India has a rich biodiversity, which also includes the cattle population. Owing to the “White Revolution” and extensive crossbreeding programmes in India, the native cattle breed
population has decreased and some breeds are facing extinction. At the same time, the values,
knowledge, ethnoveterinary practices, healers and the local biodiversity associated with these
breeds are not being given proper attention. The culture of dairying has become the dairy
Most farmers in the dairy business do not find it an economically viable proposition.
The external dependency for food, concentrate, fodder and health protection is increasing.
Farmers are in search of alternatives. Hence, Krishi Prayoga Pariwara (KPP) started
looking at the importance of Indian cattle breeds and their relevance today.
KPP carried out a literature survey, visited villages, talked to experienced farmers,
social workers and veterinarians. On the basis of this, KPP brought out a small publication
on Indian cattle breeds, which inspired a number of farmers to start conserving and
developing native cattle breeds. A mega project named “Kamadugha” has been initiated by
Sri Sri Raghaveshwara Swamiji of Sri Ramachandrapura Mutt at Hosanagara of Shimoga
district to conserve and develop Indian breeds.
This paper briefly introduces Indian cattle breeds, and discusses their importance, the
cultural values associated with them, the Ayurvedic properties of various cow products and the
importance of cow products in agriculture and for human health.
India is blessed with a rich biodiversity. There is also a diverse livestock population.
There are 30 indigenous cattle breeds, 12 buffalo breeds, 20 breeds of goat, 40 breeds
of sheep, 6 breeds of horse, 8 breeds of camel, 3 breeds of pig and 18 breeds of
poultry. Quite a large number of farming families including marginal and small
farmers and, landless labourers use livestock for varied purposes to sustain their
Indian farmers keep cattle and other animals as a source of milk, manure and
fuel and also for ploughing and carting. Apart from this, farmers respect the cow as
Gomatha, and it has a rich cultural significance for them. Livestock has contributed
significantly to the development of agriculture in India and is still contributing much
to agriculture. However, because of the “Green Revolution” and “White Revolution”
in India, the situation is changing significantly. Over the years, the population of
indigenous cattle has declined (Table 1).
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Table 1. Trends in cattle population in India
Cattle population [millions]
Annual growth rate [%]
188.28 189.37 178.78 156.87
199.69 204.58 198.88 178.94
* Provisional data
The overall annual growth rate in the cattle population from 1992–2003 was –1.14%.
The annual growth rates for indigenous and crossbred cattle were –1.56 and +5.65,
respectively. As per the provisional 17
Indian livestock census 2003, in 2003 there
were only 156.85 million indigenous cattle as compared with 178.78 million and
189.37 million in 1997 and 1992, respectively. Conversely, the population of crossbred
cattle has increased from 15.21 million in 1992 to 22.07 million in 2003 (Gandhi and
The situation in different states is similar to the overall status in the country. In
Karnataka, there has been a marked reduction in the number of indigenous breeds.
Some of the known Indian breeds are on the verge of extinction. The number of
Krishna valley breed cattle has come down by 97.96% and that of the Deoni breed
has come down by 72.22%. The number of Hallikar breed has come down by 39.97%,
Kilari breed by 30.89% and Malenadu gidda breed by 24.96% (The Hindu, April 16,
2005). At the same time, the population of crossbreeds has increased by 41%. In the
Shimoga district, in 2003, the population of indigenous cattle was 48,718 and that of
crossbreeds was 56,588. In short, indigenous breeds comprise only 46.26% of the
total cattle population. This situation is alarming. The diverse genetic base is becoming
narrow, which is a threat to sustainable agriculture. If the population becomes
uniform, its vulnerability to pests and disease will increase.
The village scenario
Krishi Prayoga Pariwara (KPP) is working in villages of the Shimoga, Chickmagalur
and Uttara Kannada districts of Karnataka, especially in the Western Ghats. The
example of the situation in Hulegaru village of Shimoga district is considered. Here, in
April 2005, the population of crossbreeds was 46 and that of indigenous cattle was
100. The farmers feel that keeping crossbreeds is not a good proposition since there
are many difficulties associated with them. The difficulties as expressed by farmers are
1. Crossbred animals are often prone to disease and pests. Hence, veterinary care
becomes a priority and the cost associated with veterinary care for crossbreeds is
relatively high compared with that for native breeds.
2. Crossbred animals require a higher quantity and quality of concentrate and fodder.
Farmers have to grow fodder crops on their limited agricultural land, which
involves no small investment in terms of fodder seeds, manure, labour etc. The
Traditional Knowledge Systems of India and Sri Lanka
requirement of a higher quantity of concentrates also demands explicit
expenditures. Thus, crossbreed animal rearing is capital intensive.
3. The risk of mortality is higher in crossbreeds compared with indigenous breeds.
Hence, if a crossbred animal dies, farmers will incur a loss of around Rs.5000–
1000, depending on the milk yield of the animal, which is very high compared
with the risk involved in rearing indigenous breeds.
4. The average milk yield of crossbreeds is only around 5–6 l/day, which is an
economically unviable quantity. At the same time, proven milch breeds of India
also produce similar quantities of milk. Selected local animals of Malenadu gidda
have a milk yield close to this figure.
Considering the above difficulties, the option of rearing crossbred animals is not an
economically viable proposition.
Apart from the above disadvantages of crossbreeds, the introduction of these
breeds has also brought about some changes in villages. The crossbreeding
programme called for mass castration of native non-descriptive inefficient bulls. At
the same time, farmers were also attracted by the insemination programme readily
available on their doorstep. This has resulted in the loss of bulls of native breeds since
rearing a bull is very costly. The changed pattern in the tenancy system and the
cropping system has also resulted in farmers giving less importance to the rearing of
bulls of native breeds. At present, the loss of selected bulls has meant that there is no
option other than to go in for crossbreeding. Local cattle are more resistant to local
pests, diseases and are adjusted to the local environment. Whenever these cattle are
affected by disease or pests, local ethnoveterinary practitioners can manage them using
the herbs that are grown locally in farms or are available in forests. Introduction of
crossbreeds has lessened the importance of local healers. The knowledge of these
healers is vanishing along with them. The knowledge of using locally available
bioresources and its importance is also eroding significantly.
