• Often contains Oxytocin- a muscle relaxing hormone can give other health related issues as well
  • Approximately 250,000 Oxytocin injections are used per month in UP dairy industry; 900 in Lucknow itself.
  • A schedule H drug, its supply requires prescription  from registered medical practitioner
  • Harmful for both humans & animals but freely used in India
  • Only 100 rupees fine against illegal uses of Oxytocin

District administration though claims to have taken strict action against those selling adulterated milk; the dairy owners continue to use Oxytocin injection before milking the buffaloes and cows. This has serious side-effects on human health…  

Saujanya Tripathi

Most of us are perhaps not aware of a trick applied by milkmen: They stimulate the milk flow and production. They are just administering intramuscular Oxytocin injection a few minutes prior to milking animals without any hesitation.



Oxytocin actually is a substance secreting and storing hormone in the pituitary gland. According to M. K. Tyagi, a veterinarian, dairy milkmen inject Oxytocin to those buffaloes and cows that have lost their calves. The Oxytocin injection stimulates the release of milk while calming down the animal. Oxytocin injections are also used on old buffaloes and cows as their milk production gets reduced with age.

This correspondent, accompanied by a friend from the education department, Mr. R.K. Shukla, visited a dairy to gather first-hand information on the issue. The milkman had a syringe (hidden in his palm) that he injected into the buffalo’s neck; few seconds is all it takes, so a common person would never notice anything amiss.  On querying, the milkman defended his act by saying that his buffalo had lost her calf a few days ago that is why he had to inject oxytocin to bring out her milk.

Oxytocin Injection & Its Use

Created and synthesized by Vincent du Vigneaud in 1953 the Oxytocin is a substance used as a substitute or duplicate of a peptide hormone. It was developed as an artificial drug in the form of intramuscular injection and was used especially on pregnant women to facilitate delivery.



Oxytocin eases delivery by activating uterine muscular contraction just after the delivery that controls bleeding and brings belly to its natural shape. According to Dr. Sushma, a gynecologist, Oxytocin prevents hemorrhage after delivery and releases the breast milk. Oxytocin is a schedule H-drug (can be sold only on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner).

More than 250,000 injections are used per month in Uttar Pradesh out of which around 900 in Lucknow alone, reveal the sources.  The dairy owners administer this injection to buffaloes before one hour of milking. On condition of anonymity, a milkman revealed that Oxytocin injection is used by almost all the dairy owners in order to take out the entire milk easily.

Law

Though its use, except under certain conditions, is illegal in India, entitling the user and seller to be punished under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960 section 12 and the Food and Drug Adulteration Prevention Act, 1960, yet oxytocin is being freely sold in the form of injections at medical stores.

According to the Law expert, Rama Pati, under this section, the accused is fined around 100 rupees only. This is one of the reasons that Oxytocin is being used fearlessly.  

Moreover, stocking and sale of oxytocin are also banned under the Drug & Cosmetics Act 1940.

Hazardous Effects

It is harmful to everyone, but children, especially the newborn babies, are much more susceptible to Oxytocin’s harmful effects, such as poor eyesight and hearing.

  • It causes fatigue/tiredness and sluggishness weakening the immunity.
  • It adversely affects breastfeeding amongst women
  • Pregnant women consuming milk-containing oxytocin may give birth to babies with physical deformities. These women also have a higher risk of hemorrhage during delivery. (This excessive blood loss is called a postpartum hemorrhage(PPH) and it happens in up to 6 percent of births. It’s most likely to occur while the placenta is separating or soon after. If it happens within 24 hours after giving birth, it’s considered an early PPH (also called an immediate or primary PPH).
  • Girls consuming Oxytocin milk often attain puberty earlier.

Available at a nominal price, Oxytocin injections are widely used in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Haryana, the highest milk producing states in India. It is available in almost all the drug selling stores but the administration doesn’t take any action by saying that it is used to facilitate milk flow in animals.

On being questioned on the issue, the ADM, Lucknow did not admit that banned injection is being openly sold in the market.

How to ensure that your milk is safe?

It is better to be straightforward and tell the dairy owner not to give you milk of an infected buffalo and you need to be careful as well.

Where to Complain?

You may call at the national consumer toll-free helpline number 1800114000 or 18001805533 of FDA (Foods & Drugs Administration). You can also redress your grievances online by visiting www.nationalconsumerhelpline.in

Deepali Agrahari from the2is talks to Dr. Tej Singh Yadav(Chief Veterinary Officer)  of Animal Husbandry department, UP…

What is the use of Oxytocin?

In olden days, the udders of cows or buffaloes used to fill (with milk)naturally on hearing the cries of their young ones or even on hearing the familiar sound of the utensil used during the milking. This facilitated the milking process and no artificial methods were required. But now dairy owners and animal breeders regularly use oxytocin for quick milking and increased milk production from the business point of view; this chemical is very harmful to humans. It is also believed that oxytocin stimulates maternal love in the animal(for its calf) which in turn increases the milk production.

How bad is oxytocin for human health?

It is not only bad for humans but animals too. Though it increases the milking capacity by 20% but diminishes the fat and calcium in the animal.

When humans use the milk of the oxytocin-induced animals, their delicate organs like intestines and uterus bear the brunt of it and they may suffer from various side effects like frequent miscarriages, breast cancer, early puberty in girls, adverse effects on brain and lungs of the children etc.

I am afraid the situation is going to further worsen with time.

Does your department conduct raids on dairy owners under The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for misuse of oxytocin? 

No, we haven’t conducted any raids.

Dr. V.L. Deo Purkar, Director of Research, Veterinary University, Nagpur, informs that long term use of oxytocin decreases the reproductive ability of cows while also reducing their lifespan.