The new Uttar Pradesh BJP government’s distaste with meat is not just impacting Lucknow’s non-vegetarian eateries. It turns out that carnivorous animals in Kanpur Zoo too will have to change their eating habits to sync with the political diet of the new chief minister. Hindustan Times reported today that about 70 carnivorous animals housed in the Kanpur Zoological Park have been put on a forced fast due to a short supply of meat since the four slaughterhouses within the ambit of Kanpur Municipal Corporation have been sealed off.
According to multiple reports, Lucknow zoo, which consumes 200 kgs of meat on a daily basis, is reportedly facing a similar crisis where animals have partially starved.
The closure of illegal and mechanised slaughterhouses was one of the main promises of BJP’s election manifesto, and one of the first to be pushed into action after the swearing in of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister on Sunday. A number of abattoirs all over Uttar Pradesh have been subjected to raids and seal-offs in the last four days. But what were the provisions made for those whose diet naturally comprises only and exclusively of meat?
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The Kanpur zoo animals included an adult tiger, a lion and a lioness. According to the zoo officials, adult lions and tigers need upto 8-12 kgs of meat as a daily diet. Even cats and jackals needs about 2 kgs daily. The Kanpur zoo as a whole reportedly needs 150 kgs of meat supply every day, which is outsourced to a contractor who was unable it to supply on Wednesday, due to lack of availability. “The pregnant ones are being given chicken but they are not interested. Many of them have not touched food since morning,” he told HT.
Of course, Kanpur zoo animals are likely to be just one example out of many facing a bizarre existential crisis amidst the meat politics. The government’s lack of foresight in accounting for zoo requirements is appalling but unsurprising.