Import of adult livestock
09 January 2013
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
Cell: 0301 2819951