HYDERABAD: The bovines, especially the male variety, are the centre of attention during Hyderabad’s famous annual Sadar festival, which everyone from the common man to top politician looks forward to, in order to enjoy and appreciate the display of well-oiled and beautifully decorated sturdy bulls. But why are these very same city folks insensitive to the sufferings of the cattle? Not just the general public, but State government, policymakers and even NGOs have been turning a blind eye to the sorry state of these animals and to the horrible treatment meted out to them by the dairy farmers in the city.
According to a first of its kind research conducted by a State veterinary university, the issues concerning these animals, especially cows and buffaloes, are many, but the most common are tiny sheds without ventilation, lack of hygiene, rare usage of disinfectants for cleaning, lack of green fodder, missing vaccination schedule, abandoning of calves, lack of de-ticking and de-worming, complete lack of adherence to prescribed standards on provision of space, drains and proper manger in cattle sheds.
The study, ‘Housing and healthcare management practices dairy farmers in urban and peri-urban areas of Telangana’, conducted in the city by PV Narsimha Rao Telangana Veterinary University, highlights the poor conditions cattle in Hyderabad are subjected to by dairy farmers. For the study, the researchers surveyed 50 dairy farmers each in Hyderabad and suburbs.
The most glaring findings is 84 per cent dairy farmers in Hyderabad do not provide satisfactory space to the animals in the cattle shed. Dr Rajanna Neeradi, Professor at Livestock Production and Management Department, PVNR Telangana Veterinary University, pointed out that as per prescribed standards each buffalo in a stable must be provided 4 square meters (sqm) area and in case of cow, it is 3.5 sqm.
Besides that, between each animal about ww1.5m space should be provided. Behind each animal there should be a drain for flowing out of urine and manager should be at least 30cm wide, he said.
However, a look through cattle sheds in the city owned by dairy farmers and one would not find adherence to these basic requirements in most.
While the study found that vaccination was being taken up by almost all dairy farmers in the city, almost none of them was following vaccination schedule, which as Dr Neeradi pointed out, would render the vaccination ineffective. In 84 per cent and 78 per cent cases, de-ticking and de-worming was also found to be absent, respectively. Dr Neeradi pointed out, “Dairy farmers only bother if the cattle is milking or not.”