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Updated: April 18, 2012 12:35 IST

A movement to save Kangayam cattle gaining momentum

M. J. Prabu
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MAGNIFICENT: Karthik Sivasenapathy with his prized bull. Photo: M.J. Prabu
The Hindu
MAGNIFICENT: Karthik Sivasenapathy with his prized bull. Photo: M.J. Prabu

If farmers can maintain latest motorbikes why can't they keep native cattle?

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.

Animal price

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:, web:, mobile: 9994433456, phone: 422 223 2818.

Nice Article.
It's really sad to see our Native Breeds are not given importance.
We have to take steps to save our Native breeds.
Also we should try to recover the Paddy varieties of our land.

from:  K.Dhandapani
Posted on: Apr 17, 2012 at 12:25 IST

it is heartening to see the comments and wishes.

from:  karthikeya Sivasenaapathy
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 18:42 IST

In the 1950's when I worked as a Dairy Assistant in Hosur Cattle Farm, there were pure bred Kangayam and Hallikar herds. They were not high milk-yielding breeds, but were excellent draught animals. Their magnificent physique and gait, and breeding vigor among the bulls is unsurpassed among our native breeds. Their milk was high in butterfat content, and there were individual animals that produced high yields of milk. Both these breeds were bred in the farm for good milk yield. I do not know if these breeds are still maintained in the Hosur Farm, where excellent pasture and other fodder crops like burseem and alfa alfa were available. Farms under the Animal Husbandry Departments should take up maintaining indigenous breeds so that the gene pool is not lost.

from:  E.R. Vedamuthu
Posted on: Apr 14, 2012 at 12:00 IST

As a teenager I visited Tiruppur car festival just to look at the Kangayem bulls. It would not be a surprise if the breed ends up in zoos. The decline is mainly due to the demise of bullock carts and farm lands in Coimbatore and Tiruppur Districts. In the sixtees government brought in land ceiling which included grazing lands. Ground water levels have gone down and farmers can no longer use bulls to bring out water from wells. Farmers abandoned growing grains, cotton and tobaco due to shortage of labour in rural areas. Instead, farmers started growing coconut trees even in PAP canal irrigation areas.Thanks to Mahatma Gandhi Rural employment scheme in villages. Cow manure can not compete with subsidized chemical fertilizers. Unless government provides aid in the form of subsidies, there is little chance to revive Kangayem breed.

from:  vijay
Posted on: Apr 12, 2012 at 21:41 IST

A great article. Hopefully the Poonganur Kuttai and other indigenous breeds can also be saved.

from:  Ramu
Posted on: Apr 12, 2012 at 19:58 IST

Extensive use of automobiles in cultivation, transportation lead to a steep decline in population of draught animals. Govt is ready to help people in purchasing a tractor rather than a pair of bulls. Farmers should think in this way. Save these animals and save themselves.

from:  Dr Hemanthkumar B K
Posted on: Apr 12, 2012 at 19:43 IST

May people like Karthikeya get all the support and goodwill in their efforts. Wishing him all success.

from:  Ramana Murthy
Posted on: Apr 12, 2012 at 12:16 IST

Agriculture is slowly losing it's lustre and most of the farmers wants
easy money and selling their lands to builders-a dangerous sign indeed!!

from:  T.G.Ramachandran
Posted on: Apr 12, 2012 at 07:13 IST
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