‘Gau’rdians of a different kind

Even as the cow slaughtering issue remains to be the centre for discussion nationwide, in this coastal state of Goa which has sizeable Christian population, a small-time trust devoted to the welfare of cattle-breed is subtlety doing its part for the conservation of the animal. ItsGauRaksha with a difference, and one that must be emulated across the country.RupeshSamant has more…

At a care home in Valpoi town - about 60 kilometers away from the state capital, a group of like-minded individuals have been raising financial resources to take care of 355 cows, bullocks and calves. These animals were rescued either from the roadside or from illegal slaughter houses. This they have been doing since last three years with no State government funding coming in.

“The aim of having this cattle care centre (GauShala) is to protect the bovines who are left on the road to fend for themselves by their owners. There are several reasons why these animals are abandoned including shortage of pasture or uneconomical nature of cattle rearing and farming for the farmers,” explains HanumantParab, President of Jai Sree Ram GauSanvardhan Kendra at Valpoi.

This place is one of the half-a-dozen GauShalas, or ‘cow shelters’ functioning in Goa providing sanctuary from for the animals from illegal slaughter and comforts away from the plastic waste littered roads.

Parab recalls how their first venture to rescue a cow from the clutches of a butcher landed them in this mission of their life. “The first time we had a brush with cattle conservation was when we rescued a cow at Bicholim (a town near Valpoi). After that we had another lot of more than 10 cows being pulled out from the jaws of death,” he said.

“This was almost three years back and now the GauShala has become a known name for the people who often call for the help to rescue or rehabilitate cattle,” Parab said.

Spread across five acres of land along the western ghat, this place was gifted to the trust by Ramchandra Joshi and family, who have wholeheartedly devoted to the work of this facility.

Parab says that several bovines after being hit by vehicles or being abandoned due to illness are brought in here. “In many instance, the cattle is ill from ingesting plastic after munching through the garbage in search of food,” he added.

The trust has teamed their work of cow preservation with the spirituality. “Satsangs are held every week here which is attended by several people. The cause of cow preservation cannot be separated from spirituality,” he said.

Adding commercial value to the entire operations, the trust has also started trading in processed cattle urine, which is used in the farm manure.

Parab admits of facing several logistic issues while running a venture of this capacity in the small state like Goa. “There is no pasture enough to serve all the cattle. We have to depend on Karnataka for the feed. But the problems at the border are affecting the supplies,” he said. The farmers from Karnataka have been regularly objecting to the transportation of cattle feed to Goa, Parab said adding that it becomes a tricky situation to get it in the state.

The trust now banks on the state government’s scheme to provide financial help for preservation of cattle. “Such a scheme was being spoken about in recent past. Department of Animal Husbandry was supposed to implement it, but nothing seems to have happened on the ground,” he rued.


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