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Full of Cow Experts, Animal Welfare Board Wants Sanctuaries For 'Gau Mata'

Cows' gain seems to be other animals’ loss in India. At least the composition of Animal Welfare Board suggests so.

Eram Agha | News18.com@erampatrakar

Updated:June 14, 2017, 3:27 PM IST
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Full of Cow Experts, Animal Welfare Board Wants Sanctuaries For 'Gau Mata'
Picture for Representation. (Photo: Reuters)
New Delhi: Cows' gain seems to be other animals’ loss in India. At least the composition of Animal Welfare Board suggests so.

Set up in 1962 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Board is a statutory advisory body on animal welfare laws. But three years after the BJP government came to power, seven out of eight independent members of the board are ‘cow experts’. The chair for eighth member is vacant.

News18 spoke to five out of these seven independent members who have worked on cows and want to utilize their tenure at AWB to promote cow welfare. With plans varying from creating cow sanctuaries, maintaining gaushalas, and maximum use of cow dung and urine, the Board’s singular focus seems to be cows.

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Animal rights activist Rukmini Sekhar slammed the government for ignoring all other animals just to push its agenda for cows. “Cow is one animal among many others. A bullock or an ox would feel the same pain as a cow. I really hope the cow experts on the Board deal with issues with respect to the law,” she said.

The Board members, however, have junked all such doubts and said that their expertise would bring ‘new plans’ to the table, which would aid in protection of cows and other animals.

'Build cow sanctuaries, throw gau rakshaks out of circle'

Cows must have the freedom to walk around, asserts Girish Shah of Samast Mahajan, a Mumbai-based NGO, who is now a member of AWB. Many within the Board believe that the way cows are held up in closed environments is not conducive to their growth and development.

“There should be a free, huge land, like a sanctuary, where people can come and see cows,” said Singh.


“We must replace the current model of stall feeding. This was adapted from Holland and New Zealand. But, why do we need the cattle to eat and urinate at the same place? Which is why I think it’s apt for us to adopt the traditional model of animal keeping. They move out freely, feed themselves and return to their owners on their own. They must have that liberty,” added Shah.

His opinion was backed by Mohan Singh Ahluwalia of Gwala Gaddi, a Noida-based dairy products firms, who said the cows must get sanctuaries, just like the ones for tigers, lions and other wild animals. “There should be a free, huge land, like a sanctuary, where people can come and see cows,” said Singh.

ALSO READ | India Carrying out 'Scientific Research' on Cow Dung, Urine: Harsh Vardhan


Amidst reports of violence by gau rakshaks, one of the Board members said that rakshaks knew nothing about cows, which is why they were resorting to violence.

“These rakshaks don’t even have a cow at their home. How can they unleash terror on others? Saving cows also means teaching these so-called rakshaks a lesson,” said Singh.

'Power of cow urine, dung is tremendous'

The AWB members say the benefits of using cow urine and dung for producing medicines and other products go leaps and bounds ahead of just treating illnesses.

“The products from cow urine and dung can be used in farming as well. It’s a source of nutrition for the soil,” said Dr R S Chauhan of College of Veterinary and Animal Science, Uttarakhand.

The medicinal value of it, these experts argue, are ‘unimaginable’. “I have written more than 50 research papers and I can tell you that medicines made from cow urine and dung can cure cancer, lung infections, and liver problems,” said Chauhan.


Working towards improving cow productivity, in the most holistic way, is the key to gain maximum benefits. “I would discourage farmers from discarding their cows. If we streamline things, which is one of our plans, a cow that gives 2 liters of milk can give birth to a calf that gives 10 liters,” said Mohan Singh. He added that making healthy cows mate or using the semen of a bull that gives 10 liters of milk would help in creating a ‘healthy and strong’ offspring.

The medicinal value of it, these experts argue, are ‘unimaginable’. “I have written more than 50 research papers and I can tell you that medicines made from cow urine and dung can cure cancer, lung infections, and liver problems,” said Chauhan.

If, he added, the excreta was used well, it may also result in revenue after sale of the products, which, in turn, can be used to make gaushalas self-sufficient.

'Good gaushalas are the answer to problems'

All benefits of cow urine and dung based products can only be used to the maximum if the gaushalas are maintained, the members said. “It all boils down to the gaushala. If these places are maintained, cow urine and dung can be used in the best possible manner,” said Sunil Mansinghka of Go Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Deolapar in Nagpur. He went on to explain that the maintenance of the gaushala would assure that the owner treats the urine and dung in a way that it can be re-used.

Fuel from cow dung is also a huge impetus to maintaining our pledge towards tackling climate change.


Not just the products, but the gaushala would also help in farming practices. “Chemical farming will further worsen the situation for the planet. We need dung-based farming practices. Fuel from cow dung is also a huge impetus to maintaining our pledge towards tackling climate change. For all these products to come through in their real form, without being meddled with, we need gaushalas that are well equipped and maintained,” said Mansinghka.

ALSO READ | Fearing Gau Rakshaks, People Opting to Sell Their Cattle Online


Shah, however, said that while maintaining a gaushala is important, setting up a welfare board for animals in every state was equally imperative. “There should be societies in talukas and welfare officers looking into the prevention of animal cruelty. Work on the ground level has to happen for all the animals,” he added.

'Must have cow census'

While one of the experts argued that there were some records on number of cows available, they don’t put forth a comprehensive picture. “There are some government records available, but they don’t give a complete picture of the bovines. For instance, we don’t know how many cows are not part of the system,” said Dr Hitesh Jani, head department of Panchkarma, Gujarat Ayurved University, adding that his project, Kutch Gau Dal, was about to change things.

His Kutch Gau Dal project was looking at cows in Kutch, which according to him, were the maximum in the area. The report, which should be out in six months, would have details on the grassland present, total number of cows, etc.

Shah, however, said the census needed to gather a broader perspective and needed to focus on other animals too.
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