What We Learnt This Week: Our health depends on health of animals around us

A weekly column on new learning: facts, trivia and insights.

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National Herald

Animal health affects human beings

A majority of infections that affect human beings are transmitted from animals to humans. Apparently five new diseases appear every year and as many as three of them originate from animals. These are known as zoonotic diseases which kill two million people every year - many more than those who die of AIDS or diarrhoea. Lesson: Unless animals around us are healthy, human beings cannot hope to be healthy.

Reality: Human and animal population in India are approximately the same. But while there is a large network of 1.90 lakh institutions in the government health sector alone, a lot more in the private sector, India boasts of only 65,000 veterinary institutions including 28,000 mobile dispensaries in the public sector to cater to 125 crore livestock. Private sector’s involvement in animal care is virtually non-existent.

Air India’s art collection

Air India’s collection of four thousand paintings, many of them in its offices abroad and a lot more lying in a godown in Bombay, are to be transferred to the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi before the airline, the national carrier, is sold. While Air India is planning to gift them for free as reported by The Hindu, chances are high that many of them would land in the hands of politicians, private collectors and industrialists who can afford them. Paintings that include Hussain, Raza, K.A. Ara, V.S. Gaitonde besides stone sculptures, costumes, clocks and woodwork are said to be part of the art collection acquired over a period of six decades. Would it be a better option to gift them to each state so that many more people get access to them?


PM’s wife convicted for ordering meals

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud and breach of trust. She was convicted and asked to pay a fine. The charge was that although the Government had paid for a cook at the PM’s official residence, she had ordered meals from outside and falsely declared that there were no cooks available at the residence. The Jerusalem magistrate ordered her to also reimburse the cost of the meals to the state.

Indians and meat

Indians are known to be overwhelmingly non-vegetarians. But recent estimates released by the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the UN show the per capita meat consumption in India to be far lower than those of China and Pakistan. High population and poverty are responsible for just 4KG annual per capita meat consumption in India.

Meat consumption per year (Kilograms per person)

US: 120
Australia: 111
Spain: 97
Israel: 96
Canada: 94
UK: 84
Russia: 69

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