The Indian state of Goa, a popular tourist hot spot on the country's west coast, may consider classifying the peacock — India's beloved national bird — as "vermin." The move follows complaints that the creatures are causing environmental damage and eating farmers' crops.
Goa's agricultural minister, Ramesh Tawadkar, said that a committee, established to discuss the recent ravages of "monkeys and wild boars," would also consider what to do about the "nuisance" caused by the finely feathered birds.
"Some farmers said that peacocks also were damaging their crops in fields in hilly areas. The committee will also assess whether peacocks should be declared vermin or nuisance species," Tawadkar told local media.
Such a designation may allow authorities to conduct periodic culls of the species.
"Goa seems to be trying to … [have] India’s national bird labelled this way so that they may be hunted and killed," Poorva Joshipura, head of PETA India, told Agence France Presse.
The state's legislature courted controversy not so long ago after it removed coconut trees from a list of protected trees — categorizing them as "palms" instead. Opposition politicians suggested this would pave the way for further deforestation in order to develop new resorts.
Peacocks in India are birds loaded with symbolism and, for centuries, images of the creatures have adorned works of devotional and courtly art.
More on WorldViews