R. S. Gandhi and S. Singh (2006) noted in their article that crossbreeding in
India has led to
1. A departure from the accepted breeding policy framework for indigenous breeds,
resulting in the erosion of indigenous genetic resources as animals of native
defined milch breeds were not used for crossbreeding.
2. Ingression of many infectious diseases like infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR)
and Bluetongue from temperate regions, which were not prevalent in tropical
3. Cattle with a higher susceptibility to diseases prevalent in tropical environments
like foot and mouth disease, mastitis and tick-borne diseases.
4. Higher incidence of reproductive disorders like anoestrous and repeat breeding in
5. Higher cost of maintenance and sustenance vis a vis feeding and veterinary
Thus, even though the introduction of the crossbreeding programme in India has
resulted in increased milk production over the years, from 20 million tons in 1970 to
91.5 million tons in 2004, it has led to a number of drawbacks. The villagers are
looking for better alternatives.
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Hence, KPP started to look at the problem in detail. It carried out a detailed
literature survey looking into the strengths and weaknesses of indigenous cattle breeds
and crossbreeds, breeding policies over the years, the cultural significance of cattle to
rural families and the use of animal products in agriculture and for maintaining human
health. KPP had a series of interactions with farmers in its project area and with local
successful dairy farmers, local veterinary healers, veterinary doctors, veterinary
scientists, academicians, policy makers etc. The findings were presented in a small
booklet called “Namma Kamadhenu”, which was distributed to various stakeholders.
Indian cattle breeds
There are around 30 descriptive or recognized cattle breeds in India according to the
latest calendar of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) on “Cattle
Breeds of India”, published by the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources
(NBAGR). They are Amritmahal, Hallikar, Deoni, Khilari, Krishna valley, Ongole, Punganur,
Vechur, Baragur, Kangayam, Bachaur, Dangi, Kenkatha, Kherigar, Malvi, Nagori, Nimari,
Ponwar, Siri, Gir, Red Sindhi, Sahiwal, Gaolao, Hariana, Kankrej, Mewati, Rath, Tharparkar
etc. Out of these, Vechur, Punganur, Bachaur, Krishna valley etc. are on the verge of
extinction. These breeds were developed over millennia for varied purposes like
milking and agricultural purposes, under varied agroclimatic conditions. These breeds
are well adapted to local conditions, have good pest and disease resistance and are
adjusted to local feed and fodder. Most of these breeds have also played a very
important role in major battles during the struggle for independence.
Indian breeds are Bos indicus cattle and are characterized by a large hump over
the top of the shoulder and neck. Spinal processes below the hump are extended, and
there is considerable muscular tissue covering the processes. The other characteristics
of these cattle are their horns, which usually curve upward and are sometimes tilted to
the rear; their ears, which are generally large and pendulous and the throatlatch and
dewlap, which have a large amount of excess skin. They also have more highly
developed sweat glands than European cattle (Bos taurus) and so can perspire more
freely. Indian cattle produce an oily secretion from their sebaceous glands, which has a
distinctive odour and is reported to assist in repelling insects. The hair, coat,
pigmentation, ability to sweat, loose skin and internal body heat are some of the
unique characteristics of Indian cattle that help them to survive adverse climatic
Apart from the descriptive breeds, there are a number of non-descriptive breeds
in India. It should be noted here that continuous efforts have been made over the
years to develop these descriptive breeds. As an example, the Amritmahal breed of
Karnataka is considered.
Amruthmahal is a special breed of Karnataka and has a history of over 500 years. The
credit for developing this breed goes to the Ambassador of Vijayanagara Kingdom in
Srirangapatna near Mysore in the 16
century. After him, Mysore Odeyar (King of
Mysore) further developed this breed for milk and for the security of the state. His
Excellency Chikdevaraj Odeyar developed special pasture lands for grazing the breed.
It was then known as “Bennechavadi”. It was further developed during the Hyder Ali
Traditional Knowledge Systems of India and Sri Lanka
and Tippu Sultan period. Tippu renamed the breed “Amruthmahal”. After that, it came
under British rule. Mummadi Krishnaraja Odeyar developed this breed once again in
1866. At present, the Karnataka Government has an Amruthmahal Conservation
Centre at Ajjampura in Chickmagalur district.
The bullocks of this breed are very active with sharp eyes. The bullocks can pull
carts continuously for 14 hours. Records say a bullock pair can pull a one-ton load
continuously for 8 to 10 hours. The bullocks were involved in various armies of
Hyder Ali, Tippu Sultan and Mysore Odeyar. These bullocks played a major role in
the victories of these Kings. A number of British reports also highlight the importance
of these bullocks in those days.
Now the population of this breed is very small. The Government has around
2000 animals of this breed and there are a few with farmers. Selected milk breeds of
Amruthmahal yield 4–6 litres of milk per day. So, concentrated efforts should be made
to conserve and develop this breed once again.
Vechur is a native breed of Kerala. It originated in a village called Vechur in the Vaikom
taluk of the Kottayam district of South Kerala. The heavy rainfall and the hot humid
climate of the area led to the natural selection of a small animal. Vechur bulls with their
small size and light weight but with their strong stature are suitable for ploughing
marshy paddy fields. The popularity of the Vechur cows lay in the fact that their milk
production was relatively high compared with that of other local cows. The
Travancore State Manual of 1940 by T.K.Velu Pillai made a special mention of Vechur
cows. The extremely small size of the cows, their low feed requirement, their good
adaptability and high disease resistance are traits very much favoured by farmers. The
milk of Vechur cows was considered as having a high medicinal value and was
extensively used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
Massive crossbreeding programmes taken up by the Kerala government since
the 1950s have transformed the local animals in the State to crossbreeds. Local bulls
were not permitted to be retained as per the Kerala Livestock Act, 1961. The Act
stated that “No person should keep a bull for breeding if it attains a particular age
except with license and other terms and conditions unless certified to be castrated”.
