With several state governments grappling with the issue of rising numbers of stray cattle, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has come up with a proposal that is likely to kill two birds with one stone
With several state governments grappling with the issue of rising numbers of stray cattle, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying has come up with a proposal that is likely to kill two birds with one stone; use stray cows as surrogates to give birth to ‘elite cows’ who have high milk yield. The proposal made by Dr Praveen Malik, Animal Husbandry Commissioner, also said that a multi-pronged strategy must be deployed including promotion of sex-sorted semen and back-crossing of cross breeds with indigenous breeds to improve fertility, The Indian Express reported. The same was made at the National Conference of Agriculture Zaid/ Summer Campaign 2020 which was held in Delhi last week.
Among Dr Malik’s other suggestions, he also said that there must be a value addition and enhanced utilisation of cow products like milk, ghee and urine. “We are planning to do a pilot on this (stray cows as surrogates). We would like to show people that unproductive animals can be made useful. This is happening in other countries like Denmark and New Zealand,” The Indian Express cited him as saying. The pilot project is likely to be launched in government-owned farms.
Boosting rural economy
Stating that the proposal is plausible, K M L Pathak, former Deputy Director General (Animal Sciences), Indian Council of Agriculture Research, said that the measure will also boost rural economy. “Stray cattle are genetically inferior and, by using this method, we can produce high-quality cows,” he told the newspaper, adding that for surrogation, cows aged between 2 and 12 years can be used.
Several states such as Uttar Pradesh have severe stray cattle numbers and are working to find a solution. According to the latest figures on stray livestock, the number stood at 5.29 million in 2012. Out of this, one-fifth of the stray cattle is in Uttar Pradesh alone.