A unique emu breeding scheme burst in India after investors complained of fraud.
The thousands of emus left abandoned are to be culled and the meat auctioned off.
The emus are being looked after by the state’s animal husbandry department after being abandoned by the companies that have decamped.
Thousands of emus, Australia’s largest native bird, are to be slaughtered and the meat is to be auctioned, said Dharmendra Pratap Yadav, the state’s animal husbandry commissioner.
“Currently, we are taking care of 12,500 birds in 21 farms in Erode, but ultimately, these birds will have to be disposed of,” Yadav said.
“We need to obtain permission from the government and subsequently the court for their disposal, and tenders will be invited from meat processors.”
There are about 5,000 emu farms in the country, spread across states such as Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Gujarat and Punjab, apart from Tamil Nadu, with about 250,000 birds in India.
About Rs.3.85 crore (€550,000) will be needed to take care of the abandoned birds for three months, government officials said.
One official, who didn’t want to be named, said the animal husbandry department has asked the government for funds, and this proposal is in the final stages of approval.
Emu meat is said to be low in fat, and the oil derived from its body fat is supposed to have curative properties. Breeders say a bird gives up to 20kg of meat and up to 6 litres of oil.
Leading poultry companies such as Venky’s (India) Ltd and Suguna Foods Ltd, and meat processor Al Kabeer said they wouldn’t be taking part in any emu meat auction that may be held by the Tamil Nadu government.