A video of several sick goats lying in what appears to be a wholesale meat market in Ajmer, Rajasthan, has resurfaced with claims that the mutton livestock has been infected in the wake of the outbreak of Coronavirus in the country.
The video shows sick goats strewn in a fenced premise as the narrator raises panic. He identifies the place as Bakra Mandi (mutton market) in Ajmer.
The narrator claims that the female goats have been infected with a certain kind of virus, which has spread like an epidemic, across villages. He can be heard as saying, "Virus has spread in a village, and the entire village has been vacated. The goats are alive and they are eating, but they have become weak. They cannot stand up. Trucks of goats are lying sick." The narrator then calls another employee from the market, addressed as Feroze Bhai, who affirms the same and raises concern about the sickness of the goats.
In the later part of the video, another staff from the meat market, states that the mutton livestock has been lying sick for over three weeks.
The footage is viral with claims that these goats have been infected with the novel Coronavirus. The English translation of the caption reads, "Send it to all the groups as soon as possible. Mutton has been detected with Coronavirus." (original text in Hindi: जितना जल्दी हो सब गुरुप मे भेजो बकरा मे भी कोरोना वाएरस पाया गया है)
As many as 147 people have been tested positive with COVID-19 in the country so far.
Warning: Disturbing content
Interestingly, in the entire footage, neither the narrator, nor the others who raise panic, can be heard saying that the diseased mutton livestock have been infected with COVID-19.
Several other posts with the same video discourage the consumption of mutton in the wake of the 'Coronavirus' detected among goats as well. The posts have been captioned as, "Virus is spreading in Ajmer's Bakra Mandi. Villages are being evacuated and there is no treatment for the same. Do not eat mutton, as the virus can be transmitted to you."
(Original post in Hindi: ''अजमेर की बकरा मंडी वायरस फेल रहा है गांव के गांव खाली हो गए हैं कई पर इलाज नहीं हो रहा है बकरे बकरी का मांस नहीं खाए वायरस फेल सकता है")
The video has been widely shared on Facebook, with similar claims.
The post is archived here.
Upon relevant keyword search, BOOM was able to find the same video, uploaded to YouTube, in December, last year.
However the first positive case of COVID-19 was reported in India much later on January 30, 2020.
BOOM reached out to Dr Reeta Padamnabhan, additional director of the Animal Husbandry department, Ajmer, who rubbished reports about a viral epidemic in goats in the wake of the outbreak of Coronavirus.
We further contacted offices of the joint director of animal husbandry in the neighbouring districts of Pali and Tonk, and learnt that no such infection was reported in the areas too.
BOOM also spoke to a Jaipur based livestock dealer, Asif Qureshi, who claimed that no such incident has been reported after the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Qureshi said, "There is no such news of contamination of goat meat with viruses at this moment." Qureshi further pointed out that the reason for the lethargy in goats could be because of winters. "During the winter season, goats are not taken to graze in the fields, which can result in sickness," he added.
The same was reiterated by Dr Partha Sarathi Jana, Veterinary Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine professor, who said, "In winter and thereafter viral diseases are common among livestock. Consuming meat of cured animals is harmless during the same time."
Can Coronavirus infect livestock and chicken?
BOOM reached out to Dr Kunal Batabyal, assistant professor of Veterinary Microbiology at the West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, who rubbished claims that the novel virus, believed to have originated in Wuhan, can affect animals. "COVID-19 is a human virus and it cannot infect broiler chicken or mutton."
According to the journals in the Centre for Bio-Technology and Information portal and PubMed, an archive of journals and database related to Health and Life Sciences Bovine Coronavirus or BCV can cause winter dysentery and respiratory illness among livestock as well as wild animals such as calf, goats, giraffe, antilope, sambar, water deer and water buck. You can read more about it here.
Updated On: 2020-03-18T17:34:44+05:30
Claim Review : Video shows goats infected with novel Coronavirus in Ajmer, Rajasthan
Claimed By : Facebook posts and YouTube videos
Fact Check : False