VIJAYAWADA: In a shocking incident, as many as 86 cows died and 15 were being treated after they consumed fodder at a goshala, run by private individuals at Kottur Tadepalli on the outskirts of Vijayawada late on Friday night. In the preliminary observations made by veterinary doctors in the postmortem report, they were of the view that the cows died due to the consumption of fodder laced with poison.
They said they had found blood clots in the lungs and heart during postmortem on the carcasses of the cows.
“The increased toxicity inside the stomach after consuming contaminated fodder resulted in the death of 86 cows. Samples were sent to the Forensic Laboratory in Hyderabad for ascertaining the type of chemical/poison that was mixed in the fodder,” said a senior veterinary official on the condition of anonymity.
It all started with the death of one of the cows around 9 pm on Friday. The caretaker who rushed to check what happened found the remaining cows collapsing in a heap and dying, one after another. By 9.30 pm, the goshala was filled with carcasses of cows.
Upon receiving information from the caretaker, the representatives of the Sri Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangham rushed to the village only to find 80 cows lying dead, another 15 battling for life, and called veterinary doctors to check the reasons for the mass deaths.
“When I received a phone call from the caretaker, I rushed to the spot and saw the remaining cows scattered here and there in the compound and screaming. When I noticed the cows frothing, I suspected food poisoning and lodged a complaint with the Two Town police,” said association’s general secretary Govind Kumar Saboo.
According to Saboo, the Sri Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangham, established in 1927, provides shelter to over 1400 cows. Most of the cows were rescued from slaughterhouses in the city, while some were received in the form of donations from devotees. Like every day, the cows were fed at 7 pm. “Everyday we get fodder from various places. We are suspecting that last load of fodder from Addanki of Prakasam district might have been contaminated due to excess use of pesticides resulting in the tragedy,” he claimed.
There are also rumours doing the rounds that some rival members of the association mixed poison/chemical in the water troughs and fodder to trigger dissolution of the existing committee of the goshala. “We are waiting for the postmortem report from veterinary officials. If it points to any conspiracy, we will register a case,” said Two Town inspector Md Umar.
When TNIE contacted, joint director (JD) of Animal Husbandry Bharat Ramesh said that the cows died of bloating, a swollen state caused by retention of fluid or gas due to the consumption of an excessive amount of carbohydrates. “Unable to digest, the cows might have suffered bloating. However, we have collected viscera samples from the stomach and sent to the forensic laboratory to ascertain the actual reason behind the mass deaths,” he said.
Responding to the incident, former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu demanded that the State government take steps to punish the culprits. “There was a conspiracy behind the death of cows. We cannot dismiss it as accidental. The government should probe and punish the culprits as early as possible,” Naidu tweeted. Representatives of Gorakshak Dalam (Cow Protection Force) and Hindu Dharmika Sangham also demanded a detailed probe into the incident. “There is an urgent need to ascertain the reasons behind the massive death of cows. Utter negligence in taking care of cows and conspiracies are suspected to be the reasons behind the incident,” said Durga Prasad NV, president, Gorakshak -Vijayawada.