Days after Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, a sudden ban on slaughterhouses that government authorities claim are being run illegally has left many in a lurch. This includes not just meat lovers but also the carnivorous animals housed in UP zoos.
According to reports, lions in a Kanpur zoo are being forced to eat chicken and mutton instead of buffalo meat as all four slaughterhouses falling under the jurisdiction of Kanpur Municipal Corporation (KMC) have been closed.
"The zoo requires 150 kg of buffalo meat every day. The meat is provided by a contractor who supplied it on Tuesday but could not today," the Hindustan Times quoted a Kanpur Zoological Park official as saying.
Most worrying for zoo authorities is the case of a pregnant lioness who has refused to eat chicken.
"The pregnant ones are being given chicken but they are not interested. Many of them have not touched food since morning," the zoo official said.
Animals in Lucknow and Etawah's Lion Safari have also reportedly refused to eat chicken served to them because of a shortage of buffalo meat.
Deprived of their regular diet, the animals are becoming restless. Chicken and mutton are low on fat and do not match their usual diet. According to a report in News18, the Lucknow zoo needs 235 kg of meat everyday.
On Wednesday, the newly formed BJP government in UP also ordered a blanket crackdown on cow smuggling. Chief Secretary, UP, Rahul Bhatnagar said that senior officials across the state's 75 districts have been directed to inspect slaughterhouses. The Lucknow Municipal Corporation meanwhile sealed nine meat shops in the state capital.
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