Stray Cows: Grazing Crops, hurting farmers

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  • Uncertain climatic changes, pets and stray cows damage 37% to 50% crops. Pilibhitdistrict &Bundelkhandare the badly affected regions in UP due to cattles. 
  • Despite 483 GauShalas running in UP the condition of cows isdeplorable.
  • Farmers are trying to save crops by using wires with clinchers and animal traps

Saujanya Tripathi

Twenty Indian states have imposed a complete ban on cow slaughter. The law treats consumption of beef or cow meat illegal. Fear of being jailed for more than 5 years term and fined forces the dairy owners to release non-milking cows rather than selling them to butchers or slaughter houses. But it has inflated the number of non-milking cows causing harmful repercussion on agriculture and residential/commercial areas. The2is investigated the issues associated with increasing number of cows and monkeys in Uttar Pradesh and found out that stray cow and other animals are damaging15-20% of standing crops as farmers struggle to save their hard labour.

Note: the2is published a story that excess use of oxytocin hormone in the dairy industry is also a reason for increasing number of stray cows as this hormone reduces the milking span of cattle.

States where cow slaughter is legal:

Kerala, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram,  Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura & Sikkim

These are the states where there are no restrictions on cow slaughter.

What benefits and losses from cow? Why is the ban?

Following the Supreme Court’s upholding order by 24 states banning the slaughter of cows on 26thOctober, 2005 under 48 article of Indian constitution almost all the slaughter houses were shut down. Even butchers could not cobble up to take dead body of even dead cow or milch animal as laws are very strict in Uttar Pradesh excepting Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and West Bengal where the slaughter of cows has been taken as illegal by there’s respective government. Worshipped by Hindus cow is treated as ominous and sanctified animal in India. Any cruelty with it is considered to be a heinous crime entitling the offender to be sentenced to imprisonment. Ban on dairy cattle slaughter though has saved cows theirs arbitrarily increasing number is damaging standing crops worth several thousand rupees.

According to prosperous farmers of Uttar Pradesh hailing from Sitapur, Hardoi, Farrukhabad and Shahjahanpur the dairy owners set their non-milking cows free who keep roaming frequently damaging the ready crops standing on several acres of farm land. Atulesh Shukla, Director of internationally acclaimed Research and Analysis Company, Morsel Research and Development Pvt Ltd, reveals that non-milking cows, 10 to 40 in a herd destroy10 % to 20 % of ready crops, especially of wheat and paddy in the rural areas of Lakhimpur and its neighboring districts. Agriculture is affected badly due to unfavorable climatic effects as well, for uncertain weather conditions affect 7% agricultural production. According to reliable sources 37% to 50% crops are destroyed causing huge loss to the farmers repercussion of which happens to be irreparable on economy. According to agricultural experts pets and insects also are the major cause of crops’ destruction as a survey reveals that 15% to 25% standing crops are damaged by pests itself. But ever since ban on cow slaughter has been enforced the number of non-milch cows and buffalos have increased amazingly causing immense loss to the crops. Entire Uttar Pradesh though has been affected with agricultural destruction due to stray cattle. Pilibhit is on top of the badly affected districts.

Jawahar Lal Shukla of Khamariya village of Lakhimpur told that deserted non-milking cows keep roaming in herd of 20 to 30. They enter during the night hours and destroy standing crops causing immense loss to the farmers. Cows undoubtedly need protection but there should be effective arrangement for their shelter as the stray cows destroy not only crops but aggravate traffic problems as wellin cities.

Roaming randomly on road the deserted cows occupy road paving the way for road accidents. Found mostly in sabjee mandess, markets, bus depot and other crowded places the cows accompanied by bulls narrow the road enhancing consequently traffic jam. Lucknow Nagar Nigam (Municipal Corporation) though must deal with street dogs, bulls and cows to keep city clean and free from stray animalsits staffers have expressed inability in accomplishing the job as they can’t accommodate all the stray animals due to accommodation issue. On anonymity’s assurance an employee of LNN said that had it been someone’s pet dog he would have been booked very fast by slapping fine as it would fetch revenue but booking stray cows is most cumbersome and non-lucrative job so why to run after them unnecessarily, he finished with.

Stray Cows: Grazing Crops, hurting farmers
Trapped animal

Animal Census, 2012( mentions 53 Lakh cattle heads including non-milch cows and18 lakh stray dogs in India the figure of which has increased around 30 percent within five years, reveals Hemant Pradhan of animal husbandry department, Lucknow.

Monkeys, Pests and Uncertain Climatic Conditions also Are Damaging Crops

With no effective wayto check increasing number of population of monkeys it has inflated many folds in Uttar Pradesh affecting agricultural production in the state. According to JawaharLalShukla, a prosperous farmer of Nighasan village, the monkeys are damaging crops of paddy, wheat and sugar cane as they seize upon several acres of farms and land in a large group. He told that being 50 to 60 in number the monkeys can’t be stopped nor fled as they react harshly.

Dewakar Trivedi who has several acres of productive lands in LakhimpurKheri informs that monkeys render the small farmers nearly bankrupt by destroying their saplings. According to Mr. Trivedi the monkeys suck even tiny saplings by uprooting them as soon as sown. The monkeys flee after damaging saplings.They target even semi-grown and ready crops unexpectedly as they attack just like an army.

