NEW DELHI: New data released today by the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) shows horrifying state of cattle in 451 milk producing centres from India’s 10 leading milk producing states and demands immediate attention by the Centre and State Governments to regulate milk producing dairies.
FIAPO’s investigative report CATTLE-OGUE reveals how most cows raised in these dairies are intensively confined, leaving them unable to fulfill their most basic natural needs, such as nursing their calves, and are treated like milk-producing machines – genetically manipulated, pumped with antibiotics and hormones in order to produce more milk.
While cows suffer in such set-ups, humans who drink their milk increase their chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many other ailments.
The unorganised and unregulated upkeep of dairy animals undoubtedly raises a question mark on the safety of the milk that these dairies produce as well as on the sustainability of India’s global leadership of milk production.
Arpan Sharma, Director, FIAPO observed, “The conditions in which animals are kept are intrinsically linked to the quality and safety of the product, in this case milk. Poor conditions recorded in the investigation raise serious questions on the safety and quality of milk in the market.”
“We have urged state governments to outlaw the keeping of cattle within municipal limits and also enact conditions for keeping animals in other areas. Similarly, the FSSAI is silent on conditions that need to prevail at the point of milk production. Currently FSSAI regulations pertain only to milk processing, which is only half the story. The Centre needs to amend the Registration of Cattle Premises Rules 1978 to introduce conditions for the holding of cattle in commercial dairies.”, further added.
Cattle are separated from calves (male calves die within the first week in 25% of dairies), receive little to no veterinary care and are injected with drugs procured illegally to induce sudden milk let-down in almost 50% of the dairies. Unproductive cattle are sold to economically weaker farmers for their personal use or the slaughterhouses by 62.9% dairies – both at low prices to earn meager sums of money from the final disposition.
The report calls for urgent and strict implementation of the existing laws of animal welfare as well as urban governance. It highlights the need for additional regulation in select areas where there are significant violations of acceptable conditions for dairy animals.