FIAPO report on dairy industry leaves a bad taste in the mouth

MUMBAI, OCTOBER 27:
Picture-perfect images of cows on green pastures belie the cruelty inflicted on them in an increasingly space-deprived dairy industry, alleges the Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), which has called for stricter norms in the interest of public health and family welfare.

In its report, Cattle-ogue, an investigation into 451 milk-producing centres across 10 States, FIAPO says that cows raised in these dairies were closely confined leaving them unable to nurse their calves, for instance; they were treated like milk-producing machines; genetically manipulated and pumped with antibiotics and hormones in order to produce more milk.

Health risk

And it’s not just the animal that suffers in such cases, but also people who end up drinking the milk coming from these sick and depressed animals, says FIAPO director Arpan Sharma. In fact, members of the medical fraternity have pointed out how milk from distressed animals could increase the chances of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, among other ailments.

The government needs to bring in laws to regulate urban dairies at the Central and State levels, Sharma told BusinessLine.

The FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) regulates milk processing, but when milk is sourced from badly-run dairies, the raw material or input ingredient is affected, he points out. In cities, most of the milk, sweets and paneer are made out of milk sourced from badly run dairies on the periphery of the city, he says.

“The Centre, too, needs to amend the Registration of Cattle Premises Rules 1978 to introduce conditions for the holding of cattle in commercial dairies,” he says, adding that they have approached different authorities on this.

Bringing in better and regulated conditions will also help small farmers in the business by weeding out fly-by night, unscrupulous operators, who masquerade as dairy farmers, he added

Unfair treatment

The FIAPO report found that urban dairy animals get little access to soft ground in 78 per cent of the dairies it investigated.

“They spend their lives in cramped, poorly ventilated and dark enclosures in more than one quarter of the dairies, where injuries from slipping in their own excreta are a common occurrence; 64.1 per cent dairies had ill, injured and distressed cattle. Poor veterinary care and illegal use of drugs and hormones such as oxytocin to increase the milk let-down are prevalent. Thus, an evident delinking of humane treatment of cattle as sentient beings, is being noticed as a result of the rising demand for milk and milk products,” the report said.

Further, the report points out that “cattle are separated from calves (male calves die within the first week in 25 per cent of dairies) and receive little to no veterinary care, and are injected with drugs procured illegally to induce sudden milk let-down in almost 50 per cent of the dairies. Unproductive cattle are sold to economically weaker farmers for their personal use or to slaughterhouses by 62.9 per cent of the dairies – both at low prices to earn meager sums of money from the final disposition”.

Faking it

The investigation also reveals the system of the khalbaccha, an effigy made by stuffing a dead calf with hay. “Because of strong maternal bonds, the mother often stops lactating if the calf has died. Hence a khalbaccha is routinely used to mimic the presence of a calf and continue milking,” it said, calling for an urgent and strict implementation of existing laws of animal welfare and urban governance.

Date : 30 October 2017

Source : http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/fiapo-report-on-dairy-industry-leaves-a-bad-taste-in-the-mouth/article9928288.ece