Mumbai vulture sentences

The cost of building the aviaries and maintaining the vultures is estimated at $5 million spread over 15 years, much less expensive than it would have been without the ready supply of food.

“Most vulture aviaries have to spend huge sums to buy meat, but for us that’s free because the vultures will be feeding on human bodies — on us,” Mr. Mehta said.

Here is more, interesting throughout, and for the pointer I thank Apoorv Trivedi.

Addendum: Here is further commentary on this story.


I always loved that tradition. It's like ashes to ashes, dust to dust, but without the middleman in creating new life.

"The vulture that is India"

"Khurshed Dastoor, one of five Parsi high priests, said that he was not sure members would adhere to a diclofenac ban.

“For 10 years, I have been trying to educate the community to turn off their cellphones before they go inside our most sacred fire temples, and I have failed,” he said. “And now we think the community will give up diclofenac in a couple of months?”


This is the most striking part of the article for me.

I am surprised by how little attention the near-extinction of Indian vultures has gotten in the US. I would have thought it would be a "bigger deal" than it is. Nearly every story I have seen describes it in terms of the effect on Parsi funeral rites. Isn't it a worthy story in itself?

It is to me.

This practice is mentioned in Herodotus' Histories Book I.

This entry missed a key point.
Zubin Mehta is Zoroastrian, the first documented montheistic religion from about 3500 years ago. It is the Zoroastrians who put their dead out for the vultures and who use "symbolic" fire in their religious services. There are but about 70,000 Zoroastrians left, half last generation. Their individual success doomed their collective religion. One
General in the Indian military is a Zoroastrian, now a priest in the Washington DC area. Tata inustries, with cars and airplanes is Zoroastrian. About the minimum occupation of a Zoroastrian is medical doctor. They are so educated that they view their priests with their vast memorization of holy words as ignorant.
Our ignorance about Zoroastrians (magi, Cyrus the Great, Zubin Mehta) leads us to great misunderstandings of religious history and bronze age history.

Very interesting

I'm a journalist who has followed the vulture decline for years. I wrote a long piece about it for Virginia Quarterly Review last year, which covers the Parsis but also other ecological impacts in South Asia. If anyone would like to read it, you can find it here: www.­vqronline.­org/­articles/­2011/­spring/­subramanian-­vultures/­

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