Tobacco-addict sheep gorges on cigarettes

Jan 09, 2018

Residents of a village near Mandya in South India are amazed by a sheep, which has made a remarkable change to its diet. Addicted to nicotine, it loves to feed on cigarettes and other tobacco products, preferring them over its regular fodder. It can be usually spotted near tea shops pestering smokers for a few cigarettes. As the strange diet has turned the sheep into a local celebrity, many of them pamper it. As they offer cigarettes, the sheep gorges on them. While it prefers cigarettes, the sheep is open to gulping down hand-rolled ‘beedis’ and chewing tobacco as well.Yashwant, who owns the sheep, said it began feeding on cigarette butts it came across while grazing. “It could even be seen licking discarded sachets of chewing tobacco,” he said. “The addiction grew and now it prefers cigarettes to its regular fodder,” he added. The local farmers use tobacco in small doses to deworm animals. They say animals fall sick if they are made to eat tobacco in large quantities. In 2011, a team of researchers probed the impact of cigarette butt consumption on humans and animals. In the study published in The BMJ they reported that nicotine ingestion caused excessive salivation, excitement, tremors, vomiting, lack of coordination, weakness, convulsions, respiratory failure and even death in animals.But the tobacco-addict sheep carries on feeding on cigarettes paying little heed to local wisdom or scientific findings. “It has even put on some weight and looks healthy,” said Mari Gowda, a local resident.