On 31st May 2017, the Hon’ble Rajasthan High Court directed the state government to coordinate with the Centre and take necessary steps to declare “cow” as a national animal. With all due respect – cow is a general term for all bovine breeds and I here forth provide 10 reasons why ONLY the native cattle or desi cow should be a candidate for national animal and a well deserving one: 1. Indigenousness – The Desi Cow or genetically Bos Indicus is native to India not the imported cow – Bos Taurus. Bos Taurus was only imported to spur the white revolution, at the cost of risking the native gene pool.
2. Unity in Diversity – There are 40 recognized breeds of desi cows in India by the National Bureau of Animal Genetics. Though all of them belong to different regions of the country, they have common features of Bos Indicus including a hump and lose hanging dewlap. In fact the National Bureau of Animal Genetics logo is a Bos Indicus Bull.
3. Declining Population of Desi Cattle Alone – The National Green Tribunal – rapped the Centre for the delay in holding a meeting with all states and union territories to frame a national policy to prevent the “rapid decline” in population of indigenous breeds of cattle across the country. Once more, it is the indigenous breeds that need protection.
4. High Adaptability & Disease Resistance – Desi Cattle is known world over for its unique features of being hardy and disease resistant. Jersey/HF or other Bos Taurus breeds fall sick because they are not suited to the tropical climate of India. Only the Desi Cows which are locally adapted should be represented as our national animal. A wealth of literature is available on adaptation differences between zebu and taurine cattle (Frisch, 1972; King, 1983; Burns et al., 1997; Prayaga et al., 2006). Bos indicus is generally more heat resistant than Bos taurus (Burns et al., 1997), with zebu cattle maintaining lower rectal temperatures, lower respiration rates and lower water requirements than taurine breeds (King, 1983). Source: http://www.fao.org/3/a-al188e.pdf 5. Desi Cattle For Farmer Sovereignty – As organic farming is once again the need of our land, which has declined in fertility – only the desi cattle can help farmer revive his land. Padmashree Subhash Palekar has proven that only the desi cow, not the jersey cow is required for his well proven Zero Budget Natural Farming Technique.
6. Only Desi Cows To Counter Climate Change – Indian dairy scientists estimate that climate change will lead to decline in milk production. It is a matter of fact that imported cows do not thrive in high temperatures and have to be kept cool to survive.
7. Ayurveda & Desi Cow – Ayurveda is incomplete without the Desi Cow. The very first step, involving cleansing of herbs or shodhana requires gomutra or desi cow’surine. Because the imported cows are themselves not healthy, their urine cannot be used for this purpose. To keep the science of Ayurveda alive, desi cows must be protected as national animal.
8. Fodder & Water Availability – Desi Cows eat half the quantity of fodder as compared to their imported counterparts, surviving on locally available fodder and water. As land and water become more and more scarce in India, only the desi cows need to be protected and promoted.
9. Traction Only By Desi Bulls – The ability to till the land or draw heavy loads is only possible in the native cattle. The male calves of imported cows are a burden as they are not strong enough to be used for traction purposes. The farmers have no choice but to sell them because they are not adapted to work in the fields.
10. Sentiments Of the Majority – The Hindu community worships only the desi cows. Nandi, the bull of Shiva is indigenous as were the cows of Krishna. By making the desi cattle the national animal of India, the country will be achieve Gandhi ji’s dream and be a peaceful place for all communities to live harmoniously.