The Act covers the entire male cattle population that has reached breeding age,
whether they are retained for breeding purposes or not. But bulls dedicated to the
temples were exempt from the provisions of the Act. Thus, the Siva Temple of
Vaikom has played a role in averting the extinction of the breed.
The World Watch List of Domestic Animal Diversity, published by the FAO,
has listed Vechur cattle under the category of Critical Breeds, meaning nearly extinct.
The credit for bringing Vechur cattle from the brink of extinction goes to a
conservation programme undertaken by the Kerala Agriculture University (KAU).
Subsequent to studies conducted by the KAU, Vechur cattle are now recognized as the
smallest cattle in the world. Before the Vechur caught the attention of the scientific
community, a Mexican cow measuring 1 m in height was considered to be the
smallest. The maximum height of a Vechur cow is 91 cm. This diminutive cow,
weighing on an average 107 kg, can give an average yield of 3 litres of milk per day,
which is the yield of the Mexican cow too. Thus, considering its body weight, the
Vechur cow has the maximum milk yield in the world.
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Detailed characterization studies of Vechur cattle have been taken up by the
KAU. The acrocentric nature of the Y-chromosome establishes that Vechur cattle
belong to the Zebu species of cattle (Bos indicus), which is different from European
cattle (Bos taurus) as they have a metacentric Y-chromosome. Calf mortality has been
found to be almost nil in Vechur cattle under farm conditions. It has also been
observed by the scientists of the KAU that these dwarf animals are quite resistant to
foot and mouth disease and mastitis, two diseases that play havoc with hybrid cows in
Kerala. Compared with crossbred cows, significantly lower incidences of respiratory
infections have been reported in Vechur cattle. The gene(s) responsible for these
qualities is India’s insurance for the future. The animal breeders of tomorrow may
require this gene to save Indian cattle wealth from total liquidation by pests and
Milk analyses carried out in the KAU now support the empirical findings of
unknown Ayurvedic physicians. The percentage of fat and total solids in the milk of
Vechur cows is high compared with that in the milk of crossbred cows. But a more
significant aspect is the size of the fat globules. The mean size of a fat globule in the
milk of the Vechur cow (3.21 microns) is higher than that of the goat (2.60 microns),
but considerably smaller than that of crossbred cows (4.87 microns) and of Murrah
buffalos (5.85 microns). The small size of the fat globules means that there is a high
phospholipid content because of the greater surface area. Phospholipids are important
in the development of brain and nerve tissues, and they also play a vital role in the
absorption and digestion of fat.
Since the milk of the Vechur cow has got a higher proportion of small fat
globules and saturated fatty acids, it can be therapeutically useful in cases of
malabsorption syndrome. Thus, the milk of the Vechur cow and the products made
from that milk are suitable for infants and the sick. In general, Vechur cattle are an
ideal choice for farmers who cannot afford sophisticated dairy management practices
but want just enough milk for home consumption. (Courtesy: Vechur Conservation
Trust website and a feature by Sri Uthaman published in
Other Indian breeds have been developed in different parts of India and are
used for either milk or draught purposes or sometimes for both. India had good milch
breeds like the Gir, Red Sindhi, Hariyana, and Sahiwal. The Gir used to give 1600 kg
milk per 300-day lactation period, whereas the Sahiwal used to give 2700 to 3200 kg
milk per lactation period. The best yield on record for the Red Sindhi is 5400 kg and
that for the Sahiwal is around 4500 kg. India had good draught animals like the
Hallikar, Krishna valley, Dangi, Malwi etc. Tharparkar is a special breed of cattle that can
cross the Thar dessert by walking continuously for more than 24 hrs. Nagori is also
another breed that is well suited to desert areas. Unfortunately, the policy makers did
not recognize these qualities during the crossbreeding programme. The ultimate aim
of the programme was only to improve milk production. Other traits like adaptability
to local feed and fodder, total fat and SNF content of the milk, resistance to disease
and pests, other special qualities etc. should also have been considered in
crossbreeding. It is also noteworthy that the chemical composition of the milk of
indigenous breeds significantly differs from that of Holstein Friesian (HF) or Jersey
Traditional Knowledge Systems of India and Sri Lanka
Table 2. Chemical composition of milk
The above table shows that the milk of indigenous breeds has a better or
comparable fat, protein and total solids content and caesin, lactose and ash
percentage. The beta lactoglobulin, which improves resistance in humans, percentage
is better and the sterol (cholesterol lanosterols) content is less. Thus, quality-wise,
indigenous breeds have an edge over crossbreeds.
Malenadu gidda is a non-descriptive breed in a KPP area in the Western Ghats of
Karnataka. Farmers remember that selective cows of this breed used to give 3 litres of
milk per day. The breed is very well suited to this hilly tract and high rainfall area. It is
also a small sized animal. The animal is resistant to foot and mouth disease and
mastitis. Efforts have to be made to characterize this breed and also to selectively
The cow is considered as Gomatha and is worshipped every day. Hindu farmers
will not allow the animal to be slaughtered and will not eat beef. Farmers
consider cattle sacred and have an emotional attachment to them. The cattle
population is the wealth of the family. The higher the population of cattle, the
wealthier the farm family.
Cow products like cow urine, cow dung, milk, ghee and curd are used in most
rituals including birth and death ceremonies performed by these Hindu families.
Farmers use Dharoshna, or unpasteurized, milk during the daily worship of family
deities and used to consume it because they considered it sacred. This custom is
slowly disappearing since it is dangerous to consume the unpasteurized milk of
crossbreeds because it could carry infectious microbes like that of tuberculosis.
During Gruhapravesham, a lactating cow along with its calf is the first to be taken into
the house. Godana (gifting a cow) is one of the most sacred activities of a family.
