Milch animals being treated like ‘milk-producing machines’ in dairies in Varanasi and Allahabad: Report

From housing, availability of drinking water, practices around lactating cows and calves, availability of clean feed, to use of antibiotics or steroids, the state of animals was found to be despicable

Milch animals being treated like ‘milk-producing machines’ in dairies in Varanasi and Allahabad: Report
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NH Correspondent/Lucknow

The images of ramshackle state-run dairies with carcasses of cows strewn around in Lalitpur were yet to fade away when a new report has revealed the sorry state of cattle in dairies in UP, particularly in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Varanasi and in Prayagraj (Allahabad), where animals were being over-exploited to meet high milk production targets, resulting in cruel dairy practice, it said.

The report, titled ‘Cattle-Ogue’, was prepared by Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), an apex animal rights body. It investigated 22 dairies having 795 animals in two districts including 10 in Varanasi and 12 in Prayagraj.

“Such practices also reduce the average life span and increase reproductive diseases and udder infections. The average life of a cow is 10 years in a dairy establishment as compared to 25 naturally,” said FIAPO executive director Varda Mehrotra. She added that seven of these dairies had Holstein cows while five had Jersey and nine crossbred cows, and these cows are genetically selected to produce an unnatural average output of 20 litres per milking per day per animal.

The animals were treated like ‘milk-producing machines’, pumped with antibiotics and hormones to produce more milk, the report said. Mehrotra underscored that while cows suffered in such set-ups, humans who consumed their milk had increased their chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other ailments. “We’ve repeatedly seen, documented and shared with the government the conditions of animals in dairies of UP for last three years,” she added.

“Sadly, nothing has changed. Cows and buffaloes continue to languish in horrific conditions, which are a breeding ground for many diseases,” she said. She demanded that the government must act on the information made available to it by the organisation.

According to FIAPO, the dairies compromised on animal comfort and didn’t clear the debris, causing accumulation of scabs of dung on the animals’ bodies. Also, the animals had a mild to medium swollen hock joint indicating bruises due to friction with the concrete floor, or their legs being tied up while being marked.

Moreover, 50 percent of the farms did not have proper ventilation for the animals. Those with ventilation were farms with just a shed overhead, which wasn’t sufficient to protect the animals during heavy rains and cold weather.

From housing, availability of drinking water, practices around lactating cows and calves, availability of clean feed, to the use of antibiotics or steroids, the state of the animals was found to be despicable.

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