Despite Hype, Cow Welfare Continues To Be On Sidelines In UP

LUCKNOW || Following the orders of the top brass, strict instructions were given by the District Magistrate to officials regarding living, food and other basic facilities of the bovine shelters in Ambedkar Nagar but the instructions have not been implemented in reality.

The administration is caught in hot soup with multiple bovine deaths at shelters. The administration had been dealing with deaths at Ratna of Jalapur development block and the Siswa cow shelter of the Akbarpur development block. The latest addition to that list has been Tikampara of the Katehari development block.

Only recently two bovines died. The District Magistrate of Ambedkar Nagar had instructed to send jute sacks to all the bovine shelter sites so that the cows could be protected from the cold, but in Tikampara, cows can still be seen without sacks.

The remains of the bovines scattered all around here are a telling tale of negligence. Cold is being said to be the main reason behind the deaths of cows. Livestock officer Gulab Singh has told the media that two cows have died. There is a provision for post-mortem only after someone’s complaint. On the other hand, in this cow shelter, the concerned persons in the cow shelter and the administration are caught unaware about the scenario.

In the last week of December 2019, twenty-five cows were found dead at a cow shelter in Khaptihaklan of Palani tehsil in Banda district. An inspection revealed bodies of dead cows scattered and dogs were eating remains of some of them. More than 700 stray animals, mostly cows and dogs have died in the state capital due to the winter chill.

Officials quoted to say the cow coats used to rid cows from the cold are of jute and it is thick and dense. This helps in cows tide past winter. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has a strong inclination for cows. It is common knowledge in the state and beyond that, he grooms cows in the backyard of Gorakhnath Peeth Temple where he doubles up as the chief priest. In Lucknow too he has similar interests while at the seat of power.

The Yogi led regime had taken the decision to get warm coats for cows ahead of the harsh winter. Bonfires and other related dietary regimens were planned. The warm-up strategy was targeted at filling the gaps if any at the State-run cowsheds. More importantly, the coats had separate designs for male and female cattle.

The plan was to give bulls a single layer coat, cows meanwhile were to get a two-layer garment and calves covered with three-layered thermals. Plans aside cows have been left at the mercy of jute bags which often slips from a cow’s supine back. The troubles though seem larger with bone-chilling winter unbearable for the humble cow.

Dairy farmers in some European countries have long back started using coats for cattle. In India, Ayodhya is probably the first in India to provide such facilities.

–Arijit Bose/Lucknow

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