Godana is also associated with a number of Hindu rituals. People still mostly use the
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native breeds for all rituals and are more emotionally attached to these rather than to
Cow products are also used for local health practices. There is a local practice of
giving cow urine on Thursdays and Sundays to small children who have the habit of
regular excess saliva secretion. Traditionally, small children are bathed with buffalo
dung. People with lice in their hair used to bathe in cow urine.
However, the emotional attachment to the cow has altered slightly after the
introduction of crossbreeds. Farmers and others have started to look at cattle solely in
terms of the monetary aspects of milk production. Associating with the animals as a
part of their life has slowly turned into a way of earning income by selling milk. Cost
and profit calculations with respect to only milk production in cattle rearing have
resulted in a higher acceptance of crossbreeds than the native breeds. Because of this
loss of emotional attachment, sacred feelings are slowly disappearing and this also has
influenced the rural lifestyle. Hence, there is a need to educate farmers and raise
awareness among them on all aspects of indigenous breeds and their importance for
their own sustenance and for the nation.
Properties of animal products as seen in Ayurvedic
There are a number of Ayurvedic texts that refer to the qualities and use of
animal products. Charaka samhita, Sushruta samhita, Astanga sangraha, Astanga
hridaya, Dhanvanthari nighantu, Bhavaprakasha etc. have a number of references to
these products. For example, they have references to
Madhura, vata – pitta nashaka, guru, raktha vikara nashaka.
The milk of black and red cows is vatha shamaka, yellow pittashamaka. And that
of white cows is kaphakaraka and is guru (heavy to digest).
The milk of a cow with a very young calf or of a cow with no calf is tridoshakaraka.
The milk of a cow that eats less feed and fodder is guru. It improves strength and
Milk should not be eaten along with fish, meat and radish.
Buffalo milk is sweeter than cow’s milk: Shukrala, nidradayaka, kapha vardhaka and
Curd from cow’s milk
Curd made from cow’s milk is madhura and sour in taste: snigda, agnideepaka, hrudya,
vatanashaka, malarodhaka etc.
Curd from buffalo milk
Curd made from buffalo milk is madhura in taste: kaphakaraka, vata – pittanashaka,
Traditional Knowledge Systems of India and Sri Lanka
Buttermilk made from cow’s milk
Tridosha nivaraka, agnideepaka, ruchikaraka, buddivardhaka, udararoga nashaka.
Kaphakaraka, pleeha roganashaka, athisarahara.
Cow dung is rakshoghna, bitter and ogaru in taste and is used especially to treat kapha
diseases and is also useful in controlling skin diseases.
Katu, pitta rasayuktha, laghu, Aanideepaka, pittakaraka, kapha-vatanashaka. Cow urine is
used to treat diseases of the stomach.
The series of references on various animal products and by-products shows that
Ayurvedic scholars found these products useful in the treatment of many human
diseases and disorders. This was a useful low-cost local resource that helped the local
community maintain their health using indigenous knowledge. Pundit Sri Revashankar
Sharma of Rajasthan prepares a number of medicines using cow products. To name a
few, Gomuthrasava for leucoderma, Gomuthra arka for decreasing blood cholesterol,
Gomuthra ghanavati for blood pressure, stomach disorders etc. Farmers used to prepare
tooth powder from cow dung flakes. Recently, there are many articles on the use of
cow urine to treat cancer. “Ahimsak Kheti”, a Hindi monthly on organic agriculture,
has reported a case, giving all clinical details, of cancer being cured with gomuthra
Animal products are widely used in agriculture for varied reasons. One of the
major uses of animal products, which helps in the maintenance of soil fertility, is as
farmyard manure or as compost. This is a major component of organic farming.
There are number local techniques for spraying cow urine to improve crop growth
and yield. But till date, very few systematic efforts have been made to validate these
techniques. Now, we have a short term project under the Compas programme for this
purpose. There will be a few results at the end of this year, 2006. A study conducted
recently by the students of a college in Shimoga showed the antimicrobial properties
of cow urine.
So, indigenous breeds are important owing to their contribution to various
aspects of rural life. An effort to convey this message to Indian farmers was made
through the publication of a booklet titled “Namma Kamadhenu”. This has kindled the
spirit of many farmers to take a fresh look at Indian indigenous breeds. A mega
project called “Kamadugha” has been undertaken by Sri Sri Raghaveshwara Bharathi
Swamiji of Ramachandrapura Mutt at Hosanagara, Shimoga district. The main aim of
the project is to conserve and develop Indian cattle breeds. They have undertaken a
mass campaign programme in the state and have conducted a 64-day Goyathra –
spreading the message of the importance of the cow and indigenous breeds to life in
India. The Mutt has a conservation centre where 23 Indian breeds are reared. There is
a Gavya Chikitsalaya where patients are treated with cow products, and records are
regularly maintained. There is also a unit producing cow-based products used specially
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for maintaining health. The project educates people on the current scenario, the
Indian way of looking at cows, the differences between indigenous cattle and
crossbreeds and, the need of the day, the conservation and development of these
breeds suitably in their own areas.
Apart from this, there are a number of efforts in various parts of the country to
conserve and improve local indigenous breeds. Even the 10
Five Year Plan of the
country (2002–07) stresses on the need for conservation of local breeds. The
NBAGR, Karnal is working on the conservation and development of indigenous
Looking at the drawbacks of the present crossbreeding programme and the
importance of indigenous breeds to all aspects of the life of rural people, a proper
breeding policy should be evolved. The policy should aim to
1. Increase milk production but with broad a genetic base that takes into
consideration traits like adaptability of breed to local conditions, resistance to
pests and diseases, capacity to convert available feed and fodder, any other special
2. Identify, select and produce bulls of indigenous breeds, taking into consideration
all the traits listed above.
3. Characterize and evaluate some of the non-descriptive breeds of the country that
are efficient in milk production and have all the other associated positive
4. Make available at all artificial insemination centres the semen of proven
5. Carry out research work on the use of animal products in agriculture and in
- Higher initial costs
- Prone to disease & pests. Cost associated is high. For Indian breed local veterinary person can also treat.
