Fifteen cows died at a dairy farm in Malerkotla allegedly after consuming rotten fodder being served to them. The dairy is owned by one Liyakat Ali. Another 42 cows are reported to be critical.
The incident happened at a dairy farm located at Chowk 786 at Malerkotla that houses 106 animals. Ali has claimed that around 80 animals (cows and buffaloes together) have died at the farm. but the Department of Animal Husbandry has confirmed only 15 cow deaths.
Dr K G Goyal, Deputy Director, Animal Husbandry Department, said, “As of now 15 cows have died while another 42 are critical. The owner has shifted 50 animals (cows and buffaloes) to an unknown place. His figure of 80 deaths is not acceptable.”
According to a statement released by Guru Angad Dev Veterinary And Animal Sciences University (GADVASU), disease outbreak occured due to the animals being fed rotten vegetables/potatoes, rotis, bread along with paddy straw. Green fodder was not given to animals, the statement added.
Mohd Shamshad, Liyakat Ali’s nephew, told The Indian Express,”As my uncle was unwell, I was managing the farm. We have six employees and we were giving potatoes, stale rotis, wheat grain, straw etc. to animals for the past many days. However, their quality was not bad.”
Dr K S Sandhu, incharge animal disease research centre of GADVASU who visited the dairy farm, said,”Affected animals showed signs of ascending signs of paralysis, recumbency, staggering gait, abdominal respiration and subnormal temperature. Preliminary investigations revealed some food borne toxicity (bacterial mycotoxins etc) leading to mortality and sickness among animals.”
He added,”Rotten food such as potatoes, vegetables, rotis etc. should not be given to animals, instead green fodder should be give to them.”
The animals at the farm were given their diet on May 26 afternoon and on the morning of May 27, outbreak of disease was reported in the farm. Three years back as well disease outbreak was reported at the same dairy farm, but only one animal had died in it.
Dr Goyal said, that “as the owner had refused to get his 42 critical animals treated”, NGOs in the area has been asked to help. “They are very critical. We cannot let them die for want of treatment,” he said.
Mohd Shamshad claimed: “I have spent nearly Rs 1.5 lakh on treatment of animals, now I have no money and hence I cannot afford treating them.”
Wasim Sheikh, president of Muslim Sikh Front of Punjab, called it a “sad incident”, and said that “owners need to focus on diet of livestock”.
Shamshad, however, refused to accept that he had shifted 50 animals somewhere else. “My business has been ruined, our family had invested nearly Rs 40 lakh in this business as we started with four animals 15 years back. Why will I lie about number of animals that have died? I appeal to government to compensate us for our loss so that we can re-start our work.”