Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—While people worry about patenting of up market plant products like medicinal because of transnational interest, the India’s
unique biodiversity of domesticated animals is disappearing due to
lack of attention. The relationship between livestock and farming is
now under tremendous pressure from different sources and records
decreasing trend in the region. Keep this in mind, the Animal Welfare
Board of India (AWBI), the statutory body of the Government of India,
has issued advisory to all state governments/UTs recommending the
National Code of Practices for management animals across the country.
The Board has asked all the state governments to
introduce and implement the Code of Practices as a parameter and
reference for dairy cattle management in India. It is felt that if
dairy animals raised humanely are healthier and could be more
productive. With increase in demand for milk more and more cows and
buffaloes are at risk of suffering painful health problems and life
spans due to over breeding, poor upkeep, confinement and
overmedication of livestock in the country.
The Board has recommended the Code of Practices as a
comprehensive publication with advice on breeding, housing practices
and guidelines for feed, shelter and housing dairy animals. As such it
can help to ensure humane and sustainable agriculture practices for
high welfare milk production.
It is reported that there is an overall decrease of
35 per cent in cattle population but buffalo population has recorded
an increase of 25 per cent in Haryana. According to a survey the
population of sheep, goat and pig has recorded steep decline in
Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. In Haryana the decline is 50.4
per cent; 52.5 per cent and 82.9 per cent respectively compared to
14.5 per cent (sheep); 3.7 per cent (goat) and 57.1 per cent (pig)
population in Himachal Pradesh. But state has shown an increase of 3.5
per cent in buffalo population.
In Punjab, there is overall decrease of 22.7 per
cent in domesticated animal population. The state has also shown a
decline of 2.9 per cent in buffalo population. State has also recorded
decrease of 49.5 per cent; 32.9 per cent and 69.8 per cent in the
population of sheep, goat and pig population.”Protection of livestock
sector is not just to fulfill its traditional role of providing milk,
wool, meat, eggs and manure but is necessary to incentivize the sector
for the health of agriculture and sustainable development of farmers,”
said official of animal husbandry, Punjab.
The AWBI has specified that all cattle premises in
the state must be registered according to the Registration of Cattle
Premises Rules, 1978 under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960.
And while registering and during inspections, the “National Code of
Practices of Management of Dairy Animals in India” should be used as
guidelines to ensure welfare of dairy animals. In addition, the AWBI
has requested that the Commissioner of Animal Husbandry Department of
India encourage and ensure welfare of cattle, including training to
implement the recommendations of the Code of Practices across the
The President of the Veterinary Council has been
asked by the AWBI to introduce the Code of Practices to the veterinary
curriculum and to ensure veterinary students are equipped to implement
Gajender Sharma, World Animal Protection Country
Director, said: “This is a significant step to improving the lives of
millions of dairy animals in India. Through our partnership with the
NDRI and the endorsement of the Code of Practices by the AWBI, we are
helping India’s dairy farmers to adopt better animal husbandry
practices, to increase milk production and quality, while protecting
India tops in cattle wealth in the world with 15 per
cent of world’s cattle population and 57 per cent of buffaloes are in
India. Despite of this impressive unique feature, the share of these
animals in Indian food is rather in-impressive.
The Code of Practices has been developed by the
National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) in association with World
Animal Protection, to help improve the welfare of over 50 million
dairy animals in commercial facilities across the country.