- Higher quantity & quality concentrate & fodder is required. Low land holding farmer cannot afford these cows as they don’t have enough cattle feed.
- Risk of Mortality is very high as compared to Desi cows so cost is very high
- Inefficient bulls
- Cows are Not suitable to local environment
- Poor quality of milk
- In our country with small holdings and small scale farming, there is no better alternative to employing cattle in farming.
- While ploughing, the oxen stride with gentle gait, not harming the surface of the earth, unlike tractors.
- Even as they plough the land, the oxen defecate and urinate, fertilising the land.
- Cattle Manure : organic manure, green leaf manure, earth-worms, and slurry manure with cattle manure bond with the nature and make the land fertile. They do not create the challenge of chemical waste.
- 99% of the insects in nature are beneficial to the system. Insecticides prepared from cow urine or well fermented butter milk do not affect these helpful insects.
- Dung from one cow is adequate to fertilise 5 acres of land and its urine is can protect 10 acres of crop from insects.
- As per the Supreme Court, cow dung produced by one oxen can support a family for 4 years.
- Oxen do not pollute the atmosphere.
Cow’s Role in Economy
- 70% of our people depend on agriculture. 98% of them depend on cattle based agriculture.
- India produces more milk than all other countries.
- Goods carried by ox carts is 4 to 5 times as much as by trains. This saves considerable foreign exchange. E.g., Transportation worth Rs. 50,000 crore was done by ox carts in 2005.
- By expanding cow based industry, cow would have a defining stature in our economy. Sadly its already important position is not accepted by our people.
Environment and Cow
- Ancient scripture state that “Suryaketu” nerve on cow’s back absorbs harmful radiations and cleanses atmosphere. Mere presence of cows is a great contribution to environment.
- India has approximately 30 crore cattle. Using their dung to produce bio gas, we can save 6.0 crore ton of firewood every year. This would arrest deforestation to that extent.
- Cow dung has important role in preserving environment.
- When we burn cow dung, it balances atmospheric temperature and kills germs in the air.
- Cow dung has antiseptic, anti radioactive and anti thermal properties. When we coat the walls and clean the floors of house with cow dung, it protects the dwellers. In 1984, gas leak in Bhopal killed more than 20,000 people. Those living in houses with cow dung coated walls were not affected. Atomic power centres in India and Russia even today use cow dung to shield radiation.
- African deserts were made fertile using cow dung.
- We can reduce acid content in water by treating it with cow dung.
- When we offer ghee in fire as part of ritualistic sacrifices, it strengthens the ozone layer and shields the earth from harmful radiations from Sun.
- A relationship between increasing number of butcher houses and earth quakes is being proven
Cattle in Transportation
- Boasting of the largest rail road network of the world, Indian Railways transported 55.7 crore tons of goods in 2004-05. In the same year, the humble ox carts transported 278.5 crore tons!
- In that year, trains moved 511.2 crore passengers while ox carts had 2044.8 crore customers!
- Oxen have carried up to 14 ton goods non-stop 24 hours, without water and food.
- Most importantly, the carts do not produce air or sound pollution.
Uses of cow products :
- Different popular beverages like coffee, tea, etc. require milk as an important ingredient.
- Scores of sweet dishes are milk based.
- Curd, butter, and ghee are essential part of Indian meal. Taste of items deep fried in ghee is unmatched.
- Butter milk quenches thirst in addition to being a base for many popular dishes in our cooking.
Cow Products as Medicine
- Milk : Charaka Samhita states, “Milk is the best life strengthener.” While Casin protein in milk helps growth of infants, calcium and sulphur strengthen our bones. Milk is also rich in vitamins D and B-complex.
- Curd arrests diarrhoea, controls fat, and resists cancer.
- Ghee improves intelligence and beauty. It is used to treat eye diseases.
- Distilled cow urine is effective in treatment of flu, arthritis, bacterial diseases, food poisoning, indigestion, oedema, and leprosy.
- Panchagavya Mix : Various medical formulations like Panchagavya Ghrita, Amritasara, Ghanavati, Ksharavati, Netrasara etc. are invaluable medicines in Ayurvedic system.
Cow Industry is Practical :
- India leads the world in milk production. In 1998 – 99, India produced 7.5 crore ton milk. 70% of this produce is from small farmers.
- South India has more than 75,000 gobar gas installations, achieved by the S.K.G. Society of Kolar.
- A scientist named Bug Jones established Inland Energy Corporation in California. They collect 1500 ton cow dung a day from the neighbourhood and produce 50 MW of electricity.
- Gurjarat State Government purchases cow urine at Rs. 3 per kg and cow dung at Rs. 2 per kg.
Cow in Religious Rituals
- Cow is accepted as divine.
- Day dawns with worship of cow.
- Worship and feeding of cow is part of daily rituals.
- Cow has precedence in festivals at home.
- There are several festivals where cow is prominent.
- Many temples have cow sheds at the entrance, enhancing the divine feelings.
- Traditionally we have used Panchagavya to cleanse and purify.
- God’s idols are washed with milk, curd and ghee.
- For lighting holy lamp we use ghee. We also give offering of ghee to deities.
- Preparation of various offerings to the God use ghee and milk.
- Butter is used in decorating deities.
Cow related Researches
1. Cows Urine as an Antimicrobial Agent :
– Gram Negative, Gram Positive bacteria, Fungi were significantly inhibited by concentrated cows urine.
Some of the constituents of urine which is related for microbicidal properties
Halogenated Phenol – Antifungal.
2 Phenyl Phenol – Antimicrobial, Antiviral
Carbolic acid, Manganese – Antibacterial, Pesticidal
Aurum Oxide – Antimicrobial, Antitoxic.
