The Cock and Bull Story of Kerala’s Cattle-Development Policy – Part 1

Men are generally more troublesome than women. Males are more prone to aggression, boisterousness, crime and violence. They are also more difficult to control. Men also tend to eat/consume more than women and as such are more expensive to maintain. Putting these facts together and adding on the cost-benefit analysis too, it will be safe to assume that men drain the exchequer. In the current scenario of food shortage and economic depression can any state go on wasting more resources on men? For a more peaceful society with lesser economic drain, men have to go; they have to be banished, rendered useless or eliminated. The institution of marriage has to be banned; a total ban on sex has to be called for. All men have to be castrated save a few outstanding specimens like Brad Pitt, Daniel Craig, Imran Khan, David Beckam, Usain Bolt, Salman Rushdie and Narayanamurthy; they can be maintained specially by the state. The semen of these men has to be collected, branded and distributed through hospitals, medical stores and sperm banks at a premium. Women wishing to bear children can go choose from the list and opt for artificial insemination. The male children born in this way have to be castrated or eliminated. Girl children can be maintained. For a period 25 years only the semen from the above set of men will be supplied, after which these men are eliminated and a new set brought in.

How does the idea strike you? Idiotic, implausible or outrageous?

Breed Improvement Policy of Kerala Government and it’s Animal Husbandry Department

It may sound all the above to us mortals, but for the geniuses of the Kerala Government and it’s Animal Husbandry Department this is the ideal way of developing and improving a breed. No, I am not exaggerating one bit; the cattle development policy of Kerala State has been framed exactly along the same lines. It’s a shame that this law, in existence for the past 52 years, has failed to prick the conscience of a state that boasts of 100% literacy.

Any action based on abysmal thinking and dismal planning naturally will lead only to results that are disastrous; as is evident from where the State’s breeds stand now

There is only one 100% genuine & pure cattle breed in Kerala, and the only reason why it’s is so is because the Policy makers or the Veterinary experts had absolutely no role in the development of this breed.

A look at the happenings in cattle-field, the causes and effects of Govt policy on cattle, ever since the State was formed, will tell the story.

Like the rest of the nation, Kerala also started with the traditional agrarian economy. Agrarian economies are heavily dependent on their cattle, this being the case, cattle were always part of their culture and heritage they always took great pride in maintaining their breeds. Cattle could never be separated from agriculture; both complemented each other and were seen as one.

Contrary to popular belief the Vechur was not the only breed of Kerala. From Kanyakumari to Kasaragode, there are several breeds of cattle each belonging to the local area. The Kasaragode Dwarf, the Vadakara-Dwarf, the Wayanadan spotted cow, and the high range dwarf cattle belonging to different hill stations. It is not surprising that all the above breeds along with the Vechur share the same DNA. These breeds are all small sized and adaptation to different conditions produced minor physical differences in them.

These dwarf cattle fulfilled their roles to perfection. They were backyard animals, so easy and light on maintenance. They performed the dual roles of supporting agriculture as well as the domestic requirements. They could survive on a very small diet and yet provide the owner enough dung and urine for his farm along with 1-2 litres of medicinal milk.

Local Breeds neglected after Industrial Revolution

Then came the industrial revolution, it’s effects were global and it was only a matter of time before it was thrust on Kerala too. Lack of vision, imagination and brains made the policy makers ape the west blindly. The conventional wisdom on cattle was rubbished. Suddenly the local breeds were projected as ‘inferior’ and ‘useless’ animals, as they provided only about 2-3 litres compared to the 20-30 litres that their foreign counterparts produced. Simultaneously, the false notion that milk was needed to consumed in large quantities for health, was spread. Previously, in the Desi-Cow phase, only children and pregnant women were asked to consume milk, for the rest half a spoon of ghee or 1-2 spoons of curd would suffice.

Armed with the new propaganda the state Govt quickly established how essential it was increase milk production in the interest of public health. The Indo-Swiss project was initiated shortly. The Kerala Govt sought the collaboration of the Swiss Govt to bring in the Swiss Browns that yielded 30 litres of milk a day. Suddenly the local breeds were viewed as a threat to milk production. One of the conditions that the Swiss side insisted on was a total elimination of the local breeds. According to them surviving desi-breeds posed two problems, they would not only reduce the milk production but also posed the danger of adulterating the foreign breeds. Thus born was the draconian law The Kerala Livestock Improvement Act 1961
which was subsequently amended in 1968 with more severe penalties severe penalties

This act forbids anyone from rearing of bulls capable of reproduction. It effectively brings about killing of bulls as no one would want a bull that could not reproduce.

A state sponsored crackdown on bulls followed. If anyone was rearing a bull the Live-stock inspector authorized by the AH Dept would castrate it forcibly. Thus the only way to breed cattle was by Artificial Insemination (AI). For the past 52 years cattle from Kerala have been denied the rights to mate, can you believe?

Within no time the native breed population dwindled. Only very few bulls survived, they were the ones in remote inaccessible places or the Temple Bulls.

