Ground reality of Indian Livestock - where India Stands
03 Oct

Ground reality of Indian Livestock – where India Stands

Where Indian Livestock Industry Stands (I)

Ground reality :

Livestock plays an important role in Indian economy. About 20.5 million people depend upon livestock for their livelihood. Livestock contributed 16% to the income of small farm households as against an average of 14% for all rural households. Livestock provides livelihood to two-third of rural community. It also provides employment to about 8.8% of the population in India. India have vast livestock resources. Livestock sector contributes 4.11% GDP and 25.6% of total Agriculture GDP.

The animals offer social security to the owners in terms of their status in the society. The families especially the landless which own animals are better placed than those who do not. Gifting of animals during marriages is a very common phenomenon in different parts of the country. Rearing of animals is a part of the Indian culture. Animals are used for various socio religious functions. Cows for house warming ceremonies; during festive seasons; Bulls and Cows are worshiped during various religious functions.

farmer's festival 'bail pola' | Maharashtra Times Photogallery

Livestock population in India by Species (Million Numbers)

Species 1951 1961 1972 1982 1992 2003 2012 2019
Cattle 155.3 175.6 178.3 192.5 204.6 185.2 190.9 192.5
Adult Female Cattle 54.4 51.0 53.4 59.2 64.4 64.5 76.7 81.4
Buffalo 43.4 51.2 57.4 69.8 84.2 97.9 108.7 109.9
Adult Female Buffalo 21.0 24.3 28.6 32.5 43.8 51.0 56.6 55.0
Total Bovines 198.7 226.8 235.7 262.2 288.8 283.1 299.6 302.3
Sheep 39.1 40.2 40.0 48.8 50.8 61.5 65.1 74.3
Goat 47.2 60.9 67.5 95.3


124.4 135.2 148.9
Horses and Ponies 1.5 1.3 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.3
Camels 0.6 0.9 1.1 1.1 1.0 0.6 0.4 0.3
Pigs 4.4 5.2 6.9 10.1 12.8 13.5 10.3 9.1
Mules 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1
Donkeys 1.3 1.1 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.7 0.3 0.1
Yak NC 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1
Mithun NA NA NA NA 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.4
Total Livestock 292.9 336.5 353.2 419.6 470.9 485.0 512.1 535.8



Live Stock sector Standings of India in the world
Ranking Sector

Sr. No Rank
1 1St Rank Total Livestock Population
2 Milk Production
3 Cattle Population
4 Buffalo Population
5 Carabeef Production
6 Goat Milk Production
7 Total Bovine Population
8 2nd Rank Goat Population
9 Bristle Production (a Pig industry by-product)
10 Fish Production
11 3rd Sheep Production
12 Egg Production
13 4th Rank Chicken Production
14 5th Poultry Meat Production
15 Poultry Production
17 8th Duck Production
19 9th Camel Population
20 Wool Production

Animal Products Statistics :
Commodity Total Production (per year) Per Capita Availability ICMR Recommendations
Milk 165.4 MT 355 grams/day 280 grams/day
Meat 7.4 MT 2.96 kg/year 11 kg/year
Eggs 88.1 billion 69 eggs/year 182 eggs/year
Total Wool Production in India: 43.5 million Kg.

Improving the productivity of farm animals is one of the major challenges. The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50 per cent of the global average. The frequent outbreaks of diseases like Foot and Mouth Diseases, Black Quarter infection; Influenza, etc. continue to affect Livestock health and lowers productivity.

The livestock sector did not receive the policy and financial attention it deserved. The sector received only about 12 per cent of the total public expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors, which is disproportionately lesser than its contribution to agricultural GDP. The sector has been neglected by financial institutions. Other major challenges faced by the sector are inadequate availability of credit, poor access to organized markets, limited availability of quality breeding bulls, water sources depletion, deficiency of vaccines and vaccination set-up, diversion of feed and fodder ingredients for industrial use.

Cruelty and animal suffering blight India's booming leather industry

The sector is productive is economically viable to whatever extent as it is outlasted out of constant exploitation, cruelty and oppressive treatment meted to the beasts. Animal husbandry is like sick unit. Husbanding of animal finds priority at bottom. We are rich with head counts and indigent with quality and bona fide.

