Just two days after the mass death of 41 cattle in Darjipura panjrapole in Vadodara, 58 more cattle met the same fate in Sayajipura Panjrapole run by the same trust, Jaina Jeevdaya Committee. The trust has expressed shock at the deaths and decided to install CCTV cameras in the Panjrapole, suspecting mischief.
On Sunday morning, about 58 cattle fell one by one, taking severely ill after consuming the fodder on Saturday evening. Doctors and animal activists had rushed to the Panjrapole at 2 am on Sunday, to revive the cattle. While about 15 could be revived, 58 others died.
The police, who are investigating Friday’s mass death of 41 bovines in the Darjipura Panjrapole run by the same trust, has ordered a probe into the second incident. The Surat Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) collected samples from inside the shed, while the corpses have been sent for autopsy. While officials of the health department said that the conditions of the animal shelters was poor as well as the quality of the fodder, stored for a long period before feeding. Health officials, not willing to speculate ahead of the FSL report hinted at “nitric toxicity” as the reason for the death of the 99 cattle in the last two days – squarely blaming the trust for “bad management”.
A health official said, “The condition of the shelter is very poor. There is no appropriate schedule for feeding the cattle, is what we have understood. The fodder is stored for a very long time and simply fed to the cattle without testing the toxic levels of nitrate that fodder is known to develop over time. The FSL report will point out the exact cause.” Experts said that on the intervening night of Sunday, during attempts to revive them, the sick cattle showed signs of laboured breathing and diarrohea — both signs of toxicity.
The Jaina Jeevdaya trust, however, has denied any negligence on their part and expressed shock at the deaths. Rajiv Shah, Secretary of the Jaina Jeevdaya Committee told The Indian Express that members of the trust had decided to install CCTV cameras with immediate effect in both their panjrapoles, not ruling out mischief by an ousted employee.
Shah said, “We are deeply saddened by these two incidents. We do not know what went wrong, but we are suspecting mischief by an employee who we had a fall out with due to financial reasons and an FIR was registered against him. We have informed the police about our suspicion.” The trust believes that installation of CCTV cameras will help avert such tragedies in the future. Shah admits that nitrate toxicity, as suggested by experts, could also be a reason. “We have also learnt from experts that the fodder could have turned poisonous as the levels of nitrogen increase in the fodder over time. We source the fodder from Karjan and it is usually kept in the tempo until it is fed.”
Shah said the two Panjrapoles had 700 cattle before the combined toll rose to 99 on Sunday. “The cattle in the shelter is unproductive and frail. Most villagers too abandon their cattle here in old age. We take good care of them. We have a full time veterinary doctor as well as two livestock inspectors who check on animals regularly,” Shah said.
Normally, cattle convert the nitrate in fodder into nitrite which then converts to ammonia and finally into protein in the rumen. However, experts say nitrate toxicity occurs when nitrite is abnormally collected in the fodder accumulates in the blood of the cattle, reducing the oxygen and causing asphyxiation.
The corpses of the cattle will be buried after autopsy.