Donkey population declining in Andhra, official says ‘misconception’ of aphrodisiac

West Godavari: People in Andhra Pradesh are reportedly consuming donkey meat under the misconception of it being aphrodisiac, leading to a rapid decline in the animal’s population in the past five years, according to a senior official.

Dr Dhanalakshmi, Assistant Director, Department of Animal Husbandry, Andhra Pradesh said that donkeys are being illegally slaughtered in the state leading to the declining population of donkeys from 10,161 in 2012 to a total of 4,678 in 2019.

“The government conducts a livestock census at the interval of five years, and the results of the 2019 survey show a decline of 54 per cent within just five years. If the same trend continues, donkeys will disappear in Andhra Pradesh within four to five years,” said Dr Dhanalakshmi.

The director said that among one of the reasons for the decline in the donkey population is “the domestication by people who traditionally used it for carrying heavy loads”

“Another reason that came to our notice is the illegal slaughtering. There is a misconception in the state that donkey meat is an aphrodisiac and increases fertility,” she said.

Dr Dhanalakshmi added under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) guidelines, consumption of donkey meat illegal.