Explained: Why illegal donkey slaughter rackets are on the rise in AP

There is quite a demand for donkey meat among the rich. The slaughters are being reported in five districts of AP—Bapatla, Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna, and NTR.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  24 Nov 2022 10:12 AM GMT
Explained: Why illegal donkey slaughter rackets are on the rise in AP

Amaravati: Donkey slaughters have become rampant in Andhra Pradesh and are taking place in public places, under bridges and flyovers. There is quite a demand for donkey meat among the rich. The slaughters are being reported in five districts of AP—Bapatla, Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna, and NTR.

How the illegal donkey meat racket works

Donkeys are smuggled and stolen from states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, and Gujarat. When the donkeys are no longer fit for work, cannot get pregnant, or get sick, the owners sell them. Some leave the animals at night when they find no purpose for the donkeys. These stolen/smuggled donkeys are transported to Andhra Pradesh. When selling, the donkey owners do not even verify where the donkeys are being taken to. Each donkey is sold for anything between Rs. 15,000–30,000, depending on their weight and health.

After bringing them to Andhra Pradesh, local gangs kill the donkeys and discard their parts—heads, legs, and flesh attached to the tails. It is horrifying that while killing them, a vessel is placed under the donkey to collect its blood which is also sold. Donkey meat is sold for Rs. 700 per kg.

"The genitals of the animal are auctioned for more money," said Meet Ashar, manager of Cruelty Response Projects, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India.

How did this racket bust?

PETA India has offices in Mumbai and Delhi. Six months ago, a team from PETA India visited Andhra Pradesh to investigate an animal cruelty case. During their investigation, they found that donkey slaughter has become rampant in Andhra Pradesh. A team of animal activists—Gopal Surabathula of Animal Rescue Organisation, Vijay Kishore Palika of East Godavari Society for Protection and Care of Animals (SPCA), and Tejovanth Anupoju of Help for Animals Society—helped the PETA team.

"We brought to light the slaughtering business. After a complaint was reported to the district police, we conducted joint operations and arrested the gangs. The rescued donkeys have been moved to safety ahead of permanent rehabilitation," said Ashar.

Why is it so rampant?

According to PETA India, a lot of false information is being spread among the public. In Andhra Pradesh, butchers sell donkey meat by peddling unscientific myths about its supposed benefits, like eating their flesh or drinking their blood cures disease and increases virility. A false belief is spread that donkey blood can enhance sex drive, allow an individual to run faster, and become stronger.

A similar example was seen in the Tollywood movie 'Krack,' starring Ravi Teja and Shruti Hasan, where a scene shows a villain drinking donkey blood.

"While the uneducated people from low-income families are part of donkey slaughters, the educated families buy the meat and blood. There are places where donkey meat is mixed with goat meat, as goat meat costs more," said Ashar.

1,500 kg donkey meat seized in 2022

According to PETA India's reports, so far, a total of 1,500 kgs of meat was seized and 78 donkeys were rescued from the slaughtering business in Andhra Pradesh this year. This was in six cases reported in Chirala, Bapatla, Ongole, Guntur, and NTR districts.

Is the state administration ignoring it?

Surprisingly, during a recent raid conducted by PETA, the slaughterhouse was just a few meters from the Tadepalli police station in Andhra Pradesh. However, the police couldn't identify the slaughtering business.

Speaking to NewsMeter, one of the animal activists (on condition of anonymity) said, "Donkey slaughter, till now, is mostly done under highways, bridges, and flyovers. In a recent case, it happened in a busy area in Vijayawada. But the police haven't noticed or taken any action."

The activist asked, "Why did an organisation from Mumbai have to come to Andhra Pradesh and fight against animal cruelty? Why were the state administration and the police ignoring the cruel things happening before them?"

What does the law say?

Killing donkeys and eating donkey meat violates several laws. In seven years, India's donkey population has declined by 61%.

Donkey slaughter violates Section 429 of the IPC and is punishable with a jail term of up to five years, a fine, or both. Killing donkeys is also an offense under Section 11(1)(a) and (l) of the PCA Act 1960. Consumption of donkey meat is illegal under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, and slaughtering animals in public places is banned under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules 2001.

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