2. Antigenotoxic| Ameliorative effect of Ark in human polymorphonuclear leukocytes :
The Ark and Redistilled ark is found to possess total antioxidant status of around 2.6mmol contributed mainly by volatile fatty acids (1500mg|litre). These fatty acids and other antioxidants might be responsible for the observed ameliorative effect. The chromosomal aberration caused by chemicals could be ameliorated by redistilled Ark (1,50,100ul) Antioxidant status in distillates-0.8mmol.Redistillate-2.6mmol.(ammonicalnitrogen- 15mg|litre).
3. Effect of Cow Urine on Wounds :
Cow Urine is having antiseptic properties. The urine implicated Wounds were found less infected and healing time is also less when compared to antiseptic cream. Administration of fresh urine orally has added effect on wound healing due to immunological properties.
4. Effect of cows urine on health :
5. Effect of Malanad Gidda Cows Urine :
Malanad Gidda cows urine is having antifungal activity. The metabolites of fungus during this process, is antimicrobial also. That is to say urine exerts direct action on fungus and indirectly on bacteria’s also.
6. Effect of Arka in various diseases :
Physical and Chemical composition of Urine and Arka and its effects on human beings is detailed.
7. Prevention of Pathogenic Free Radicals through Cow Urine :
Free radicals are molecules, which have lost electron. These free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule and steal the electron. This is a chain reaction of destruction. They can attack enzymes, fat, proteins, etc and causes DNA to mutate.
The Oxygen Free radicals (Reactive oxygen species) are produced due to – Phagocytes, Mitochondria function, Inflammation, Heavy Exercise,Cigarettes,Smoking,Pollution, adiation, Chemicals, Drugs, Altered Ozone level, Moulds, Burned Meat.
They cause mutation of cells. This in turn may predispose for – Parkinson’s Disease, Alzhimor’s Disease, Cancer, Sclerosis, Stroke, Stress, Fibrosis, Cataract, Macular Degeneration, Aging
Cows’ urine prevents the free radicals formation.
8. Study of skin of Indigenous cows , Cross Bred cows and Exotic cows :
The Sebaceous glands of Desi cows are bigger in size, shape and are in larger number. So that they produce more sebum.
9. Effect of Arka on chromosomal aberration :
The Arka could protect mitomyncin C induced chromosomal aberration . The Arka has Volatile acids about 39mg/ltrs. These Volatile Acids are Antioxidants, which show the ameliorating effect on DNA and protect DNA damage.
10. Stage IV Oropharyngeal Carcinoma undergoes complete Regression due to cow urine theropy
11. Anti Cancer properties of cow Urine :
The cow Urine Therapy is suggested to poses potent Anti Cancer abilities. The following properties are in listed as responsible for Anti Cancer Results.
DNA repairing potential :
Cow urine efficiently repairs the damaged DNA. Damage of DNA by chemicals is the major cause for Cancer. This property reduces the spread of malignant cancers and helps fighting tumor.
Apoptosis inhibition :
Lymphocytes under go suicidal tendency due to chemicals. Lymphocytes are major cells, which fights against cancer cells. Cow urine reduces an apoptosis of Lymphocytes.
Antioxidant Property :
The volatile fatty acids show antioxidant properties which controls damage in DNA.
Antimicrobial Activity :
Many viruses are causing cancer. These microbes are killed by cow urine.
Bioenhancing Property :
Bioenhancing are substances which promote and augment the bioactivity or bioavailabilty or uptake of drugs. This will reduce the dosage & duration of antibiotic therepy and anticancer drugs like Taxol.Taxol is used in MCF-7 (breast cancer cells).
Anti free radicals :
The free radicals cause cell damage thereby inducing tumour cell growth or causes aging. Cows’ urine prevents free radicals.
Immounomodulating activity :
Cow Urine has vital potential to enhance the activity of macrophages. Lymphocytes (both T & B cells) humoral cellular immunity, cytokines (Interlukine 1 & 2).
12. Increase of Immunity through Cows Urine (various Parameters) :
- B cell blastogenesis – 59.50%
- T cell blastogenesis – 64.00%
- Serum IgG level – 19.80%
- Serum IgM level – 19.00%
- Serum IgA level – 0.53%
- Macrophage function – 104.00%
- DTH reaction – 126.00%
- Interlukin 1 level – 30.90%
- Interlukin 2 level – 11.00%
On the basis of chemical fingerprinting of Urine of different animals like Indigenous, cross bred, exotic, buffaloe, it is shown that Indigenous cow’s urine is highly effective whereas it is almost nil in cross bred, exotic cows and buffaloes. The special constituent in Desicow’s urine is ‘Rasayan tatwa’ which is responsible for immune system and bioenhancer property.
13. Method of distinguishing Human & Bovine Milk samples based on soluble Phosphate content :
Sahiwal cows milk is closer to human mother’s milk because of its significantly lower soluble phosphate level when compared to H.F or Buffaloe.
14. Evaluation of Sedative and anticonvulsant activity of Unmadanashak Ghrita :
Unmadanashak Ghrita is a Ayurvedic formulation containing Ferula Narthex, Gardenia Gummifera, Ellataria cardamom, Bacopa monneri, Cowsghee(76%) Unmadanashak Ghrita has CNS depressant and anticonvulsant activity.
15. Effect of cow urine fertilizer on quality of Pasture :
The application of Urine resulted in a marked increase of grass growth and this did not effect soil quality.
16. The Urine of Sacred cows :
I recall doing research about 25years ago. When I came across a recipe for a potion that had reportedly been used in India many years before for the treatment of Laryngitis. Among other ingredients it contained the urine of sacred cows. This seems to be quite potent ingredient that, to this day, is used for medicinal purposes in the treatment of anything from stomach ailment to cancer. It can be mixed with herbs or taken straight. And I also learned that it is imported from India for use as a biopesticide. A good friend of mine said, ” Everything old is new again”.
17. Bioactivities of Cow Urine and Arka in agriculture :
18. Development of Cow Urine based disinfectant – 13.11.2005 :
Herbal disinfectant :
Cow urine – 25ml
Neem extract – 37.5ml
Tulsi extract – 37.5ml
Ritha extract – 20ml
Pine oil – 10ml
This product is added to 1 liter of water. This can be used on any surface like walls, floors, tiles, bathrooms, and toilets. The cow urine has natural disinfectant and antiseptic qualities. The main constituent of cow urine that shows disinfectant activity is carbolic acid, which is a mixture of Phenol and Cresol.
