The cow slaughter bill passed by the Karnataka legislative assembly will not hurt the sentiments of the minorities and the poor, but is also expected to increase the expenditure of the Karnataka Zoo Authority (KZA)by a whopping Rs 8 crore each year.
If the Governor gives his consent to the controversial bill, the KZA would have bear the extra expenditure borne out of purchase of mutton and chicken to feed over 400 tigers, leopards and other carnivores kept in captivity.
According to sources, the KZA needs 1700 kg of meat to feed the carnivores in eight zoos in the state. “We used to buy beef at Rs 60 (in Mysore) and Rs 80 (Bangalore). If the bill is passed, then we would have to buy either mutton (Rs 200-250per kg) or chicken (Rs 70 to 100 per kg) to feed the animals. We will incur extra expenditure of Rs 120 to 130 per kg,” said the source.
If the KZA was spending Rs 1.2 lakh on purchase of beef each day, it would have pay Rs 3.7 lakh for buying the same quantity of mutton.
Apart from extra expenditure, health of the animals is another concern for the zoo authorities.
“The fat content in beef is as low as two per cent, but mutton has a fat content of 10 to 11 per cent. If you have to give the same quantity of mutton instead of beef, the fat content could cause health problems among the animals. Subsequently, the health maintenance bills of the zoos will also go up.”
The rescue centres, which house confiscated circus animals, also face a similar predicament.
Saving the cow and buffalo from the guillotine is fine, but why should the poor carnivores animals suffer for no mistake of theirs. Tigers and leopards have no religion, no caste, no boundaries, no language, no political affiliations.
The Karnataka government would have to invest in deer, sambar and gaur breeding centres near zoos to feed the hungry carnivores. But then, killing deer and sambar could raise the hackles of conservation-oriented and cash-hungry NGOs.
Hopefully, there will be a solution for the carnivores’ sake.