India's toxic milk and plastic cows

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by TrueSpirit1, Feb 3, 2014.

  1. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    India's toxic milk and plastic cows

    They hog our streets: inert, gentle and oblivious to honking horns. We feed them, pat them and love them. No book or movie on India can be complete without them somewhere in the background. Riots to massacres, they keep the logic of our politics ticking, even 67 years after Independence.

    India has 304 million dairy cows and produces about 17 per cent of global milk. But scratch beneath the hype over the cow and you will find an unpalatable reality: They live and die in deplorable conditions and might be producing toxic milk. The news spread in the wake of a case hearing on milk contamination in the Supreme Court on January 30.

    Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Vikramajit Sen asked states and Union Territories to take steps to curb impure milk and stipulate harsher punishment, even life imprisonment, if necessary. The buzz on polluted milk has been doing the rounds for a while.

    The first National Survey on Milk Adulteration by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India in 2012 revealed an alarming trend: Most urban Indians drink contaminated milk, with 70 per cent samples containing anything from starch to detergents and bleaching agents to fertilizers.
    Last year, the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University found traces of a cancer-causing chemical, dioxin, in milk.

    How are pollutants getting into milk? What lies at the root of the problem is something the nation has never bothered to 'notice': The condition of the Indian cow.

    Since 2000, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has repeatedly reported about thousands of illegal dairies across the country where animals are impregnated repeatedly and forced to produce enormous amounts of milk every day.

    Chained by the neck in narrow stalls, unable to move, and often lame as a result, the cows suffer from chronic debilitating diseases due to lack of movement and poor and unhygienic diet.

    Most are unlawfully injected with hormone oxytocin to make them give more milk.

    Oxytocin keeps their bodies in perpetual condition of labour, with repeated uterine contractions, destroying their reproductive systems and making them bone thin and eventually sterile.

    The man-animal interface has largely been taken over by machines: Most cows in India are milked by low-cost milking machines. They may have reduced drudgery for dairy workers but are painful for animals.

    The suction machines tend to take more milk out of the cows than what they would yield naturally. And they are often kept on even when udders have become dry, causing acute pain.

    Bigger urban dairies tend to be foul-smelling infernos, where the animals stand in feet-deep slush and dung, suffer from skin disease, other infections and TB. Death is a daily affair. But even in death they are useful: the carcasses are sold for beef and leather.

    The small dairy owners in cities and big towns send their animals out on the street to fend for themselves. They forage for food in garbage bins or vegetable markets. And what do they eat?

    Doctors at a Tamil Nadu vet school report that cows are brought in with gastroenterological problems as a result of swallowing large amounts of plastic waste.

    Doctors have witnessed cases where cows had swallowed more than 25 kg of plastic. On an average, every month, 10 per cent of cows brought in are found to have plastic deposits inside their bodies.

    When plastic is stuck in a cow's stomach for long, the toxicity can contaminate the milk it produces, report doctors, with plastic residues entering the human food chain.

    With garbage and food spilling out either on the road or dustbins in plastic bags, knotted at the mouth, cows eat end up eating food leftovers along with the plastic. Over time, a huge amount of plastic accumulates inside their stomachs, hard like cement.

    Karuna Society for Animals and Nature at Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh was the first to report on, what they call, "plastic cows". In 2010, it took 36 stray animals into its custody. Soon an animal died. The postmortem revealed that the animal's stomach was full of plastic. The Society has since done umpteen surgeries to remove plastic from inside animals to save their lives. It was on their PIL that the Supreme Court gave anti-plastic directives in 2012.

    Meantime, a movement is gearing up in the West to move away from modern farming practices that leave no room for farm animals to display natural behaviour.

    Big animals, like cows, have distinct personalities.

    "When you see cows standing in the pasture blandly chewing some dreary bit of grass and staring into the middle distance, you'll never guess what lies beneath that placid exterior," writes photographer Glen Wexler in his 2007 book, Secret Life of Cows.

    Organic activist Rosamund Young gives a fascinating insight into that secret world in her 2003 book with the same title: "Cows can love, play games, bond and form strong, life-long friendships. They can sulk, hold grudges, and they have preferences and can be vain."
    The secret behind a healthy nation might just be to remember that a happy herd produces better milk.

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    An unfortunate commentary on India's health standards & our humanity w.r.t cows.
     
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  3. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    @kseeker @Free Karma @Mad Indian Which milk are you guys consuming ? Ever heard such practices (adulteration etc.) in your area ?

    @Singh From what I know, milk adulteration is too common in Punjab as well, any idea ? How about health of cows ?
     
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  4. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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  5. sydsnyper

    sydsnyper Senior Member Senior Member

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    It is very painful to hear of mute animals being treated this way......for that matter, we have seldom treated members of our own species with dignity.
     
  6. kseeker

    kseeker Retired

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    Buffalo milk from local cowboy :cb:

    Yes, heard lot about milk adulteration in MH, especially such news are common during festivals!

    ~~~~~~~~~

    W.r.t. the topic, it's really unfortunate and sad to learn about the plight of animals; it's a pity that, very little or nothing has been done so far to overcome this issue.
     
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  7. Free Karma

    Free Karma Senior Member Senior Member

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    I actually used to get fresh cow milk from a milkman, everyday in the morning, until some 3 months ago. We(and many others here) have bought milk from them for quite a few years sometime, but off late the quality of milk started to get really bad, and some rumours started to spread through maid servants who lived in the area, and it was similar to what is being mentioned in the article:
    They did not know about oxytocin but the stuff she said sounded quite similar like, "they put some injection, it makes the give cow more milk, but the cow itself becomes weak and pathetic the legs become very thin and start to arch, and it is very unhealthy".

    So finally switched to Aavin milk (cooperative govt controlled milk society), and the change in quality was huge, the only difference being it isnt pure cow milk, I think it is mixed with buffalo milk too.

    WRT actual stories of contamination in aavin milk, I havent heard anything, though there were many rumours about chemical formulas being used to create extra thick curds/milk in some other private milk companies to gain a bigger market share, but nothing more.
     
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  8. A chauhan

    A chauhan "अहिंसा परमो धर्मः धर्म हिंसा तथैव च: l" Senior Member

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    I haven't seen any Doodhwala ever in my life which doesn't do milk adulteration. :frusty: And the way the cows and buffalows are treated is really pathetic.
     
  9. Mad Indian

    Mad Indian Proud Bigot Veteran Member Senior Member

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    The article is full of halftruths and misleading info... I wont take it serious.
     
  10. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    Why & how ?

    In North India, this is quite rampant.
     
  11. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    In Delhi-NCR regions, oxytocin use is no secret. In fact, till few years back, we had the milkmen travel to our doorstep with his cow & squeezed the milk in front of us. Now I know, how was it all so convenient for him & how he could squeeze milk on demand.
     
  12. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    Sir, water in milk is ok.
    Milk in water is also ok. We have lived with that for years without much health hazards & without much trouble for the cows.
    But, adulteration (chemicals/hormone injections) ?
    Not only this is inhuman, this is potentially disastrous for us. Don't you think ?
     
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