Amid raging debate surrounding ban on cow slaughter as well as beef consumption across the country, a small-time trust in Goa is running a cattle care centre here, providing shelter and rehabilitation to over 350 injured and abandoned cows as well as bullock despite facing severe shortage of funds.
At Jai Sree Ram Gau Sanvardhan Kendra, almost 60-kms from Panaji in Valpoi town, a group of like-minded individuals and locals have been raising finances for the last three years to take care of 355 cows, bullock and calves that were picked up from roadside or rescued from butchers.
The gau shala claims to have been doing this service with the motto of protecting the bovines that are left abandoned, without any support from the state government.
“The sole aim of having this cattle care centre (gau shala) is to protect the bovines who are left on the road to fend for themselves by their owners,” president of the centre Hanumant Parab said.
“There are many reasons why cows and bullocks are abandoned. At times, the reasons are because there is not enough pasture, or the farming becomes uneconomical,” he said.
Parab said the first time they rescued a cow from being slaughtered was three years ago at Bicholim (a town near Valpoi).
“After that we had another lot of more than 10 cows being pulled out from the jaws of death,” he said.
Soon these animal lovers made cow-protection their mission.
“Now the gau shala has become a known name for the people who often call for help to rescue or rehabilitate cattle,” Parab said.
He also claimed that the centre faces several logistic issues while running a venture of this capacity in a small state like Goa and has to usually depend on Karnataka for fodder.
The farmers from Karnataka have been regularly objecting to transportation of cattle feed to Goa, Parab said adding that it sometimes becomes tricky to get it in the state.
The trust is now banking on Goa government’s scheme to provide financial help for preservation of cattle. “Such a scheme was being spoken about in the past. Department of Animal Husbandry was supposed to implement it, but nothing seems to have happened on the ground,” he rued.
To a query on increasing incidents of cow vigilantism in country, Parab said they feel that the best way to preserve cattle is not violence but to provide care and shelter to them.