Animal Husbandry

Need to Explore Possibilities of Promoting Donkey Milk in India

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

There are more than 44 million donkeys all over the world and sadly many of them are subjected to neglect & abuse, overworked & left in agony to die. This happens because of a lack of education, lack of understanding as to how to take good care of domestic animals. Donkeys are highly intelligent animal and widely used as a mode of transport but there population at present is declining.

Taking note of their declining numbers, the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying has asked the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to explore possibilities of promoting donkey milk in the country that can lead to their conservation.  Donkey milk has four times the vitamin C as cow’s milk & contains casein, lactose, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, D & E besides being used for beauty products.

As per the donkeys’ census, the population of donkeys has fallen to 23,000 from 81,000 in Rajasthan. The maximum donkey population is in Barmer district followed by Jaisalmer, Bikaner, Churu & least in Tonk district.

Maharashtra has only 18,000 donkeys as compared to 29,000 in the previous census. The State Animal Husbandry Department has already launched a “Save Donkey” programme in the lines of “Save Tiger” to protect donkeys.

India has lost more than half of its donkeys. The population of donkeys has fallen by a massive 61 percent since 2012, as per the livestock census report 2019. The total number of donkeys in India now stands at just 1,20,000 down from 3,20,000 seven years ago.

Donkey Milk has been recognized by the personal care industry as a beneficial ingredient in many cosmetic products. Skincare products such as soaps, creams, cosmetics and moisturizers made with donkey’s milk are well perceived in beauty markets.

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