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Dhaka Tribune

BJP leader opposes serving beef to tigers in Assam zoo

The BJP leader's ‘solution’ was to kill the zoo's surplus sambar deer population to feed its carnivores; sambar deer, however, are protected under Indian law

Update : 13 Oct 2020, 06:50 PM

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Satya Ranjan Borah on Monday staged a protest outside the Assam State Zoo against serving beef to tigers and other animals for meals, NDTV reported.

A small group of protestors led by Borah, who claimed to be “anti-beef activists,” blocked the main gate of the zoo in Guwahati as vehicles carrying beef for tigers were trying to pass. They shouted slogans demanding a complete ban on cow slaughter.

“The vehicles carrying meat for the zoo inmates were stopped briefly by some miscreants,” Tejas Mariswamy, divisional forest officer of Assam state zoo, told The Hindustan Times.

“We had to call the police to disperse them. There’s no issue regarding supply of meat to the animals now.”

Mariswamy added that beef is mainly used to feed tigers and lions in the zoo, according to Guwahati Plus.

Borah questioned why the animals can’t be served any other meat.

“In Hindu society we give importance to protection of cow, but it is the staple food for carnivores in the zoo and part of government supply,” he told NDTV.

“Our objection is, why serve beef? Why not other meat?”

The BJP leader suggested that authorities should use the meat of the sambar deer instead.

“The zoo’s sambar deer population is so much that the males have to be kept separately [to slow down breeding],” he claimed.

But Mariswamy said this was illegal. “As per the law we cannot give the meat of zoo animals to the carnivores,” he said. “Also, sambar deer is a wild animal and we cannot kill wild animals.”

The Sambar deer are listed as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are protected under Indian Wildlife Act.

Meanwhile, Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya took cognizance of the matter and said that beef was essential for the animals’ nutritious needs.

Suklabaidya added that some states have opted to feed carnivores buffalo meat instead of beef. He told Guwahati Plus that Assam does not have enough stock of buffalo meat.

Cattle slaughter is not banned in Assam. Unlike many other Indian states, the law in Assam also does not distinguish between buffaloes and cows or bulls.

 

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