Had your coffee? or your daily dose of morning drink? Now, let's talk a little about the source we get all the milk from; cattle. Livestock species play a very crucial role in multiple aspects of India's economy. They have been the primary source of food supply, agriculture, livelihood, and income of many. They have also been a fundamental part of rural development.
But, on the other hand, the same cows and bulls that have immense significance are exploited for various reasons in India. They are severely tortured to increase the production of milk. As soon as the cows give birth, their calves are taken away, which is a traumatic experience for both as they call for each other in vain for days. While the male calves are used for veal, female calves are used as milk producers, like their mothers. After the calves are taken away, cows are milked through milking machines connected to them, which would last for 10 months, and the cycle would repeat.
But, they are valued for only until they are useful and strong. But once they reach post productive stage or suffer from diseases, most of the cows are often slaughtered or abandoned. In some cases, farmers not being able to afford to feed the barren cattle would eventually lead to abandoning them on roads or selling to slaughterhouses.
About 1,800 recognized cow shelters in India are overflowing with cattle where volunteers often struggle to feed and keep them healthy. An increase in the number of abandoned cattle has also been the center of political battles and lynch mob attacks, let alone, crowded shelters turning them away.
This crisis is also disrupting the critical cycle of India's livestock economy and putting the farmers at risk. Tagging the cows with unique identification numbers would help in preventing violence and abuse of the species. It could also help stop their illegal smuggling.