[email response]: Holy Cows — Acclaimed abroad, despised at home

Posted by Madan Gopal Das | Posted in Email responses to Madan Gopal Das, Glories of Vedic Cow | Posted on 27-09-2010

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Hare Krsna!

I received this article written by Devinder Sharma via an email sent by a friend. I thought it was some thing worth reading.

Holy Cows — Acclaimed abroad, despised at home

A couple of days back, newspaper in Punjab reported that an American company — World Wide Sires Ltd — is planning to provide high-quality semen to dairy farmers. Some days back, I had heard that the Kerala Minister for Animal Husbandry was thinking of importing some improved cattle breeds from Denmark for cross-breeding with the local cows.

I find this shocking.

The fascination for exotic cattle breeds has been the bane of Indian dairy industry. Our planners and policy makers have introduced these breeds without even ascertaining the potential of native breeds. The Indian breeds are suited to the local conditions, are able to resist the heat of summers, need less water, can walk long distances, live on local grasses and resist tropical diseases. They can be also turned into high milk producers given the right kind of feed and environment.

While the native cattle breeds (they number 30) are despised at home, and roam the streets because of their low productivity and therefore low economic value, the same breeds are doing exceptionally well in Brazil. In fact, over the years Brazil has become the biggest exporter of Indian breeds of cows. Three importants breeds — Gir, Kankrej and Ongole — give more milk than Jersey and Holstein Friesian.

At a competiton held recently in Brazil, pure bred Gir cow clocked 48 litres of milk/day.

If India had given the same importance to our local cattle instead of depending upon cross-breeding with exotic breeds, the land of holy cows would have made not only the domestic cattle economically viable but also  ensured a significant shift towards the viability of farms and crop sustainability. Still I feel India can launch bilateral cooperation with Brazil to strengthen our own dairy industry and farming. I think there is an urgent need to draw the nation’s attention to the way we have neglected our own cattle breeds thereby doing more damage to agriculture and animal husbandry.

Here is an article that I wrote sometime back, and is so relevant today.

Holy cow – Acclaimed abroad, despised at home

-By Devinder Sharma

For years we were made to believe that Indian cows are unproductive. They give less milk and therefore are a drain on farming. The entire focus has therefore been to crossbreed with the exotic high-yielding milch cattle  from abroad.

For a nation, which has rarely been proud of its natural assets, expecting the holy cows to be scientifically and technically revered was certainly out of question. While India refused to acknowledge the distinct and superior traits of its indigenous cattle breeds, and in fact derided all efforts to develop the production potential of its own local cattle breeds, another developing country saw the virtues of the Indian cattle breeds and has over the years emerged as the major supplier of semen and embryos of high-yielding milk cattle breeds. These improved cattle breeds actually originated from India.

It was in the 1960s that Brazil imported three cattle breeds from India — Gir and Kankrej from Gujarat, and Ongole from Andhra Pradesh. These were essentially imported for beefing up its meat exports. It was only when these breeds landed in Brazil that they found them to be also a good source for milk production. In a recent FAO publication on traditional knowledge, it has been observed that what was (and is still) considered a ‘waste’ in India, has turned out to be a great economic wealth for Brazil.

Brazil has in recent years emerged as the world’s biggest supplier of improved cattle embryos and semen of Indian origin – now rated amongst the best dairy breeds in the world. The demand for Indian breeds is particularly high from the African and Southeast Asian countries. Suitable for the tropical conditions, these countries find the improved cattle germplasm to be ideal for their cattle breeding programmes. If only Indian dairy and animal scientists had not ignored the domestic cattle breeds, the fate of the Indian cows would have been much different – these holy cows would have then been truly revered.

Believe it or not, the world’s best Gir cows today give 5500 litres of milk on an average per lactation. Compare these with the neglected cousin back home, which do not yield more than 980 litres, the Brazilian Gir yield roughly six times more. And that’s not the maximum limit, milk yields as high as 9000 litres per lactation have been recorded in Brazil. Imagine the Indian Gir breed giving that much of milk. The fate of the Indian cattle would have undergone a dramatic change for the better.

In India, where agriculture research and education has been more or less westernised after the advent of the land grant system of education, agriculture scientists considered it worthless to work on the native breeds. Cattle improvement realised on the sole methodology of bringing in alien breeds of Jersey and Holstein-Friesen and using them in a nation-wide crossbreeding programme to improve the domestic milk production capacity.

