Animals used for food and fibre

1. What are some of the common issues faced by animals farmed for their food and fibre?

Some of the common issues faced by animals farmed for their food and fibre are:

• Antibiotics- Farm animals are fed antibiotics so that they are able to survive the conditions that they are kept in.
• Cruelty- Animals here are often ill-treated and practice such as de-beaking and forced moulting are rather common.
• Poor Hygiene- They are kept in filthy conditions and no proper hygiene is maintained.
• Poor ventilation- There is sometimes no or very little ventilation in the rooms that these animals are kept in.
• Intensive confinement- These animals are kept in small cages or jam-packed sheds or on filthy feedlots, often with so little space that they can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably

2. There is a lame cow on the road, how can I help it?

In such a situation, one can either contact a vet or report the same to an animal protection organisation or a Gaushala/ Cow shelter.

3. There is a cow lying on the road, that needs first aid, what do I do?

In such a situation, one should check what sort of a wound is it and if the wound is deep or not. If the wound is deep, one should immediately contact a vet or a gaushala. But if the wound isn’t that deep then one should try and give primary first aid to the cow by cleaning the wound carefully and applying betadine, or some other antiseptic. One should always be careful of one’s safety while dealing with any animal and contact a vet or gaushala/cow shelter for future aid.

4. What do street cows eat?

While the ideal food for a cow is green grass and hay, cows eat food leftovers including plastic. In cities and towns, large numbers of cows on the roads eat from garbage bins, foraging for fruit and vegetable leftovers, anything edible and smelling like food. Cows have always been fed kitchen scraps, often presented as a religious offering in the mornings. Slowly, over time, they build up a huge amount of plastic inside their stomachs. This plastic gets entangled with different materials and it becomes hard like cement inside their rumens, which is the first belly of the cow and the cows dies. One simple thing that could directly affect the lives of countless street cows is to stop putting waste food or other vegetarian waste into plastic bags.

5. A lot of cows roam around my house, what can I do to combat this issue?

Cows on the street are a direct result of the overwhelming quantities of milk that humans consume. Street cows who wander the streets are at high risk of being hit by vehicles and illnesses related to the consumption of plastic. Thus, if you know of a cow that has been hit or injured, one must take her to the Gaushala, or cow shelter, where she can have a speedy recovery. Some Gaushalas that can be contacted include :-

However, keeping a healthy cow/buffalo in a shelter would mean a life where the cow can neither move around nor express any natural behaviour. Thus, the best thing to do with a healthy cow is to let her/him be where it is.

6. I’ve heard plastic kills cows, is that true?

Yes, plastic kills cows. The state Veterinary Department made the shocking discovery after an alarming rise in the number of cows dying due to polythene consumption. Cows eat food leftovers including the plastic. Slowly, over time, they build up a huge amount of plastic inside their stomachs that gets entangled with different materials and it becomes hard like cement inside their rumens, which is the first belly of the cow. Through this process the cow ultimately dies.

7. How do I take care of a cow that is full of plastic?

Usually when a cow eats plastic, it comes out in the manure. However, a cow is full of plastic, might need a surgery (Rumenotomy). It is believed that after the surgery, the cow will need a lifetime of care and protection and cannot be sent back to the road.

8. The kids in my neighbourhood throw pebbles at some pigs near my house, what preventive action can be taken?

One should first of all talk to the kids and try and explain them the harm such an action does to the animal. They should be told that just like humans these street animals too should be dealt with kindness and care.
If they still not stop, one should then contact their parents and explain to them that such an action of their kids is harming the animal and adding to its plight. If need be, tell them that their action is resulting to the violation of the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals Act, 1960.
If they still don’t stop, then one can go to the nearest animal protection organisation and get them involved.
A short term solution may be to visit the police station and get them to take action; however, in the long run an awareness programme in schools could help.