19. Cow Urine has Anti Leishmania effect :
Leishmaniasis (Kala azar) is a highly endemic disease in Indian Sub continent. The cow urine shows strong growth inhibitory action where as human urine found growth stimulator.
20. Comparision of Mineral Profile in Urine of Cross breed, Sahiwal and Non-descript cow :
Concentration of some mineral like Zinc, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium were compared in the urine. Non descript cows showed maximum concentration of Zinc, Potassium, Calcium ,but Iron is lowest. Cross-breed cattle’s showed minimum concentration of Zinc, Potassium, Calcium, but Iron is highest. Sahiwal cows showed average concentrations.
This is to say that the concentration of minerals in urine of different breeds differs.
21. Effect of Panchagavya on E. coli in procured Milk :
Panchagavya – Urine, Dung, Milk, Curds, Ghee and Sugarcane juice, Tender coconut water and Bananas mixed and kept for 21days.The result throws more light on the mechanic of selective destruction of E.coli in procured milk.
22. Conjugated Lineolic acid – anti a cancer compound in milk :
Conjugated Lineolic acid suppresses carcinogens and inhibits colon| prostate | ovary | breast cancers and leukemia. CLA even in extremely low concentrations (0.05/=) in milk inhibits carcinogens.
23. Effect of Cow Urine on Biochemical Parameters of white leghorn layers :
Cow Urine was given to the treated group at 1ml per bird :
Serum Protein – 14.71% increase
Serum Glucose – 37.81% increase
Serum Calcium – 28.85% increase
Serum cholesterol – 30.26% increase
24. Effect of cow urine an Lymphocyte Proliferation in developing stages of chicks :
Distilled cow urine at 10ml|litre of drinking water was given to the chicks from age 0 to 28 days. T-cell and B-cell blastogenesis assay was performed. Lymphocyte proliferation assay shows that there is T and B cells become functional with increasing efficacy from day of hatch.
25. Effect of cow Urine on the Production & quality Traits of Eggs :
There is significant increase in egg production egg weight, shape index, albumin length, albumin index, yolk index, and shell thick-ness, shell weight. This can be used as feed additive to get good quality eggs.
26. Cow’s urine concoction :
A Traditional Herbal preparation commonly administered to convulsing children in Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria.
Paper presented in University of Ife, Nigeria.
27. A study of the effect of Ashtamangal Ghrit on Intelligence :
4 gms of Ashtamangal Ghrit was given every day for 4 months to the students. Academic performance and Intelligence test was performed. The result showed favorable effect on the intelligence of students.
28. Agnihotra – effect on air borne microorganisms :
The use of cowdung cake and cows pure ghee releases Formaldehyde, Ethylene oxide, Propylene Oxide, B-propiolactone, acetylene. These gases are ecofriendly and they purifies air.
There was 100% reduction in fungal count and 94% reduction in bacterial count. The Agnihotra ash can be used it seed treatment, soil treatment and human medicines also.
Cow, the abode of all the Gods
Every atom in cow’s body is abode of the 33 crore Gods. All the 14 mythical worlds exist in the limbs of cow.
- Brahma and Vishnu on the root of two horns
- All the sacred reservoirs and Vedavyasa on the tips of the horns
- Lord Shankara on the centre head
- Parvathi on the edge of head
- Kartikeya on the nose, Kambala and Ashwatara Devas on the nostrils
- Ashwini Kumaras on the ears
- Sun and Moon in the eyes
- Vayu in dental range and Varuna on the tongue
- Saraswathi in the sound of cow
- Sandhya goddesses on the lips and Indra on the neck
- Raksha Ganas on the hanging under the neck
- Sadhya Devas in the heart
- Dharma on the thigh
- Gandharvas in the gap of hoofs, Pannaga at the tips, Apsaras on the sides
- Eleven Rudras and Yama on the back, Ashtavasus in the crevices
- Pitru Devas on the ides of umbilical joint, 12 Adityas on the stomach area
- Soma on the tail, Sun rays on the hair, Ganga in its urine, Lakshmi and Yamuna in the dung, Saraswathi in milk, Narmada in curd, and Agni in ghee
- 33 crore Gods in the hair
- Prithwi in stomach, oceans in the udder, Kamadhenu in the whole body
- Three Gunas in the root of the brows, Rishis in the pores of hair, and all the sacred lakes in the breathe.
- Chandika on the lips and Prajapathi Brahma on the skin
- Fragrant flowers on nostrils
- Sadhya Devas on the arm-pit
- Six parts of Vedas on the face, four Vedas on the feet, Yama on the top of the hoofs, Kubera and Garuda on the right, Yakshas on the left and Gandharvas inside
- Khecharas in the fore of the foot, Narayana in intestine, mountains in the bones, Artha, Dharma, Kama and Moksha in the feet.
- Four Vedas in the Hoom… sound
Cow protection in Jainism
- Jain religion’s mainstay is non-violence. Hence, they do not harm cow or any other animal or bird.
- When Jainism flourished, they were active in cow protection. They built huge cowsheds and made cow rearing part of their lifestyle. Cruelty against cows, starving them, overloading, mutilating their body were all prohibited by law.
- One’s wealth was assessed by the number of cows he possessed. One Vraja/Gokula = 10,000 cows. Ten citizens who owned maximum cows were named “Rajagriha Mahashataka” and “Kashiyachulanipita.”
- Mahaveera had ordered his disciples to rear 60,000 cows.
- When Ananda became a disciple of Mahaveera, he vowed to run 8 Gokulas.
Cow protection in Sikhism
- Guru Govind Singh, the 10th Guru, told Pandit Prithwiraj that Khalsa sect was established to care for the economy, right behaviour, cows, Brahmins, and protection of the down-trodden.
