Monday, October 5, 2009

Importance of Indian Breeds of Cows

Importance of Indian Breeds of Cows

  1. TB in Cows

Press report in Times of India 28th Sep 2009, informs that at Anand in Gujarat , 60 HF cows had been found positive in TB tests. This is a cause for worry about safety of Indian Dairy Milk.
Milk of Cows suffering from TB can spread TB to Humans. In Europe and USA there is a system of culling such cows and sending them to slaughter houses. Although the cows suffering from TB in Anand are reported to have been shifted to Ahmadabad, but there no word about what actions are proposed next. Unlike Europe and USA, in India it may not be easy to transfer TB cows to slaughter houses.

Importance of Indian breeds of cows for India needs to be appreciated and given as much protection as a matter of Govt. policy as possible as possible.

In the past pasteurization was considered a technological miracle that could destroy all pathogens/disease carrying organisms in Milk. Of course pasteurization affects all living organisms in Milk and damages the useful nutritive enzymes also in the process planned to eliminate pathogens. Thus pasteurization is not considered a good process, but is perhaps unavoidable for a Dairy system. Age old wisdom is always valid, that all efforts should be directed to ensure a 'clean' milk system so that pasteurization can be avoided as far as possible.

Indian Vedic Tradition:
The very first mantra in Yajurveda says "may our cows be free of TB". The second mantra describes in detail the perquisites of good environments to ensure healthy living conditions.
First is abundance of greenery around, next comes plenty of Sunshine, next is Raw Earth for being tread upon, and finally regular performance of Homa to keep the atmosphere free from air borne infections..

Indian Breeds disease resistant
It is a well acknowledged fact that Indian breeds of cows normally have much higher disease resistance than Cross Bred Cows. Mastitis is also a very common problem with HF and cross bred cows under Indian conditions..
These high milk yielding cows are also very prone to suffer heat stress under warm Indian climate. Cross bred cows compared to Indian breeds of Cows, not only need very good nourishment but also need cooler and more comfortable environment. These special conditions can be provided only in well organized dairy farms. In India by and large our Dairy Industry is based on Milk collection from small rural cattle owners. For small rural farmers to ensure that their cattle are not suffering from TB becomes more difficult under the current Govt Veterinary Breeding programs that only encourage cross breeding of Indian cows with HF breeds. There are also no screening tests feasible for detecting TB infected milk at the milk collection centers. This makes the entire Indian Dairy Milk supply a possible source of transfer of TB to human community. There fore all efforts must made to ensure eradication of TB in our cows. It may kindly be considered if a BCG type TB eradication campaign for cattle should be put in place.

This fact also bears repeating that Indian breeds of cows, in households, are not liable to have TB in general, otherwise TB would have been very rampant in Indian rural areas that have a tradition of maintaining household cows.

A2 milk BCM7 consideration

World Dairy scientists have also discovered that BCM7 ( Beta Caso Morphine 7) a highly toxic opioid, is found in Milk of HF cows. This milk is designated as type A1 and has been found to be strongly linked with very large number of human diseases. Starting from Autism and Pediatric diabetes, Milk of HF cows has also been found to have strong association with occurrence of Cardiac Artery diseases, Diabetes, Arthritis, Arteriosclerosis, Alzheimer, and Parkinson.
Milk of Bos Indicus cattle ie. Indian breeds of cows, and Jersey, Guernsey, Icelandic cows, Yak and Sheep has also been reported to be immune to these diseases. Milk which is free from BCM7 is designated as type A2 Milk.
Dairy farmers around the world have on their own initiatives started breeding their cattle for producing A2 milk.

Upgrading Indian Cows

1. Cross breeding option:

Susceptibility of HF cross bred cows to higher incidence of Mastitis, TB and higher heat stress, in addition to BCM7, makes a strong case to reconsider the policy, cross breeding of Indian cows with HF. American veterinarians are already reported to be working on strategy to genetically modify HF cows to produce BCM7 free milk. Till such time as genetically modified HF cows are a reality, for upgrading the low yielding Indian cows, use of exotic Jersey and Guernsey breeds will still be an option .

2.Natural upgrading:

100 days Pre Partum and Post Partum care , along with breeding with good pedigree bulls has shown significant upgrading in health and Milk yield of Indian breeds of Cows.

3.Green Fodder:

Natural feed for cows is Green Fodder. Greater effort is needed for better technological interventions by Hydroponics Fodder, Coppicing of perennial leaf fodder trees , and Marine algae such as Azolla.

Greed for higher milk yield from HF cross bred cows should not be at the cost of spreading more disease in the Indian society. Milk yield of Indian breeds of cows is already being successfully improved upon by better feeds, health care and better veterinary practices.