A massive flock of goats has been gobbling up entire villages in northern India, the second largest-scale goat slaughter in the country, and a disturbing trend in which the animals are often slaughtered without any regard for their own health.
The latest report, which the Government of India says is an accurate count, shows that the herd has swallowed almost 2.1 million goats, a rate of around 4,000 a day.
According to the Ministry of Environment, Rural Development and Forestry, the animals, whose numbers reached 4,100 in September, were killed in villages of Kachipura, Nalini, Chittagong and Kanpur, the most populated areas in India.
Many goats are killed for meat or for export.
Farmers are told that the animals need no anaesthetic.
“They are killed in cold water and they bleed profusely,” a farmer said.
But it’s not just a case of killing the goats.
Some farmers are also killing the goat owners by poisoning them with poisons.
Farmers have reportedly used cyanide as a pesticide to kill goats that are used for milking cows.
In some cases, goats are also being killed for food.
“I have had my goats poisoned with poison,” a villager told NDTV, describing how he had shot a goat and eaten its guts.
He added that he was forced to sell the animal and was paid Rs 1,000 ($1.40) a day for his livestock.
“It’s not the goats I have killed, it’s the people who have killed them.
I can’t take any more,” he said.
Many people in India believe the goats are being used for human consumption, especially in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, where the goats and cattle are slaughtered for meat.
The authorities in Andhra said that farmers were killing the animals for their milk and for their cattle.
In one village, a goat farmer, who was not named, said he was trying to buy a cow, but the price of the cow was too high.
“He sold it for Rs 1.5 lakh, and I paid Rs 8,000 for it,” the man said.
“When I came to pick it up, the owner came to me and asked, ‘What do you want?'”
In other cases, farmers have reportedly killed their goats by throwing them into a river and drowning them in the water.
“The goats have drowned in the river in the past few days.
In the last two days, we have seen several goats in the same spot, and they were not dead,” the village chief told NDtv.
“In a few hours, the water level will rise and they will drown,” he added.
The government has issued a warning to farmers that they need to be aware of the risks.
“We are issuing a warning, but we have no idea how many goats are going to die in this way,” said a local official.
“You must be careful.
Do not be careless.
If you do not follow the directions, you will have a bad harvest.”