Desh Raj Lodhi of Khamariya village informs that he has applied so far all the ricks but monkeys are incorrigible. He told that villagers use crackers also to flee them but it doesn’t work as they get offensive within half an hour with more anger, this time to cause physical injuries to villagers. Another resident of Madho Purwa, Sohan Lal Varma told that the monkeys damage almost all types of crops, be it paddy, wheat or sugar cane. According to Shatrughan Lodhi of Uncha Gaon, it is not that there has not been made any effort to capture monkeys. The villagers have used a claw-like system to nab agile monkeys but it proved to be ineffective. The tool though entangles legs or hands of monkeys it causes immense bleeding posing chances of death, if not taken care of by the villagers.

Apart from agile monkeys pests, insects and rats also damage the damage agricultural production as survey report reveals that 15% to 25% crops are destroyed by rats and insects/pets while uncertain monsoon and uncertain climates damage 7% of over overall production of agriculture in Uttar Pradesh.

Stray Cows
The nailed wires injure the cows

Around 35% of total crops in UP are lost to adverse climatic conditions while 15% to pests. Further, the cows receiving oxytocin injections for milk boost for 3years or more at a stretch turn  infertile link oxytocin article;thusrendered useless, such cows roam about unsupervised in the fields destroying the crops.

In Bundelkhand, farmers suffer from water shortage as well as from resource scarcity like tractor, cultivator, harrow and other farming tools and implements. Besides, the land is rocky there and hence not much fertile. The staple crops comprise peas, wheat,gram,redlentil,linseed etc.Alok Dixit from Morsel talked to farmers of Bundelkhand who told him that they (the farmers) had to be on 24 hr vigil, any laxity and almost 30-40% of their crops would be lost to pests and stray animals.

Stray Cows: Grazing Crops, hurting farmers
The trapped fox

“Dial 110 if you spot any Cow in critical state…” – Chairman of Cows Commission, UP

To find out why the condition of cows is still turning critical day by day as they are treated just like street dogs and so are meted out cruel treatment by the people. Nobody can kill a cow as it is a heinous crime in Uttar Pradesh. Anyone killing cow or calf for meat deserves 7 years jail term along with penalty as the cow slaughter has completely been banned in the state. Almost all the cows including older ones who stop milking used to be slaughtered earlier that has now been ceased following which cows are released from dairies to survive on their own fate. The ban on cow slaughter undoubtedly is a commendable step but to not any remarkable relief to hapless holy cattle. Up government has spent a huge amount of money on cows’ protection. Our Correspondent Saujanya Tripathi tracks down the chairman of Uttar Pradesh Cow Commission – Uttar Pradesh Amit Tripathi over here.

Correspondent: Condition of non-milch cows are very pathetic in UP as they are expelled from the house to roam haplessly in the city with ill treatment meted out by shopkeepers in the commercial areas of the cities.

Chairman: Commission is determinedly dedicated to protect cows from being killed or ill-treated. This is why we keep eyes on cows to be illegally transported to Nepal or West Bengal. On receiving any information we alert local police that swings immediately into action and arrests those involved in cattle trafficking, slaughtering or panicking the cows.

Correspondent: Your organization has been assigned with the duty of protecting poor cows and benefitting public from the sheltered cows. How do you implement it?

Chairman:  We protect all the milch cattle including non-milch cows. The Cows Commission has 483 Gau Shalas (Cow Houses) in Uttar Pradesh where we take care of cows by collecting their Gau Mutra (Holy urine). A budget of 5 crore 16 Lakh was sanctioned in the last financial year for protection cows. We have plans of bottling it for Ayurvedic usage very soon.  Ten to four thousand cows are living in GauShalas of 75 districts of UP. We receive phone calls from religious organizations working for the protection of cows.

Correspondent: But nobody knows about you so how can a common person contact you for cow’s safety?

Chairman: Just like 100 or 108 ambulance helpline numbers we also have a toll free number, 110 over which anyone else can deliver information on cows trafficking, killing or mishandling.

Correspondent: But even then cows are left by its owner to live a most pathetic life when they get deprived of milk. Why?

Chairman: Cows are expelled in UP everywhere as its owner doesn’t want to spend even a single penny on its survival. But it has found especially in Bundelkhand where the farmers expel the cow when it stops giving the milk. But they bring it back at the farm if it gets pregnant. We keep our eyes on such type of treatment by putting them into the shelter house. Lalitpur, Mathura and Lucknow are among the cities where cows have treated this manner.

Correspondent:  What is the strength of cows in GauShalas?

Chairman: It is from 10 up to 4 thousand. In Lucknow we have two big cow shelters with more than 4 thousand cows each.

Correspondent: But regularly released non milch cows are rendering the situation more critical as they, in herd, pass through different places causing damage to crops of paddy, wheat and variety of vegetables, especially in the rural areas. What are your plans in this regard?

Chairman: Undoubtedly this is a big problem. The farmers facing loss due to cows must report to the administration. If they are no getting help then they must call to the animal husbandry department at 0522-2740010. With a budget of 4 crores 16 Lakh we are going to set up four more GauShalas at a commercial level where we from GauMutra to other things would be packaged for medicated use.

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