The imported Jersey purebreds, which were used extensively for improving milk production in Indian breeds, on an average produce 3,000 to 5,000 litres in a lactation year. On the other hand, the resulting Jersey crossbreds that were born do not give more than 2500 to 3000 litres. Imagine if the country has instead gone in for developing its own indigenous breeds yielding almost double than the crossbreds, India’s milk production would have surpassed all global records.

Indiscriminate crossbreeding of Indian cattle with the exotic breeds under the Intensive Cattle Breeding Programme (ICDP) has already rendered more than 80 per cent of the Indian cattle in the non-descript category. In a country, which has the largest population of cattle in the world, and some 30 recognised breeds of cattle, genetic contamination had taken its toll. More than a dozen of the Indian cattle breeds have almost disappeared.

So much so that some years back, Oman made an unusual request to India. The oil-rich Middle East country was looking for four purebred animals of the cattle breed – Tharparkar — found only in the dry and arid regions of Rajasthan. Tharparkar derives its name from its unique genetic ability that enables the animal to walk across the massive desert of Thar in Rajasthan. It took us several years to procure four genetically pure Tharparkar bulls.

While India ignored the strength and capabilities of its domestic cattle, Brazil realised the unique genetic potential of Indian breeds. It has meanwhile developed a number of commercially important crossbreds: Girolando, a dual purpose cattle for beef and milk and Zeboain, developed from crossing Kankrej and Ongol. A breed evolved for meat, and currently being developed for milk is Nellore. Another breed Indo-Gujarat is a genetic mixture.

In Minas province, a research company, EPAMIG, has produced 50 dairy cows recording 10,000 litres per 307 days of milk period. These high-yielding cows are being used for embryo collection, fetching US $ 220 per embryo. Semen from the progeny bulls of this breed fetches US $ 11 a dose.

Not only in Brazil, animal genetic wealth from India has been the building block of numerous improved breeds all over the world. Take poultry, a rare Indian breed – Brahma — is among the parents of modern broilers. The development of Anglo-Nubian breeds of goat in Europe is traced back to Jamnapari breed from India. In the case of buffaloes, some of the best breeds available world over are from India.

And yet, India has been regularly sending official missions to scout for improved breeds of sheep, horses, rabbits, poultry and you name it. The accepted logic being that India’s own domestic breeds are unproductive and importing exotic breeds is the only practical way to improve productivity. The same reasoning also extends to plant varieties and the traditional medicinal systems. While the production potential of high-yielding crop varieties is often exaggerated, there is not even a single official research programme to identify and improve the traditional and locally adaptable crop varieties.

It is primarily because of our inability to appreciate the genetic wealth existing in our backyard that much of it has already been taken and  deposited in the plant and animal repositories in Europe, United States, Japan and Australia.

*Disclaimer*: The views expressed in the link above are entirely that of the author of that article and does not necessarily represent the views of this sender in any way.

Comments (13)

This shocking news need the awareness to farmers who will following the imported breed for their local cattle breeding.In long back at 1971 or 72 the Gujarat had very bad experiences regarding exotic breed to get for better productivities in focus areas.Indian zebu Cow posseess world best charactors so no need for getting semen/bull/embryo to importr,failed to survive those exotic breed to next generatins,embryo not suit to our cow, climate and local geological aspact.

To upgrade the indigenous breed for improvement in milk and genetically content, the awareness programme to be switch to villages with a model farm.People can see results of this breed and inspire for better management,selection breeding.

Thanks for enriching my faith in Vedic breed of cows. I wish I could serve these cows in some way.

prabhu, articles like this really depict the glories of our vedic cows materially as well as spiritually. also the fact that how our government is a big fool. Thanks a lot.

Thanks for the articles about our Indian holy cows.
I am planning to do cosamrakshana very soon at my
native Abinavam.

Jai Gomata,

The Animal Husbandry department of State Universities and State government should take urgent action to preserve Vedic cows ( Cows with hump and Dewlap). ISKCON, Pathmeda, Patanjali Pharmacy are doing commendable job in preserving and poparalising vedic cows importance and its product.

Gao vishwasya matarah

Shyamkant Satpute

Whatever the British were unable to do – we have accomplished better than them…

Hare Krsna!

