GOAT GAZE: Mountain goats designated for Dasain sacrifices arrive in a container truck in Kathmandu on Tuesday from Mustang. With the cost of Tibetan sheep going up, traders are relying on supply from within Nepal.
No Dasain is complete without the mandatory mutton meal, and it seems this appetite will not be dampened even in the aftermath of earthquakes and blockades. Three-quarters of Nepal’s goat consumption during this festival season is met by imports from India, sheep and mountain goats from Tibet make up to 25 per cent, the rest are goats from Nepal.
Meat consumption didn’t go down by much even in last year’s Dasain which happened right in the middle of the Indian blockade. And the closure
of the earthquake-damaged Kodari Highway to China hasn’t stopped the import of ungulates from Tibet.
Nepal’s per capita consumption of meat is 10 kg, higher than India which is 5kg person per year, but much lower than the United States which consumes 120 kg per capita. Goat meat accounts for only a quarter of all meat consumed in Nepal.
It may be worth noting that recent research has found that goats have long-term memory and are able to solve problems relying on their cognitive abilities. Goats make eye contact with humans and this is an indication that they interact with us at a visual level, even looking at humans for help if they cannot solve a certain problem – traits similar to those shown by dogs and horses.
“We need to rethink our relationship with goats, and how we raise these animals. Goats are sentient beings with surprising intelligence, and our relationships with them can be special,” says Ketan Dulal, a specialist in animal behaviour at the University of Prince Edward Island in the UK.