A Plea To Save Indian Cows.

Indian Desi Cow (A2)
Indian Desi Cow (A2)
Devil in the Milk

The main objective of our charitable institution is to protect the native breeds of cows and to spread awareness of the same. We therefore, place before you the following facts and urge you to support this cause in the interest of our nation.

The Indian breeds of cows are a crucial part of the country’s ecological heritage. In the past, these breeds were developed in different parts of the subcontinent by selecting the best animals for their preferred traits such as milking capacity, draught power, feeding requirements, capacity to adapt to local weather, immunity, etc. The purity of such breeds was maintained with great discipline and wisdom in each breeding tract.

However, since the sixties, in a bid to increase the production of cow milk, the Indian Government has resorted to “cross-breeding” by using foreign bulls and semen. How damaging this has been is evident from the gradual extinction of our low-maintenance, superior and enduring variety of native breed of cows. Instead, we are now confronted with the progressive creation of expensive hybrids that require air-conditioned stalls, costly feed and medical care.

“Devil in the Milk” by Dr. Keith Woodford, an internationally published book, a ground-breaking product of extensive research, is an eye-opener. It examines the link between a protein in the A1 type of milk produced by many cows in the United States and North European countries and a range of serious illnesses including diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, arteriosclerosis, sudden infant death syndrome, neurological impairment, autistic and schizophrenic changes.

A1 and A2 are the two types of known cow milk available for consumption which are genetic variants of the beta-casein milk protein that differ by one amino acid. All milk was once of the A2 type, until a genetic mutation occurred thousands of years ago in some European cattle. The A1 beta-casein type is the most common type found in cow’s milk in Europe (excluding France), the USA, Australia and New Zealand. Cows that have the mutated beta casein are called A1 cows and include breeds like Holstein.

Our ‘desi’ cows fall under the A2 category. In 2011, the Indian scientists at the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) proclaimed that the A2 allele gene in Indian milk breeds of cows and buffalos are 100 per cent, while in foreign breeds, it is around 60 per cent. New Zealand farmers have stopped cross breeding of A2 milk producing cows with A1 milk producing European breeds of cows. A2 milk is now considered the only safe and desirable milk fit for human consumption and is being sold across Australia, Japan and Korea and USA.

Why then, in India, at a time when scientists are extolling the virtues of the A2 variant of milk produced by our “desi” cows and shunning the A1 variant of milk produced by the European breeds, the National Diary Development Board [NDDB] continues to import Holstein bulls known for the A1 variant of milk?

Why does our Indian Government, continue with its program of animal breeding and development policies that target the replacement and supposed “up-gradation” of our indigenous breeds with exotic Holstein Friesians and Jerseys,  imported from Australia and the US?

India has about 37 pure cattle breeds. Five of these — Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharparkar and Rathi — are known for their milking prowess. A few others, such as Kankrej, Ongole and Hariana, belong to dual breeds that have both milch and draught qualities. The rest are pure draught breeds.

It is observed that when official data records the average yield of indigenous cows as 2.2 kg daily, it clubs these dual breeds and non-dairy draught breeds together with the five top milch breeds and so undermines the performance of India’s best milch cows, such as Girs and Rathis — while establishing supremacy of the exotic cattle. Over the years, this has justified a policy that discards Indian milch breeds to promote exotic hybrids. First we blame our cows for low milk yield without considering the field constraints. Then we replace those cows with exotic breeds that are more vulnerable to the same constraints. The sheer fatality of exclusively promoting exotic cattle over “desi” cattle is much evident.

The 12th Five-year plan (2012-2017) continues to lend official status to the Government’s exercise of increasing productivity of milch animals by importing foreign breeds for insemination and cross-breeding.

Are we hurtling towards an impending disaster? We fear for the future of our children.

Meanwhile, our desi breeds keep setting new records abroad. The flourishing of our Gir cattle in Brazil is sufficient proof of how ‘desi’ cows can perform with adequate support and care.

On the one hand, our new Government is promoting the “Make in India” policy, while on the other hand, it’s “Import” Policy in respect of Live Stock is steadily destroying our superior breed of ‘desi’ cows.  

Let us together make a clarion call – here and now…

  • Let us together join hands to secure our children’s future by saving our Indian breed of cows from extinction.
  • Persuade our Government to stop the “import of the exotic breed of cattle for the purpose of cross-breeding and insemination of Indian cows”.
  • Persuade our Government to extend the “Make in India” mantra towards our Cows:-“Develop and Promote our Indian Breed of Cattle”.
Foreign Jersey Cow (A1 Type)