Despite a marginal increase in cattle population in the country, the number of cattle is down in the Hindi-speaking belt, particularly in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh.
On the other hand, the number has gone up in West Bengal.
The 20th Livestock Census report, released by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying on Wednesday, shows that the total cattle population in the country is 192.49 million in 2019, marginally up from 190.90 million in 2012, when the last such Census was carried out.
In Uttar Pradesh, the number of cattle is down from 19.6 million in 2012 to 18.8 million (down 3.93 per cent). The buffalo population in the state has gone up by 7.81 per cent — from 30.6 million in 2012 to 33 million.
The decrease in cattle population in Uttar Pradesh comes at a time when the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government has made cow protection a major political issue and taken several steps to save cattle.
The state has also seen a rise in incidents of cow vigilantism by self-styled gaurakshaks.
Apart from Uttar Pradesh, the cattle count is down in Madhya Pradesh (by 4.42 per cent), Maharashtra (10.07 per cent) and Odisha (15.01 per cent ).
On the other hand, West Bengal has seen a rise in cattle population by 15.18 per cent, Bihar by 25.18 per cent, and Jharkhand by 28.16 per cent between 2012 and 2019.
According to the latest livestock census data, the number of cattle in West Bengal has gone up to 19 million in 2019 from 16.5 million in 2012. In the same period, the number of cattle has gone up from 12.2 million to 15.3 million in adjoining Bihar.
Jharkhand has seen a rise in cattle population from 8.7 million to 11.2 million during this period.
The total population of buffaloes in the country has gone up from 108.70 million in 2012 to 109.85 million in 2019. The states which have seen a rise in buffalo population in this period include Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and Telangana. Some states, including Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab, have seen a decline in buffalo population.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines