Import of adult livestock

09 January 2013

Mutton Import for whose benefit
Mutton Import for whose benefit

With reference to my submission  “Mutton Import for whose benefit”  published  in  the daily, DAWN  of Sept, 22, 1995,  I  take this liberty  to place the case of our Livestock-wealth before the policy makers. To-day, fortunately we have a government who has shown special interest towards development of  Livestock & Poultry  who, if apprised of the  pros & cons of  Importing  Livestock,  will certainly ask for the comments of  Experts in this sensitive field.

There  may not be any other country in the entire world except ours, which has so magnanimously been bestowed with unbelievable diversity of Animals & Birds, both wild as well as domesticated. If we take only  those animals that produce wholesome Food for the  logarithmically multiplying  populace, there is a long list of pure lines of animals that have existed here since centuries and have carved out an epizootiological ecosystem peculiar to  the precise imperatives essential for their health & productivity. It is through a complex process of commensalism that Life of different types & forms exists on this earth. In the interest of mankind therefore, attempts have always been  made all over the world,  to conserve the ecology  by  saving  every form of  Life, that is commensurate  to  that of Man. The undeniable fact is that  Animals & Plants can thrive  without  Man  but  Humanity  cannot  survive  without  them.  

What  we need Sir, is not exotic animals but to improve the  production  economics of human Food. by improving the proficiency of  performance in our own animals. Genetical Engineering has opened new avenues  and  has provided  means  to achieve  unbelievable  productive potential  especially in the sphere of  Milk, Eggs,  Meat (chicken, mutton, beef, veal), even vegetables, etc. Unfortunately instead of  exercising perseverance and capitalising on the  latest technology  aimed at long-term  improvement in quality of livestock,  we seem to go for the option of   shortcuts,  viz,  importation of live animals, that might, not only  be counter-productive  but will definitely be suicidal for the indigenous animal wealth.

Rather than wasting our already scarce  resources,   we ought to aim at  creating  conditions conducive for  attaining higher targets of productivity with lower  rates of flock depletion mainly due to malnutrition, malmanagement and impaired health. The focus ought to have been on  upgrading  our own animals and  improvement of  their inherent productive potential. Through painstaking research and imaginative planning, remarkable feats in this regards, have been accomplished in many countries. Here also, there is no dearth of  competent animal scientists & experts in disciplines of health, genetics, nutrition  &  farm-technology, etc, who can achieve what may seem impossible.

 

Why does our own indigenous buffalo,  in extraneous environs of Bulgaria or Italy, yields Milk  many  times more than what it does here  in its own natural habitat, despie possessing  high production potential.?

Why do  scrub cattle  of East Africa, after they go through   “feed-lot systems”    provide  beef  of a quality acceptable in Europe ?.

Why can`t we  augment production,  qualitative as well as quantitative,  of  milk & meat from  our unwanted  and  abandoned  cattle & buffaloes roaming in thousands along river beds in deep country-side.? 

       Why can’t  the millions of weaned-out male calves be saved from starvation or slaughter,  and raised to yield quality Beef ?  Sheep & goats that usually are slaughtered young and at low body weight might also yield much more carcass weight if properly fed and fattened.

Instead of   importing   animals, not wanted in the exporting country, it would have been  more prudent and productive if a comprehensive  study was  launched to apply  the latest technology of animal Farming and to  educate /train the  farmer in this science-oriented business. There are six  Universities  and many Research Institutions in the country where  precise knowledge & expertise in these sophisticated fields of Animal Health & Production  are offered. They have on their rolls eminent scientists of international repute who can help, if the Government  cares to  involve them in  policy making or seek  their expert opinion  before  launching a major policy like import of adult animals.

Way back,  probably in the 70’s, cattle in a country, had out-grown the capacity to hold them and the authorities  there exhausted all means to get rid of them. Then,  in their desperation, they had a brain-wave to dump the unwanted animals in Pakistan. It was after quite serious deliberations that the  temptation  of  receiving  a  huge  gift  of  cattle, absolutely  free-of-cost,

was somehow resisted.  But, about a decade ago,  quite aged adult sheep and their meat  was received with open arms.  Fortunately the dole did not last for long.  No investigative study however, appears to have been conducted to assess the effect of such imports on the disease pattern of indigenous animals..

Sir, the issue also attains a certain gravity because of the proficiency & effective competency of our Quarantine system. Live plants, animals and  their products, etc, as well as human beings,  are allowed entry  in many  countries, after ruthless application of Rules & Regulations governing  transmissibility of infectious diseases. It might be recollected that, High-grade Horses sent to  Norway, to participate in Equestrian show being held  there, were destroyed the moment they landed. It was a very heartless action but   technically  there was no other option available. No country  would import a suspected carrier of disease  which  is not present in its epizootiological (epidemiological) macrocosm. The secret  of  better standards of health  and development of human, animal & plant life, lies in the ability to mercilessly  enforce  the  fool-proof  Quarantine system.

 

Meeting the shortages  through short-cut approach of imports,  will not only discourage farmers to raise animals but may also de-stabilise the epizootiological equillibrium established  by Nature through centuries.

Will India, or any other country,  import adult  animals from Pakistan ?

Before going for a major exercise that may be pregnant with  occult risks, Please,Sir,  in the interest of indigenous wealth of  Livestock, let the sensitive issue be examined by those who are competent to do so.

vet. Dr. M. Sayedain. Jaffery

 

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