Cow Economics


Good nature and bad economics


Cow economics

Good nature and bad economics

Talks of tasteless topic dominate social media. The Jallikattu issue brought domestic breed of bulls and deshi cows on a centre stage of discussion. Often interpretations have no merit and argument baseless. Facts are overlooked.

Nature renders locally what is desirable for natives' use. That way, domestic cow milk is good for the health of natives. But economics works against this nature.

Cow in India is no less than God, as it is considered a sacred animal. Cow milk, curd, butter and ghee are part of service to the God and Goddess in India. Indeed, milk of domestic cow is better than milk of imported breeds. But most Indian farmers have imported breeds of cows as yield from them is usually significantly higher. High yield has better economic sense. Not only businessmen do look at economy sense, but also farmers do. After all dairy farmers are concerned only about milk yield and its colour, but not about the variety of animal they have at their sheds. 

Everyone knows, the economics of imported cows work better for dairy farmers. While there is no doubt about the milk quality of domestic breed of cows at all, there is a serious doubt about farmers' affordability and comforts with having domestic cows in their farms. These cows are not so lucrative. Bringing high level of productivity was the primary aim behind the western cross-breeding system that we have been seeing for the last four decades in India. Though many farmers haven’t become very rich with dairy business, some have obviously become over the years through their dairy business mainly because of foreign breed of cows they have in their sheds. In the 70s and 80s, many Indian households had to change into foreign breeds as they found their domestic breeds called deshi cows less lucrative. 

Nature renders locally what is desirable for natives' use. That is the laws of nature. That way, domestic cow milk is good for the health of natives. But economics works against this nature. In these days everything works on good economics.

There are talks of foreign breed cow milk being arsenic, which are probably discoveries of social media players. But imported cows fed with natural native food may not produce arsenic milk, though the animal may be immune to many illness and early mortality. That is another case; leave it aside.

If the process of insemination is wrong the animals may not sustain the gestation period and the progeny may not survive in healthy order. That is the rule of nature. But we see the cows are always healthy and their progeny too. The food that the cows are fed may make them easily vulnerable to many diseases, keep this also aside.  Milk largely carries the quality of food that the cow is fed. Yes, genetic influence also may be there to some extent.

Nevertheless, now we have large chunk of imported breeds producing milk that comes to our homes. Domestic cows are seen only in select farms, which are run by some trusts of well-off companies and super rich men mostly in west and north India. They have dedicated bulls in their farms. They get pure milk, as a reward to their deeds.

Most dairy farms are too small, as self employment ventures for meeting both ends. They can depend only on local government run breeding outlets, which come to them almost free of cost.

Since this animal segment has huge gap of gender imbalance and bulls are not so easily affordable tiny dairy producers will continue to depend on artificial insemination. Yet, that doesn't replace the role of healthy bulls. Let the Jellikett be banned or allowed, the role of bulls will stay as the order of nature.

Mysteriously tested and imported drug molecules may have better replacements, but healthy domestic bulls haven't. People of this country also have higher sugar tolerance level than the prescribed ceiling, that was motivated by drug makers to sell their products.