The Ministry of Defence is set to close over thirty-nine British-era dairy farms by November, leaving 25,000 high-yielding Frieswal cows homeless and hundreds of workers jobless.
The Ministry of Defence is set to close over thirty-nine British-era dairy farms by November, leaving 25,000 high-yielding Frieswal cows homeless and hundreds of workers jobless. These dairy farms catered to defence forces in the country. The oldest British-era dairy farm is located in Allahabad and it is nearly 128-year-old. Other places where such farms are located includes Haryana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, and Jammu and Kashmir. For over two weeks now, the workers at the Allahabad farm are have been protesting against the closure orders issued by the Ministry of Defence. Indian Express quoted sources in the Ministry of Defence saying that the proposal to shut down the farms has been pending for five years, but has now been cleared.
While talking about the British-era dairy farms and the Frieswal cows that were brought into the country by the Britishers who considered the Indian cows and their milk ‘unhygienic’, M Sahu, the manager was quoted saying, “When they moved from one city or station to another, they would take their cattle as well. This was becoming a burden. So the British army decided to set up dairy farms near major cantonments, the first in Allahabad in February 1889.” Staffer member, Shiv Varan while talking about what will happen to the Frieswal cows said, “No farmer or dairy cooperative will buy these cows because they are found nowhere else in the country, so no one knows how to rear them. They are too expensive to maintain.” He added, “These will be sold to slaughterhouses.”
The Frieswal cows produce over 3,600 litres of milk on an average per lactation cycle each, as compared to the 2,000 litres of milk that is produced by an ordinary cow. Officer in-charge at the Allahabad farm, Lt Col Gyan Prakash said that the Animal Husbandry Department and 25 private dairies have refused to take the cows. He said, “They do not have space, the wherewithal, the expertise to rear these animals. If they are not cared for properly, they will die because they have lower resistance than the ordinary Indian cow.”
Shiv Varan questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “There are nearly 200 contractual employees and daily wage workers (at the Allahabad farm). Where will they go?….How can Modiji let this happen? This government claims to protect gau mata and instead it is kicking them out. We request the central government to save the cows and give us a window of two years before shutting down the farm.”
Up until now, the Allahabad farm has been supplying milk and dairy products to defence forces at the Allahabad Cantonment and the Bamrauli Air Force base.