Satya Ranjan Borah, a Bharatiya Janata Party leader in a new demand has asked to put a stop on the practice of feeding beef to the zoo animals and a ban on cow slaughter. He stated that the zoo has been keeping the Sambar deer males separated in order to control their growing population and that instead the Sambar deer population can be used to feed the big cats and thus give rise to self-sufficiency through a natural process. He went on to say that if the Assam government and the zoo officials do not stop supplying beef to the carnivores, they will have to “face the consequences”.
Some people from right-wing organisations held a protest in Guwahati, outside the Assam State Zoo and demanded putting an end to feeding beef to the tigers, lions, leopards, etc. The protestors even blocked the gates and tried to stop vehicles carrying beef for the animals from entering the zoo premises. The zoo authorities then asked the activists to take their demands to the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) with whom the decision lies on what food needs to be fed to the animals.
Assam Forest Minister Parimal Suklabaidya said that the wildlife population needs to be healthy and their dietary needs have to be taken care of, highlighting that the animals cannot survive on mutton or pork alone. The Minister added that serving buffalo meat instead of beef is not an option for the state as Assam does not have as many buffaloes. He stated that the state floats tenders to obtain beef, buffalo meat, pork and mutton. Suklabaidya said, “I have spoken with a few scientists on the possibility and consequences of providing the animals, meat other than beef. No use of creating an uproar over the issue.”