents.”