Ban opponents created the Twitter hashtag #banistan, which is trending along with #meatban, urging people to "eat and let eat".
Members of the tiny, but financially powerful, Jain community will observe a religious fast for eight days from Friday. Officials said they demanded the ban as their religion prescribes non-violence to all living beings.
The ban in Mumbai would be imposed on four non-consecutive days from today (September 10), said Kaleem Pathan, deputy general manager of the city's Deonar abattoir. It covers the slaughter of buffaloes, goats and hogs, but excludes fish and poultry.
It is not unusual for authorities to impose meat-free days and ban alcohol on India's national days, but the latest strictures angered many who said religious groups should not impose their preferences on an entire city.
Last year a similar three day ban was imposed in Mumbai at the instigation of Jain groups. Members of the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) want this ban to become an annual event, with member Manoj Kotak telling Indian media earlier this year he had met Mumbai officials and had asked the civic commissioner “that from next year onwards, he shuts down slaughterhouses of his own accord”.
However, many oppose the ban. Writing on Twitter, Mohammed Ali Qureshi, president of industry body the Bombay Suburban Beef Dealers' Association, said: "Jains do not eat onions and garlic as well, so tomorrow is the government going to ban those items also?"
One judge involved in ruling on the case took to Facebook to cast doubt on the wisdom of the meat ban. Markandey Katju withheld judgement on the Rajasthan High Court's decision to quash the ban, a move which Mumbai authorities used to justify it.
'In two minds'
Writing on Facebook on 9 September, Markandey Katju said: “After reserving judgement in that case I was in two minds about what would be the correct judgement. After all India is a secular country and what one eats is one’s private affair.”
Katju went on to explain that an important consideration was the precedent set by other cities including Ahmedabad where similar bans have been in place for decades. But he then conceded he had “some doubts” over his decision.
India is home to 300 million cattle and is the world's largest beef exporter and fifth-biggest consumer.