After having seen profusion of opportunities and affluence of precious animal wealth which can turn around India’s economy stately, inclusively and impeccably. We will discuss here one by one measures related to health and welfare which can eventually optimise the yield and prolonged life for the betterment of our beasts.

In next article of this series we will discuss about the reason of low productivity and poor state of affairs of this sector.


Where Indian Livestock Industry Stands (II)


Health and welfare measures of livestock in India:

In earlier article we have read the ground reality of animal husbandry in India.

The reasons of such low and poor quality of productivity we will discuss in this article.

Plea accuses milk dairies of cruelty against cattle - The Hindu

“Many people think that keeping a cow tied up in a cowshed is a natural thing. When people see cows roaming on a road, they react by saying that the cattle owners should not let them loose and that they should be cared for and protected within the confines of a cowshed. In small and leaky cowsheds, the cow endures all types of weathers including rain and extreme temperatures, 24 hours a day. A cowshed may provide shade but certainly not a clean and comfortable resting area. Their ropes are so short that most cows have to keep their heads low all day long. In some cases, they have a rope going through their noses, so if they pull, their noses start bleeding.

The cows have no access to their calves the entire day either. They show signs of stress from social isolation and an increased susceptibility to a number of diseases. They are not even allowed to graze freely for a few hours a day. According to food production scientists, milk production in India is the lowest in the world because cows and buffaloes are sick, unhappy, in constant pain and in a state of perpetual starvation. Cattle are large and they need exercise. They need the sun and fresh grass and movement without which they fall sick very soon”.    ( As reported by Smt. Maneka Gandhi in First Post on 22nd Nov 2016).

Since early civilisation, animals have been an integral part of human experience. We have domesticated them for both agriculture and companionship. However, over time our kinship with them has morphed into abuse in which the welfare of animals is highly compromised. Now we see animals purely for their utility; in fact, a perception has been created that humans always have precedence over animals. It has now become common practice to inflict cruelty upon them.

Gary L. Francione Quote: “We cannot talk simultaneously about animal rights and the 'humane' slaughter of animals.” (7 wallpapers) - Quotefancy

Animal welfare has always been seen as a niche subject, often relegated to being an emotional one. It has also been perceived as a street dog issue or service for pet or privately-‘owned’ animals, mainly dogs and cats. Of course, protection of cows has often grabbed headlines as well, but never for their welfare, and the issue is often politically motivated. Animals are abused across the country and world, whether in laboratories, farms, or pet shops; and the abuse is often justified for human good.

It is important for pets, zoo animals and farm animals to stay healthy. Animal scientists study  how animal housing and feed can affect health. Animal scientists also address welfare concerns in animal productivity, and they study how to keep animal slaughter humane. (Although the slaughter can neither be called  ‘humane’ nor can be described as minimum pain and distress, Humans have inhumanly, to pamper the taste buds, deceitfully and roguishly started rhetorical like humane slaughter).

By keeping animals healthy we can help stop outbreak of diseases and from infecting and spreading in humans. It is reported in Infection Ecology & Epidemiology journal  Volume 10, 2020 – Issue 1. “Foot and mouth disease (FMD) was also perceived to be common. Additional health issues observed by the veterinarians were; repeat breeding, abortion, Metritis, Dystocia, Ruminal tympany (or bloat), Milk fever (or Hypocalcemia), Diarrhea, Hemorrhagic Septicemia (HS), Babesiosis, Theileriosis, Indigestion, Allergies, and Tick infestation. Mastitis is the main problem. Udder becomes tight and warm to touch and blood comes out of teats on milking”. Our yearning desire to improve breed to extract more and more milk under various missions and Government sponsored plans must also be focused on improving Animal health and welfare measures. There is no rocke science, it is as simple as when machine needs proper maintenance and operating conditions, can’t animal a living being who feel and express the pain? Can’t they live liveable life !

The question is not, Can they reason?, nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer” — Jeremy Bentham : likeusJeremy Bentham - Wikipedia

Our behaviour with animals are like animal never feel pain. The notion that animals cannot feel emotions or pain flies in the face of the foundation of evolutionary biology. Let us see the TED-Ed video, released on 23rd January 2017 showing evolutionary biologist Robyn J. Crook who provided some insight into what we know about this issue. “ In the wild, hurt animals nurse their wounds, make noises to show distress, and even become reclusive. In the lab, researchers found that animals, like chickens and rats, self-administer pain relievers (from special machines set up for tests) when they’re hurting. And in general, animals tend to avoid situations in which they’ve been hurt before — indicating a memory and awareness of previous pain and threats”.