9. I saw a chicken being slaughtered at my friend’s house, is that legal?

Slaughtering of chicken at someone’s house is clearly against the law. Section 3(1) of the Slaughter House Rule, 2001 states that animals cannot be slaughtered anywhere except in a recognized and licensed slaughter house. Hence, such an action is the violation of the rule and is therefore punishable under the law.

10. I’ve seen chickens being transported upside down on a cycle, why are they like that?

Once a hen loses her egg laying capacity, they are of no use in the farm and hence they are sent to the nearby slaughter houses for getting slaughtered. They are transported upside down on a cycle as the slaughter houses are nearby only. This process is extremely inhumane and cruel. It also amounts to a violation of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

11. I’ve seen chickens transported in little cubicles behind trucks, what can I do?

These little cubicles are known as battery cages. Battery cages are rows and columns of cages connected together, sharing common divider walls, as in the cells of a battery. Usually, when the hens are transported, they are stuffed in the battery cages. Due to the thin wiring of the cages, these hens are subjected to foot and claw damage. Feather pecking and bone breakage are some of other pain and injuries caused to them. Transportation through battery cages violates the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals act, 1960.

12. I’ve seen cows being tied and transported in a tempo, is that alright?

The Indian law has set the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Transport of Animals) Rules 2000 which lays rules essential for the transport of animals, violation of which is punishable under the Indian law. These rules cover issues like water and food arrangements.
One of the rules also states that If at all the animal has to tied, a rope with suitable cushioning has to be used and the rope should be tied around its neck and not around any other body part and that if at all 2 animals are to be tied with a single rope then there should be 2 feet distance in between them and should be of similar physical conditions and strength. Also no more than two animals can be tied together with the same rope, adjacent to each other. It is fine to tie cows and transport them if the above said rules are followed and the food and water arrangements are taken care of.

13. Is the slaughter of all animals permitted in India?

No, the slaughter of allanimals is not permitted in India. Animals are protected by the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act of 1960 according to which beating, over-riding, keeping or confining any animal in any cage, mutilating or killing any animal, among many others, amounts to cruelty on animals and is punishable by law. However animal slaughter is permissible for ritual purposes and during festivals like “Bakr-Eid”. Even on Bakr-Eid, it is illegal to sacrifice any other animal other than sheep and goat.

14. I regularly see young male calves on streets, what do I do?

In dairies, female cows are impregnated to cater to the rising demands of milk. While female calves are bred for meeting the further demands, male calves are either slaughtered or abandoned. One of the ways to ensure that male calves don’t end up on streets is to actively reduce one’s consumption of milk and milk products. As always, healthy calves should not be sent to Gaushalas only for the sake of ‘human’ convenience.

15. Can you name some organisations that can help with the rehabilitation of illegally transported animals?

The following link can direct you to the local institutes that can help rehabilitate illegally transported animals. (LINK BACK TO Animal Protection Directory and Institutional Framework)

16. What is bush meat? Is it prevalent in India?

Bushmeat refers to the meat from wild animals which are hunted down in Africa, Asia, and South America. The term is often used to refer to the hunting of endangered ape species in a wider range of countries and is just not limited to birds, amphibians, and other mammals. In India,despite the ban on hunting since 1991, poachers and forest dwellers still feast on some of India’s endangered species. The craze for bushmeat is leading many creatures like Himalayan Quail to near-extinction.

17. Is it painful to shave sheep off their fur?

Many people have a tough time wrapping their heads around sheep shearing and the cruelty behind it. In natural circumstances, sheep grow fur during the winter months and are ready to shed by summer. Since shedding wool on their own would lead to loss of fur, many sheep are prematurely sheared, leading to deaths in a large number. To combat this issue of death, which is common to shearers, efforts are made to increase lamb populations instead of shearing them properly.
Shearers are also paid by volume and not by the hour, thus mishandling and ill treatment of sheep is extremely common. When the wool production of sheep declines, they are often sent to slaughterhouses in bad transport conditions. Thus, the industry makes it a painful experience for sheep to be sheared.