Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Even Nilgais Get the Blues

March 23rd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Nature just hasn’t seen fit to color many terrestrial animals blue, which is why the mere mention of the concept usually makes us think exclusively of fictional beasts. But as it turns out, blue bulls are rather common in India, and they have recently been causing serious problems:

Led by Una district committee of Himachal Kisan Sabha, more than 1,000 farmers from Beet area participated in a massive demonstration against the alleged inept functioning of the state government and the district administration in “rescuing them from incessant attacks from wild animals, especially blue bulls.”

“The menace of blue bulls has also cost many night riders with their lives as the jump of the animal is sufficient to kill the rider. More than a dozen people have died because of this. The peasantry is forced either to not to sow any crop because of which large tracts of land is left barren or have to keep a vigil 24 hours to protect the sown crop. Even the cropping pattern has changed in the area,” a release stated.

The state government has now reclassified blue bulls as a sort of vermin, and legalized their selective killing. This predictably has raised the ire of both environmentalists and religious fundamentalists, the latter because they deem the nilgai sacred.

This is a tough call, as is usually the case when man battles animal for territorial rights. We could, of course, entirely wipe out any species we chose in order to make farmers’ lives easier. But we do not, because on a very primal level we realize the intrinsic value of life—even for living entities that lack our mental faculties. Yet we also expect animals to have some respect for human concepts like private property, which really isn’t feasible. (See: “The Scorpion and the Frog.”)

We’re gonna reserve judgment on the Himachal blue bull controversy until we learn more about the greens’ charges that the villagers are concocting their tales of woe because they want to eat the nilgais—or perhaps export the meat to the West, where it fetches quite a pretty penny.

(Image via The Bottle Cap Man)

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