1. Animal Husbandry

Farmers in Rajasthan troubled with stray cattle & curb on trade melas

Abha Toppo
Abha Toppo

Not just animal husbandry but the whole agriculture sector is suffering in Rajasthan after a virtual ban on cattle trade and the fear factor that followed mob execution of livestock trader Pehlu Khan in Alwar.

Farmers and professionals are complaining that stray cattle have become a threat as they enter fields and eat crops because farmers cannot spend for rearing non-milching cattle and their male progenies.

The rule has also become an electoral issue and farmers’ organisations have asked to lift it so that food security can be guaranteed. BJP government under the leadership of Bhairon Singh Shekhawat had first brought the Rajasthan Bovine Animal Act in 1998. State government said over 80% of the rural families keep cattle and the contribution of animal husbandry sector to the state GDP is about 9.16%.

According to the livestock development policy of State government, “About 35% of revenue of small and marginal farmers comes from dairy and animal husbandry. In parched areas, the contribution is as high as 50%”. But now the experts are saying that a number of changes are noticeable in the livestock pattern of the State due to flowed policies.

MS Rathore, retired professor of Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur said, “The ban on slaughtering cow was a fault. Slaughtering is necessary in some ways because 50% of the cattle are male progeny. With the rising use of tractors, farmers have no use of bullocks thus lakhs of bullocks have become stray animals”.

He further said the limitations on livestock trade have shifted the focus of farmers from cow to buffaloes. He added that “Earlier, farmers depended on local breed of cows. But now, they prefer buffaloes as Buffalo milk gives them more money due to the fat content and there is no ban on its trade”.

Meanwhile, farmers’ organisations along with Opposition parties have been hitting the BJP government on this issue. Dulichand Borda, leader of All India Kisan Sabha told that due to attacks on cattle traders, local markets were forced to shut down or reduce the numbers of trade days. Congress leader CP Joshi also accused the BJP government of trying to put an end to animal husbandry.

According to the 2012 livestock census, Rajasthan has 577.32 lakh livestock, one of the largest in the country. The State has huge local markets for livestock.

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