Modi government is exploring the possibility of promoting donkey milk

Agencies | Updated on: Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 11:18 PM IST

PTI Photo by Atul Yadav  (PTI9_7_2015_000231B)
PTI Photo by Atul Yadav (PTI9_7_2015_000231B)

New Delhi: Don't fret, it's not happening any soon. But the Modi government is seriously exploring the possibility of promoting donkey milk in the country as a measure to save the animal from extinction as India has already lost more than half of its population.

Concerned over the latest livestock census report of 2019, the population of donkeys has fallen by a massive 61 per cent since 2012. The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has asked the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) to find out how to promote the donkey milk as that will help in conservation of the animal. Their numbers in India now stand at just 1.20 lakh as against 3.20 lakh seven years ago. The decline in their number is uniform in almost all the states.

The ministry has sought a report from the ICAR on the basis of one of its study underlining that donkey milk has four times the Vitamin C as cow's milk, and it also contains casein, lactose, vitamins A, B1, B6, D and E, besides being useful for beauty products.

The prime reason for drop in the donkey population is the decreased working utility in the face of increased mechanisation. The authorities, however, say wildlife mafia that used to deal in tiger skin and parts have now switched over to donkeys who are in much demand in China for its medicinal use. Some killings of donkeys have been reported in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Donkeys are normally used for transportation of farm produce, building materials, and people. Most of them are owned by socially and economically deprived landless people as their source of livelihood.

The donkey's census shows that its population has fallen in Rajasthan from 81,000 to just 23,000. The maximum donkey population is in the Barmer district, followed by Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Churu.

Maharashtra now has only 18,000 donkeys as compared to 29,000 in the previous census. The state animal husbandry department has already launched a 'Save Donkey' programmes on the lines of 'Save Tiger' programme.

The population of donkeys in Uttar Pradesh has declined from 57,000 to 16,000 while both Gujarat and Bihar now have 11,000 donkeys as against 39,000 in Gujarat and 21,000 in Bihar in 2012. Their population dropped from 17,000 to 10,000 in Jammu and Kashmir while it is now 13,000 in Assam and 10,000 in Haryana.

The census report says the population of camels, pigs, horses, ponies and mules have also sharply declined by 51.9%. In contrast, India's livestock population increased to 53.58 crore with the number of cows rising 18% to 14.51 crore over 2012.

In contrast to the national average rising, the livestock population declined by 1.35% in Uttar Pradesh, 1.66% in Rajasthan and 0.95% in Gujarat as per the 20th livestock census conducted with the participation of all states and union territories, covering 6.6 lakh villages, 89,000 urban areas.

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Published on: Tuesday, October 29, 2019, 11:18 PM IST