A former director from the Zoochilpan Zoo in Chilpancingo, Mexico, stands accused of slaughtering and cooking four pygmy goats who lived at the tourist attraction.
José Rubén Nava is said to have ordered the deaths of the four male goats. They were then served up as part of a large Christmas party banquet.
“These four animals were slaughtered and cooked on the zoo’s premises, and were served as food at the year-end party,” Fernando Ruiz Gutierrez, the state environment department’s director of wildlife said in a statement.
“This put the health of the people who ate them at risk because these animals were not fit for human consumption.”
The discovery came after Nava was removed from his post on January 12, 2023, following the death of a deer. The investigation that followed uncovered illegal animal trades, as well as the fate of the four pygmy goats.
It remains unclear if Nava has been formally charged for his offenses, or if he has taken legal counsel. However, the state environmental department claims to have found evidence of deer and Watusi cattle (known for their large horns) being sold to private buyers. This is said to have been done without proper accounting or traceability.
It is still legal to own wild animals in Mexico, unless they have been stolen from their natural habitats. Buying them from a zoo would be permitted, however relevant paperwork should be in place.
In addition, Nava stands accused of trading a zebra for tools. He stated they were needed to carry out vital repairs at the Zoochilpan Zoo site. Despite his reasoning, the state environmental department is yet to locate any of the said tools.
Pygmy goats as pets
Due to their size, pygmy goats are most commonly reared as pets, not as a food source.
Some homesteaders choose to rear the small animals for goat milk and meat yields. However, zoos house them for visitors to observe.
When permitted to reach full maturity, pygmy goats can live for around 10-15 years and are said to be intelligent and affectionate animals.