Indian Dairy Sector Headed Towards Farmageddon

100% FDI in dairy set to endanger the lives of millions of animals and the livelihoods of small farmers

New Delhi (7th July, 2016): The recent decision of the NDA government to approve 100% FDI in the dairy sector of the country is a complete turnaround on its earlier stand of providing justice to small farmers. It had previously opposed the same move of the UPA government in 2011 for a 51% FDI in the food processing sector to safeguard the rights of farmers and their livestock. Shocked with this decision of the government, the Federation of Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO)- as a national federation working for the rights of animals- has raised serious concerns about the sudden change of the government’s stance on animal welfare and livelihood of economically weak farmers.

In the light of this decision they have written to the Ministry of Agriculture, laying stress on the issue of intensification while elaborating the details of its grave implications on the lives of farm animals.
“The intensification of Indian dairies, without presence of effective policy regulations, will result in poor welfare standards for the cattle used in the dairy sector”, says Varda Mehrotra, Director, FIAPO. She stated serious concerns about the increasingly synthetic transformation of the Indian dairy sector from small setups to an intensive framework where the rights of the animal are neglected in the process of maximising profits in the garb of “White Revolution”.

Without the implementation of stringent regulation, multinational companies will wreak havoc in the lives of millions of animals and humans as was seen in the case of Fonterra in China. The dairy giant from New Zealand almost caused an irreversible botulism outbreak in the country, wherein, an estimated 300,000 victims were reported, with six infants dying from kidney stones and others reporting kidney damage, 860 babies were hospitalised. The chemical melamine, appeared  to  have  been  added  to  the milk  to  cause  it  to  appear  to  have  higher protein  content.  The mega- dairy was finally driven out of the market to protect the interest of humans and animals of the country.

This is just one of the many examples of the negative impact of multinational corporations on the lives and economies of developing and under- developed nations. There needs to be an effective policy reform in the dairy business to improve the existing condition of cattle used in them.

The federation has demanded the Ministry to streamline the implementation of such stringent laws, which will protect the dairy cattle from any form of exploitation. Implementation of such regulation needs to be the primary priority of the government before considering the introduction of FDI in the dairy sector to prevent another Fonterra from taking root in our country and destroying human and animal lives alike.

Notes:

1.    Letter to the Ministry of Agriculture available on request.

2.    Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO), is India’s apex animal protection organisation. As the collective voice of the animal protection movement in India, FIAPO is the catalyst that protects the interests of animals on local and national levels – through education, research, lobbying, mobilization, training and direct action.  It has 70 members and over 200 supporter organizations across the country.

3.    Laws protecting animals and ensuring just international business:
The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Registration of Cattle Premises) Rules, 1978, Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Transport of Animal Amendment – 2009) Act, 1978, Food Safety Act, 2006, Guidelines of the sub-scheme Special Programme for Dairy Development as a part of National Mission for Protein Supplements under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Government of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Department of Animal Husbandry advisory dated 2nd December, 2014 on use of antibiotics on food producing animals,  Technical guidelines to states for implementation of various components of centrally sponsored scheme “Livestock health and Disease Control” by the Ministry of Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Article 21:  Protection of life and personal liberty: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law, Article 51: Promotion of international peace and security The State shall endeavour to: promote international peace and security; maintain just and honourable relations between nations; foster respect for international law and treaty arbitration obligations in the dealings of organised peoples with one another; and encourage settlement of international disputes.