Discriminating Native Breed Cattle has caused Decline in Milk yield and Farming

The decline of the native breeds marked the decline of farming and milking. Basically, it turned these self-reliant sustainable ventures into heavily externally dependent activity on which the owner/entrepreneur had little control. The low-maintenance, hardy, local breeds that provided farm inputs were gone and in place came high-maintenance hybrid cattle. The small and marginal farmers could never feed these breeds solely from their farm grown stuff. This necessitated purchase of expensive cattle feed from outside. This apart the framers experienced that they could not maintain soil fertility with exotic breeds as they used to with the desi-breed, a fact which tests were to confirm decades later. This also forced them to buy farm inputs from outside. Sustainability of farming went for a toss. Likewise, the milk farmers also needed to buy expensive inputs to keep these big breeds going. The situation would worsen in the years and self-sufficient farmers would be turned to be slaves of the system, with no chance of escape.

With Artificial Insemination being the only option, the seed sovereignty of the farmer/cattle herder was lost. There was this huge uproar over Monsanto’s terminator seeds in the state, but most people including all the intellectuals who had led these protests didn’t seem to realise that the State had been following the same policy in the cattle-sector for decades together!

Years went by, the Swiss-Brown made way for the Jersey and the Jersey to the Holstein-Friesians, but these changes failed to change the fortunes of the farmer. The cold country breeds struggled away from home conditions. The slightest Sun would make them weak and froth. Semen from select bulls would be distributed all over the state for extended periods. Up to 5 succeeding generations were inseminated with same semen, resulting in heavy inbreeding. In the beginning of the Indo-Swiss project the milk yield of the Swiss brown was recorded at 30 litres. Today the average yield as admitted by the Govt stands at 7 litres.

Science, technology, specialists, veterinary experts, Govt Backing and crores of funds; utilising all the above for 50 years the progress has been backwards, from 30 to 7 litres, it requires exceptional ability to achieve this!

Dairying was no longer a viable option; neither could people go back to desi- breeds as these breeds were extinct due cross breeding.

By the mid-nineties ‘new’ facts started trickling in, especially the findings of western research. Cattle were categorized into two. Bos Indicus and Bos Taurus. Bos Indicus is the native Indian and African cattle that has a pronounced hump, dew-lap etc and Bos Taurus the European breeds like the Jersey, Swiss brown, Holsteins etc. Further studies confirmed that most of Bos Taurus -milk contains an element called BCM 7 that is harmful for health, and causes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease in human beings. At the same time the Bos Indicus- milk is completely free from all this and is excellent for health.

Study Resource

PDF Study Report

Findings also explained why Bos Indicus is indispensable for farming and soil fertility. While the One gram of dung of European breed contains 50-70 lakh microbes, one gram of native breed’s dung contains 300-500 crore beneficial microbes that aid soil fertility. The thing that makes this magic possible in the Native breeds is the ‘ Surya Ketu Nadi’ situated along the spine, from the neck to tail of it. The Surya Ketu Nadi enables these breeds to absorb and utilise the sun rays better. Now this feature is completely absent in their foreign cattle. Need we say more on great treasures that were destroyed completely?

Another revelatory bit was that the modern practice of Artificial Insemination poses threat to the cows, bulls and finally the humans who consume milk. Mother Nature knows all, and has the best plans and designs of all. As patient as she is with her children, she does not approve of interferences of any kind. When the tampering with nature crosses the limit, it boomerangs on you. Though Mother Nature does not consciously seek revenge, any action against her, first hit us, her dependents. AI severely affects the breed quality in addition to making way for diseases like IBR. The quality, the breed characteristics and attributes of the progeny from natural mating are far superior to the ones through AI. Repeated AI attempts also causes tumors in the Cow’s uterus, apart from rendering them unproductive after 3 calvings.

AI also remains the root cause for diseases like IBR (Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis). The virus normally doesn’t survive in room temperature but does in semen that is stored in low temperatures. Cows become carriers for life, pass it on to calves and finally to the people consuming it’s milk. Studies conducted show that 60% of the dairy cattle in the nation are infected with IBR. The symptoms on cattle are – constantly running nose, loss of energy, inability to conceive etc. The weekly colds that affect most commercial milk consumers is found to be due the IBR virus.

Continue Reading.

This article has 6 Comments
  1. Realy i thought this article was about cock – rooster..

    realy wonderful article about our native breed..

    also i have a small doubt if we change the nativity of the cow like taking the cow to some other places does change its character ?

    —————————

    Dear Saravanan,

    🙂 Native poultry is also in similar crisis. Big corporate’s have completely destroyed native poultry.

    Indeed characteristics does change of Indian breed or any other sturdy animal over a period of many years. It not a sudden thing.
    India has such diverse climactic condition at regular intervals, cattle and other livestock even humans has evolved accordingly.

    But again it will not be a complete miss match.

  2. Send this article to the Union Ministry of Animal husbandry and Agriculture and suggest them to follow the ancient wisdom of our ancestors and not to ape westerners. By that our country will progress better.

  3. Brad Pitt should have been used as a human stallion years ago. It is said that when he was in his early twenties he was capable of half filling a wine glass with semen when he shot his load. Imagine all the women that could have been a.i’d using that gorgeous beast.

  4. Really tragic story. Thank God for the temple bulls. We may still have a chance to save our local varieties.

    Is there no way we can create a sperm and egg bank of as many diverse and pure native species of cows to replenish the population of our indigenous breeds ?

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