TWENTY-FOUR cows and calves have died due to food poisoning at a gaushala in Narayan Sarovar village of Kutch district, veterinarians said Sunday.
Herdsmen of Shree Narayan Sarovar Gaushala and Panjarapole at Narayan Sarovar found 24 cattle unconscious when they woke up around 5 am on Saturday. The gaushala management soon contacted local veterinary officer Viral Barot. However, Barot declared all the animal – six cows, one bullock, three sub-adult cows and 14 calves – dead after examining them. “Prima facie, it is a case of food-poisoning. The animals were given fodder maize the previous evening. Some of them drank water afterward, leading to nitrate poisoning which killed them,” deputy director of animal husbandry of Kutch district Kailahs Brahmkshtriya told The Indian Express on Sunday.
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The gaushala management said that around 600 cattle were served 8,000 kg of fodder maize around 3 pm on Friday. “The truck-load of fodder had come from a village near Bhuj. It was given by our regular donar and we were told it was freshly harvested. The veterinary doctors said those animals which drank water after consuming the fodder experienced poisoning,” said Jayendra Joshi, manager of the gaushala. This is the second such incident in Saurashtra-Kutch region in two months. In February, 17 cows died at Sheth Anandji Kalyanji Chhapariyali Panjarapol Sarvajani Trust in Chhapariyali village of Bhavnagar after nitrate poisoning following a meal of green maize fodder.
Veterinarians said green fodder develops nitrate if kept in a heap without ventilation for a long time and can prove fatal for cattle. Narayan Sarovar is also a religious place and the guashala-run by the trust is presently taking care of more than 1,300 animal. “After the incident, all the animals were examined by veterinarians. As directed, we did not give fodder or water to rest of the animal for a day as a precautionary measure,” Joshi said.
Brahmkshtriya said samples have been sent to animal disease investigation officer in Kutch for ascertaining the cause of deaths of the cows.