On World Animal Day, World Animal Protection has urged the dairy companies to work towards ending cruelty in the dairy sector.
A World Animal Protection team visited many urban and peri-urban dairies in Delhi and found that the animals were being kept in appalling conditions. Most of these dairies failed to provide even basic welfare to their cows and buffaloes.
As a first step, dairy companies must commit to not sourcing milk or milk products from urban and peri-urban dairies which keep animals in some of the cruelest conditions.
Within urban and peri-urban dairies, animals are seen tethered round the clock and are forced to lie in their own urine and faeces, hardly room to lie comfortably and unable to turn around, move or roam. The shelter is poor and their drinking water is dirty. All this causes them immense stress plus pain associated with infections, and wounds. In absence of proper feed and nutrition, some cows and buffaloes can also be seen foraging through garbage, walking and lying in the middle of bustling roads across most urban areas in India.
The recent visits brought to light that while all dairies in India are governed by the Registration of Cattle Premises Rules (RCPR) under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, many urban and peri-urban dairies are operating outside the law as well as ignoring rules and policies set to protect animals and the environment.
An estimated 50 million dairy animals suffer every day in India and a significant number of these suffer the worst cruelty as they live in unacceptable conditions in these urban and peri-urban dairies.
World Animal Protection has, in an earlier investigation, found disturbing evidence corroborating absence of proper management of dairy animals across six major cities in India. World Animal Protection had also commissioned a survey of citizens across those cities in 2016, with a clear finding that cruel treatment of dairy animals in urban and peri-urban dairies is unacceptable to people.
"It was shocking to see this cruelty. We are extremely concerned about the welfare of these dairy animals and want people to understand where the milk they consume may come from. Dairy companies have a responsibility towards these dairy animals as well as their consumers and they must end this cruelty," said Campaign Manager, Animals in Farming, India Dairy at World Animal Protection, Sonia Bindra.
World Animal Protection also wishes to raise concerns around the irresponsible disposal of waste by these dairies which could result in them becoming a breeding ground for disease, potential human health hazards and environmental pollution.
"These urban and peri-urban dairies are openly flouting rules. Some even operate illegally without proper registration. This should not be allowed. These animals give us milk, they serve our needs and deserve a better life. These dairy companies need to commit to not sourcing milk from urban and peri-urban dairies and also influence and invest to ensure basic welfare is provided to dairy animals in their final supply chains," said India Country Director at World Animal Protection, Gajender K Sharma