Very nice article. Read also a good blog at http://vediccow.blogspot.com

Thank u ! prabhuji!!!
for this article it well help me in my farms.
thanks a lot!!


these holy cows are so beautiful work of nature nun of cows are like them in the hole universe and the people those who are teasing them will be punished by god
sanjay yadav

In an effort to rejuvenate Indian cattle breed, I am desperately searching for bulls of Red Sindhi, Shahiwal, and Gir cows, but unable to trace them anywhere in Karnataka…. At last, I am planning to import a Gir bull from Gujrath…. Hope anyone can shed light on the availability of these cows near home in Bangalore….

ANS – I don’t know any place in Karnataka. Yes in shankaracharya math in Shimoga you can get some information.

Gir bulls and cows you can get in places like gondal, Jasdan, jungadh etc in Gujarat.

For Sahiwal you can contact Uttaranchal Livestock development board. It is under Uttaranchal government. They sell sperms and embryos of Sahiwals breeds. They have one centre at kalfi, Uttaranchal livestock where they sell embryos.

If some one among readers know more they can help.

Similarly For Tharparkar we can contact livestock board of Rajasthan government etc.

Hare Krsna!

What is the breed of the cow in the picture?

With Love,
Ulises Guerrero

Ans – Gir.

Article is certainly eye opener for non scientific community.
But other than conserving the various indigenous breeds in India we have to take care of rearing and veterinary aspects to improve the herds available in India.I have seen few good herds which are positive to many infectious diseases but culling is not being done due to sentimental value and over the years these herds were further deteriorated or almost vanished.

Ans – Thanks for input. I agree with you fully about care while herding and rearing etc. Also breed improvement is a dire need today. At the same time we should be aware that there can be many better ways than culling for prevention of diseases and breed improvement. We should not be so insensative to life that we kill it without any remorse and feelings. One should be sentimental at the same time intellectual. Rather than culling we should apply our intelligence on how we can prevent the diseases, improve living conditions of cows, improve breed, and prevent infections. Other wise what you have said is fully correct.

I’m from Brazil, I’ve written more than 30 books on Zebu, and hundreds of articles – always respecting the Indian sacred cow and establishing in the country, the ways to improve the animal with a view to the future of humanity. The Indian Zebu arrived in Brazil in 1870 – Kankrej and Ongole. Until 1920 came the Gir. In 1950 came the Sindhi. The great advantage of Indian Zebu was not just drag carts in coffee plantations, produce milk and meat for the workers. It was, however, occupy million hectares in the hinterland, opening more than 3,000 cities. Before the Indian Zebu, all the land was unknown, did not generate wealth for the man. Imports 1962 were only aperfeiçoadoras of Nellore (Ongole) and Gir, with fewer benefits for Guzerath that was already well developed in Brazil. Today, Gir cows produce over 12,000 kg / lactation. Guzerá cows have passed 10,000 kg / lactation. Sindhi cows, more recent, have passed 7,000 kg / lactation. The improvement continues. A few flocks already require mitochondrial DNA to ensure that the animals are “Indian pure”. The Brazil and India can walk together, yes, but we must separate the wheat from the chaff. There are many “mixed cattle” in Brazil, but also in India. Every year Brazilian groups run around India, trying to find one or another animal that can serve to Brazil and then care – legally – embryos. Most studbook entity in the world is ABCZ, Brazil, dedicated to the Zebu, with millions and millions of registered animals, with their yields noted.