- Guru Govind Singh’s first Guru was against killing of any animal – not only cows.
- In 1871, under the leadership of Guru Rama Singh, 3,15,000 Sikhs participated in an agitation against the British to get the slaughter houses closed.
Concern for cow in other religions
- Bible has praised ox as God.
- Jews respected cow and were excellent cowherds.
- Among the four legged animals, cow is the supreme; treat it with respect – Hajarat Mohammed.
- Cow’s milk and butter are great medicines. Its meat is a cause for diseases. – Hajarat Ayesha and Ullas Tivari Jahir.
- Cow’s milk is medicinal – Innamasur Sahavi Rasul.
- Abdul Mulk Ivanmaddana Subedar in Iran and Hijaj Bin Yusuf in his province had prohibited cow slaughter.
- 110th Ahal Sunnat in Afgahnistan had banned cow slaughter by Fatwa.
- Zoroaster prayed to God for knowledge and conduct to achieve prosperity of cows and human kind. (Yashana 4512)
- People of Bali used to wrap the corpse in paper-cow and cremate. With this, they believed that the soul of the dead would go to heaven.
- Many Buddha temples in Thailand have idols of cows. A cow idol occupies a prominent location in the world famous Buddha temple in Bangkok.
- Archaeologists have found idols of cows when they excavated in Philippines.
- Ancient pyramids of Egypt have pictures of cow.
Dark Chapter of Cow Slaughter
- 1760 : Robert Clive established in Calcutta the first abattoir of the country.
- 1861 : Queen Victoria wrote to Viceroy of India prompting to hurt the Indian sentiments towards cows.
- 1947 : At the time of independence, India had a little more than 300 abattoirs. Today there are more than 35,000 approved ones. There are thousands of unapproved slaughter houses.
- The cow-breeds have fallen from 70 to 33. Even among the remaining breeds, some are at the verge of extinction.
- Cow population has reduced by 80% after independence.
- 1993-94 : India exported 1,01,668 ton beef, with a target of 2,00,000 tons for 1994-95.
- We slaughter cow for its hide to make vanity bags and belts, bone-meal for tooth paste, blood for vitamin tablets and intestines (especially of calves) for making gold and silver wafers to stick on sweets.
- It is believed that series of earthquakes like the ones at Lathur in 1993 and in Bihar in 1994 are caused because of cow-slaughter.
Patents in relation to Cows
1. May 24.2005 – 6896907 :
Use of bioactive factor from cow urine distillate as bioenhancer of antiinfective, anticancer agents. Khanuja et al. CSIR.
2. June 25,200 – 6410059 :
Pharmaceutical composition containing cow urine distillate and an Antibiotics. Khanuja et al. CSIR.
3. Nov.13-2003 – 0211119 AI – 2003 :
Chandrashekhar Nautiyal et.al
Synergistic bioinoculant composition comprising Bacterial Strains in Milk of Sahiwal cow and method of producing said composition.
4. Dec. 9 – 2004 – 0248738 AI – 2004 :
Chandrashekhar Nautiyal et.al.
Synergistic fermented plant growth promoting bio-control composition – produced from cows urine, neem, and garlic.
The cow was once abundantly found in the region, but their population in the country has reduced from 15 lakh in 1970 to just 5,000 in 2005.
Gir cows are good milkers. The milk yield ranges from 1200 to 1800 kg. the heritability for milk yield is 0.20 to 0.30. The age at first calving varies from 45 to 55 months and the intercalving period is 515 – 600 days.
Under good management conditions the Gir cow produces between 1150 – 1600 kg of milk lactation.
An average Gir cow yields about eight litres of milk (as compared to 16 litres by a cross-bred cow). But each year, the cow also produces a calf that can be sold for over Rs 10,000 after four years, he says
Though Gir cows consume more fodder and produce less milk (about 15 litres a day), and take longer calving in comparison to cross-breeds (that eat less, produce around 20-25 litres of milk daily and have more regular reproductory cycles), they are more hardy, can survive in all kinds of weather and even kill lions.
The average milk production of this breed in India is about 1400 kg per lactation. The heritability of milk production is 0.20-0.30. Milk fat varies between 4.6 – 4.9%. Age at first calving is 45-55 month depending on the managemental practices and calving interval is 515-600 days.
Average lactation (300 days) yield in different Lactation (in kg).
Other Characteristics of GIR
- Indian cattle produce an oily secretion from sebaceous glands which has distinctive odour & work as repelling insects.
- Hair, skin, coat, pigmentation, ability to sweat, loose skin, ability to heat are some of the in born characteristics in Indian cows
- Bullocks are good working animal for road transport Bullocks of this breed are used to drag heavy loads on all kinds of soil
Brazil, Mexico, USA and Venezuela have imported these animals where they are being bred successfully
Indigenous cows contain better Fat, protein, TSScasein, lactose, ash,
b-lactoglobulin improves resistance in human
- being lighter and easier to digest than most dairy
- invigorates and works well for both Vata and Pitta
- It offers calories, calcium, protein, and some vitamins.
- It builds bones and teeth, and in Vata strengthens the heart and nervous system
- the only milk, apart from mother’s milk, known to Indians was Cow Milk only which has been equated with Amrita.
- Cow’s milk is tasteful, sweet, has a fine flavour, is dense, contains fat, but light, easily digestible, and not easily spoiled (Charak sutradhan 27-214)
- Milk from a red colour cow helps cure the above ailments. Cow milk in heart diseases and leucoderma (Hriday Rog and Pandu Rog) – Atharva Veda
- As per Ayurved, the milk cures 54 illnesses, the chas/butter milk some 76 illnesses and the Ghee some 111 illnesses.
Vedas describe “ghee” (melted-dehydrated butter or butter oil) not only as an ingredient essential for performing “Yagna or Havan” but also as the first and the most essential among all foods
The byproduct from a plant’s digester is compost manure which will contribute nothing to the greenhouse effect
Unlike fossil fuels, burning biomass, like biogas from cow dung, is generally considered to be carbon neutral.