Efforts to save endangered wild animals like the tiger, are afoot today by enacting stringent laws for protecting them.
“Even the house sparrow has attracted attention in bringing about a conservation movement. But sadly, for the livestock sector in Tamil Nadu not much attention is being paid to conserve its native cattle breeds,” says Mr.Karthikeya Sivasenapathy, Managing Trustee, Senaapathy Kangayam Cattle Research Foundation, Kuttapalayam, Erode.
The foundation is situated in Kuttapalayam village, Palayakottai in the Kangayam taluk of Tirupur District (formerly Erode District), Tamil Nadu, and is ideal for cattle breeding.
The Kangeyam breed derives it's name from Kangayam division of the taluk spreading from Erode, Karur, Namakkal and Dindigul districts where this breed has been in existence for a long time.
The animals are medium in build although a few large specimens can be found. Considered to be a good draught breed in South India, the breed is hardy and thrives on scanty rations, according to Mr. Karthik.
Many native animals have all become extinct in the last 20 years, thanks to the government policy of introducing cross bred animals and claiming that they can yield more milk than the native ones.
“Though to some extent it may be true that the cross bred yielded some litres more, the fact that these cross breeds also got afflicted with several infections and prone to a number of ailments that their humble native counterparts were not, cannot be overlooked,” he emphasises.
Reason for decline
“Another reason for the decline in their numbers is that the government has invested several crores for the Animal Husbandry department.
“But today we cannot find even one person in the department supporting the cause of maintaining the native breed. The answer is simple. The money cannot be used for the native breeds for maintaining them healthily as the animals are by nature robust.
“So how can they get the vouchers and other documents ready to claim the amount from the government accounting it as for syringes and medicines. It can be done only if there are cross bred ones,” he smiles.
The milk of Kanngayam cow has a high nutritious value with no bad fat.
The urine mixed with rotten fruits, vegetables and black gram, can be used as good bio-fertilizer popularly known as ‘amrita karaisal'.
“The urine and dung of the animals is best suited for natural farming practices,” says Mr. Karthik.
The colour of the cow is grey or white with black markings. Kangayam cows are poor milkers; but good milkers are also found, giving 18 to 20 litres during their peak milking period.
The price of a cow ranges from Rs 15,000 to Rs. 25,000 and a bull, from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 70,000.
“In an attempt to save the this native breed our Foundation is planning to submit a proposal to the State Government for setting up a venture on a public-private partnership model for in situ conservation and breeding of this animal. Lack of awareness of the distinct advantages of pure Kangeyam breed is a reason for the reduction in popularity among breeders today,” explains Mr. Karthik.
Also reduction of grazing lands called Korangadu pasture-grazing system once abundant in Kangayam tract contributed to the decline of Kangayam cattle.
“Today some 10 lakh and odd acres of Korangadu land exist in the region against the 22 lakh acres in 1990,” he says.
Korangadu is a traditional grazing land It is a typical combination of grasses, legumes and trees, fenced with live thorny shrubs.
But how can a small farmer invest so much money to buy or maintain the breed?
“A kangayam breed or any native breed saves the farmers expenditure in buying chemicals. The waste from one animal can easily be used for 3-4 acres. In a year a farmer can easily save Rs.12 to 15,000 and get a good income from selling the calves.
Need a positive mind
“If farmers in our villages can maintain the latest motorbikes today I dont see any reason why they cannot maintain native cattle. It is all in the mind and a positive approach,” says Mr. Karthik.
Contact Mr. Karthikeya Sivasenapathy at Senaapathy Kangeyam Cattle Research Foundation, Kuttappalyam, Palayakottai village, Kangayam Taluk, Tirupur District 638108, Tamil Nadu, email: email@example.com, web: http://www.kangayambull.com, mobile: 9994433456, phone: 422 223 2818.