LIVROS e afins

1 – A Geometria do Zebu (Zoognomonia) – 256 páginas – 1983
2 – A Epopeia das Secas (A revolução nordestina) – 346 páginas – 1983
3 – O Guzerá, autoria de A. A. Santiago, coedição de Rinaldo dos Santos – 467 pág – 1984
4 – Minidicionário das raças zebuínas (Nelore, Gir, Guzerá) – 1985
5 – O Zebu de Ouro – 172 páginas – 1987
6 – Gir: o gado sagrado da Índia – 330 páginas – 1990 (*)
7 – Fundamentos raciais do gado Gir – 288 páginas – 1990 (*)
8 – A Saga do Zebu e seus Pioneiros – monografia sobre os 50 primeiros anos do Zebu, no Rio de Janeiro – 1991
9 – O Tabapuã – 76 páginas – 1993 (*)
10 – Gir: a raça mais utilizada no Brasil – 634 páginas – 1994 (*)
11 – Nelore: a vitória brasileira, vol. I – 330 páginas – 1994
12 – Nelore: a vitória brasileira, vol. II – 394 páginas – 1995
13 – Tabapuã: a raça nacional – 308 páginas – 1995 (*) (**)
14 – O Gir & o Leite – 320 páginas – 1996 (*) (**)
15 – Nelore: a vitória brasileira, vol.III – 236 páginas – 1997
16 – O Zebu: 60 anos de Registro Genealógico – pela ABCZ – 860 páginas – 1998 (*) (**)
17 – Os Cruzamentos na Pecuária Tropical – 764 páginas – 1999 – (catalogação das raças no Brasil) (*) (**)
18 – Simental & Simbrasil – 282 páginas – 2000 (*) (**)
19 – Zebu Ano 2000 – pela ABCZ – 516 páginas (*) (**)
20 – Nelore: a vitória brasileira, vol. IV – 576 páginas – 2003
21 – A Cabra & a Ovelha no Brasil – 480 páginas – (catalogação das raças brasileiras) – 2003
22 – O Nelore do Mato Grosso & do Mato Grosso do Sul – 460 pág. – 2004 (*) (**)
23 – A criação da cabra & da ovelha no Brasil – 498 pág. – 2004.
24 – Guzerá: o gado do Brasil – 532 pág. – 2005 (*)(**)
25 – Dicionário de expressões rurais do Brasil – com 2.598 verbetes não registrados em dicionários convencionais – enviado para a Academia Brasileira de Letras. Raças bovinas, equinas, caprinas, ovinas; nomes de cortes de carne; pelagens de animais; partes do corpo; termos zootécnicos e genéticos; expressões rotineiras no meio rural nordestino – 2005
26 – Os grandes reprodutores Nelore do Brasil – em CD, para o Museu do Zebu, com os 300 principais reprodutores desde o início da história no Brasil – 2006.
27 – Gir: a pecuária fundamental (*) – 624 pág. – 2007.
28 – Santa Inês: a raça fundamental (**) – 564 pág – 2007.
29 – Sindi: o gado vermelho para os Trópicos (*)(**) – 590 pág. – 2011.
30 – Zebu: a pecuária sustentável (*)(**) – pela ABCZ – 970 pág. – 2013.
31 – Explicações Nordestinas: a História do Brasil e do mundo das Secas (***) – 808 páginas – 2015
32 – “O Sertão Verdadeiro” (***) – 480 pág. – lançamento em 2015.
33 – Cabra & Ovelha: desde a origem dos tempos – 240 p. – 2015.
34 – Do Zri-Bhu ao Zebu: o gado sagrado da Índia e do Brasil – 808 p. – 2016. (*)(**)
35 – Tabapuã: a moderna pecuária do Brasil – 640 pág. – lançamento: maio 2017. (*)(**)
36 – A moderna criação de Cabra & Ovelha – 640 pág. – lançamento previsto: 2018 (*)
37 – Ecotipologia bovina: a pecuária no Brasil tropical – Lançamento previsto: em pesquisa.
(*) – Livros oficializados por Associações.
(**) – Livros em Português, Inglês e Espanhol.
(1) = lançamento no Instituto Hist. Geográfico PB, RN, PE.


1 – revista Campina Grande Empresarial (1976) – Campina Grande (PB).
2 – revista Paraíba Pecuária (1977) – Campina Grande (PB).
3 – revista Agropecuária Tropical (1979) – Recife (PE).
4 – revista O Berro (Revista Brasileira de Caprinos & Ovinos) (1980) – Recife (PE).
5 – revista Girolando (1990) – Uberaba (MG).
6 – Anuário Brasileiro do Zebu (1993) – Uberaba (MG).
7 – Anuário Brasileiro de Cruzamentos Tropicais (1994) – Uberaba (MG).
8 – Anuário Brasileiro de Caprinos & Ovinos (FEINCO) (2007). – Uberaba (MG).

Vídeos e TV

– TV do Berro – Programa de caprinos e ovinos. Mais de 1.800 quadros, divididos em 600 programas diários. Hoje disponível em DVD – Uberaba (MG).

Programas zootécnicos

1 – Concepção e projeto – Programa de Melhoramento Genético para os Trópicos, com animais Bos indicus provados por DNA mitocondrial, na Uniube – Universidade de Uberaba/USP/ABCZ/FAZU/USA.
2 – Concepção e formulação – Programa de Formação do Carneiro da Caatinga com Carcaça Internacional – utilizando a raça Soinga e vários cruzamentos por indução e redução filogenética – Universidade do RN/Secr. Agric. RN/ABCSoinga/Faz Rondon

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