PUNE: A study undertaken by Pune-based animal rights organisation Animal Equality has revealed how various dairies in India are indulging in illegal and cruel practices.
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Male calves separated from birth.

The organisation conducted the study from 2021 to 2022 covering small and medium dairies in the state of Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Telangana and West Bengal. This study was conducted from 2021-2022, covering 27 dairy farms, six animal markets and two slaughterhouses.

Amruta Ubale, senior director of public affairs at Animal Equality said, “The findings of our study are standard practices in all kinds of dairies in villages and cities. We found that farm workers artificially inseminate female buffalos year after year. Once the calf is born, within minutes he is separated from the mother tied by the neck and prevented from feeding from the mother. Male calves are either sold for slaughter or starved to death as they do not produce any milk. While female calves replace the older ailing females who are no longer fertile.”
Ubale said that workers were also found to inject the buffaloes with oxytocin, a banned drug to stimulate their production of milk. “Animal markets meant for sale of bulls and other animals often facilitate the sale of unproductive animals and male calves from dairies for slaughter. Handlers at the market cram several animals into transport trucks. They twist and break their tails to get them onto the truck,” she said.

She added that at the slaughterhouses, the butchers routinely kill animals in full view of others. “Most of the documented practices are a blatant violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, the Transport Rules, 1978, the Slaughterhouse Rules 2001 and various orders from High Courts and Supreme Court of India,” she said.

The organisation has presented a list of recommendations to the government to protect animals from these abuses. Ubale said, “We are glad that the government has introduced sexed semen technology which will help in averting the killing of male calves. However, some other recommendations still remain to be introduced– forming a committee to monitor health of animals used for dairy production, strict standards of hygiene, discontinuing tethering of animals and leaving them open in a designated area, effective implementation of oxytocin prohibition, prohibiting cosmetic practices such as dehorning, tail docking and branding, increasing the minimum penalty to Rs 20,000 in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.”

Ubale said, “India has more than 327 million buffalos, bulls and cows. Having rules in place which will alleviate the suffering of farmed animals is a basic requirement which we must have in place.”

The programme, held in collaboration with District Rural Development Agency, was aimed at creating awareness among dairy farmers on the need for early detection of Mastitis in high-yielding cattle.

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