We in India need to protect the animal rights and evolve animal welfare measures to improve human health and productivity. Our Animal Protection laws are outdated and unavailing. Day by day exploitation of animals is noticed as growing due to endless human greed. Rights of animals and humanity towards animals are seriously jeopardising. Gap of Greed between commercial dairyman and butcher are narrowing. Today’s Dairy cattle is tomorrow’s beef cattle. India’s Twenty Eight states and U/T have laws relating to cow and calf slaughter.  However, these do not have uniform application.

Let us begin with Dairy. Rules also apply with regards to registering cattle, through the Prevention of Cruelty (Registration of cattle premises) Rules 1978. The Rules provide that all premises with more than five animals are registered and can be inspected for any welfare issues by the State Animal Husbandry Department. No central level or state level officer of Animal Welfare Board reported to have visited such places. Cattle are living pathetic and wretched life in commercial dairy. In our Country, Quality control is minimal, and the infrastructure is poor. In order to satisfy the increasing demand the farmers / trader/ dairyman/ butcher often follow practices that may result in adverse public health impacts. In the year 2018 The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) has formed a committee for inspection of slaughter houses in the country and directed the states to ensure that stray animals are taken out of roads and properly rehabilitated. The board had issued an advisory to all states and union territories for the revival of cattle pounds and ‘Kanji Houses’ for proper rehabilitation of stray animals. It is cruelty against animals if they are found on the roads. The states have been given one-month time after which the board will take action against officials concerned if complaints are received. The board have appoint animal welfare officers (AWOs) in few districts of the country to tackle cases of cruelty to animals The board  also decided to reach out to the states through meetings with chief ministers to take up the issues of stray animals and ‘Gochar (grazing) land’. But very little is being done on ground even after nearly three years.

One such issue is very serious and failed to draw the attention of many welfare institutions is about the routinely punic practice adopted by almost all the veterinary institutions, veterinary research centre, Breeding centre in various states to sell, auction the male buffaloes, Bulls and probably all animals brought in for the very purpose once it ceased to serve the purpose due to age or any health related issue. The Breeding of and Experiments on Animals (Control and Supervision) Rules 1998 contain more detailed regulation on experimentation on animals. These rules specify Section 9. Specifying: (b) experiments shall be performed with due care and humanity; (C) animals intended for the performance of experiments are properly looked both before and after experiments. Section 10 specifying (c) Every establishment after acquisition of a animal or animals shall not transfer such animal or animals by sale or otherwise to any other establishment or person except to a registered breeder/establishment. (d) The animals used for experimentation in a production/ breed improvement programme may be given out by the breeder institution for domestic use. The reality is eventually these animals are going to slaughter house. Most of the time buyers are connected with butchering industry. Even if such animals are sold for agriculture purpose it is extreme painful situation animal is pushed in to. At the age of 12 years or so, after providing service for breeding for ten years (generally mature age is three years and till the age of twelve such male can provide service)or for various research on their body for more then a decade, they are literally exhausted and weary. They need and deserve to live retired life. It is grave injustice to cohere them in agriculture, tilting, ploughing or labouring or transportation.   For the purpose of farming and tilting. Ploughing bulls need to tamed at younger age. They need to be castrated. It’s horrified experience for male cattle to plough, tilt, or pulling cart (Bullock cart) with heavy implements. Such perilous attempt ends with loss of life of male beast. Such retired animals after providing prolonged service should be shifted to Gaushala for rest of the life. Such beast can be made economically viable if they their dung and urine can be used properly to provide green energy and organic manure and pesticide, generating bio gas, electricity and fuel.


Kamlesh Shah

Legal Committee, Inspection Committee & Committee Member

Animal Welfare Board of India.
Ministry of Animal Husbandry. Govt. Of India.

Trustee : Akhil Bharat Krishi Go Seva Sangh

Gopuri ( Nagpur), Malagoan and Mumbai


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