Before opposing jallikattu, Why you should know about the Vechur and Khariar species…


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
-George Santyana

The near extinction of Vechur species of cattle in Kerala, Khariar species in Orissa and why we should never repeat the mistakes of our brothers.

Vechur- the smallest breed of cows , once given as a dowry/gift to the newly weds in Kerala, helped manage a single family’s daily dairy needs.
The livestock improvisation act, 1961, aimed at increasing the milk production and curbing the rearing of cows and Bulls by individuals, put forth a preposterous law stating a licence was needed to raise a native bull in Kerala and that too should be castrated ( to discourage and totally prevent individual dairy backyard farming), and at the same time promoting breeds like Holstein , jersey, etc as they produced more milk.

The reason- they considered the exotic breeds superior to the native ones.
But in fact, the milk of Vechur cows were of higher quality and had easily digestible fat globules owing to the molecular size. Also the Vechur cows required lesser cost of maintenance and were more resistant to diseases.

This led to a near-extinction of the Vechur species but for the efforts of few. This also adversely affected the once self-sufficient population of Kerala with regards to milk to depend on packaged milk and the exotic breeds. Farmers and individuals could not rear the exotic breeds due to high cost of maintenance. Thus making it a corporate dominated industry.
In 1988, one Mrs.Sosamma and others did an extensive search for few remaining survivors and found all but 8 of the species. Now they have managed to bring it to a total of 100 plus.

Khariar species – a native variety of Orissa which made the whole state surplus in milk, was pushed to extinction in a totally different way. The government, Banks and corporates offered a cow, some land and salary to do small time farming.

But as with all planned corporate invasion, the people of Orissa failed to read the small print that came with the *. It was that, the cows should be inseminated only with the genes of exotic breeds alone and the lands will be re-acquired after a stipulated time. At the same time the native Bulls were meticulously castrated to prevent breeding. Initially everyone was happy as they had everything given for free including the feed for the cows.
But what they did not expect was the offsprings which resulted from the insemination were disease-prone, weak and perished soon. The offsprings which yielded three to four times more milk than the native breeds soon started to perish and at that time, as planned before, the lands , salary and feed were withdrawn, leaving the whole lot of people clueless, and also to depend upon packaged milk and corporates who had sources and money to maintain these exotic breeds. Thus the once milk surplus Orissa became milk deficit Just with the extinction of one species by 1980’s.

History is almost repeating itself now here in Tamilnadu as the corporates are incorporating a different method to cull the native breeds of Tamilnadu. Ban of jallikattu and Rekhla is just the beginning of a planned assault on native breeds and small time farming , aimed at making us slaves and dependant on the corporate milk industry. With the ban of these events, we narrow down an already narrow path to selecting the strongest of the native species , which can live long, be resistant to diseases and most important of all, low cost of maintenance.

Imagine how we have slowly changed from buying milk from the local milk-man to packaged milk for our convenience without even realising it.
It may not make a difference to us, but it will affect the small time farmers by wiping out our native breeds and also like Kerala and Orissa, we have to start begging for milk too, along with a lot of other things.

So before you oppose jallikattu, think from a different perspective. For reference click here..
Also search Internet for other detailed articles.

Save native breed. Support jallikattu.

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