"Let’s go next door to meet the cows, bulls, donkeys, horses and even a camel, why are they here?"
All cows, bulls, buffaloes, donkeys, horses and a camel that have come to Karuna have a right to life and will be protected and looked after for the rest of their lives. They are not isolated or tied up, they are free to live in the herd and go out grazing in the forest. Cows and buffaloes are free from milk production for profit and most of them are sterilized or castrated.
Cow dung is sold to farmers for compost. Bio gas is provided at the clinic for cooking.
Originally, in India, milk was not the most important product from the cow. Cows and bulls were used in fields and their dung and urine were used to make compost, medicine and other health products. Only the little extra milk left from the cow after feeding her calf was used by the family who owned the cow.
At present, cows and buffaloes are reduced to production units for milk and meat. Cow slaughter is becoming more accepted and practised in spite of it being illegal in India.
90% of the milk produced is from rural areas and small towns. There are 118 million dairy cows and buffalo in India (livestock census Sept. 2014).
In 2007, there were 14 million farmers, 254 milk co-operations, 177 milk unions, and 1,33,000 village level societies. Now (in 2016) the numbers are much higher.
The bio industry in India is one of the worst in the world as rules, regulations and animal laws are not implemented and the whole business thrives on illegality and corruption.
Karuna’s Cattle Rescue Project started in 2002 with the rescue of illegally transported cattle on the way to the slaughterhouse. Good working bulls, dairy buffaloes, calves and local cows are sent for slaughter for minor health disorders or for fear of the annual drought. Millions and millions of cows, calves, bulls and buffaloes are slaughtered as a result of the growing milk industry (Operation Flood) This makes India the largest meat exporter in the world.
The “green revolution” which introduced fertilizers and chemical pesticides to the farmers, has been depleting the soil and killed the natural microorganisms needed for a healthy soil. The indigenous cattle, which are drought and disease resistant, have been replaced by mechanised farming.
Up to date 2016 Karuna has rescued around 700 head of cattle. The High Court has given permanent custody of 305 head of cattle rescued by Karuna Society. The remaining cases are under trial.
Every year we give pairs of young healthy, castrated bulls to local farmers for adoption under strict legal conditions. The farmers are not owners and in the end the animals have to be returned to Karuna.
Karuna and Buffaloes
"I always felt a strong connection with the buffalo"
Five thousand years ago the water buffalo was domesticated in India. The animals were mainly used in wet land for ploughing the rice fields. They are a source of livelihood for farmers and buffalo milk is much appreciated.
Unlike the "Holy Cow", revered as our Mother, the buffalo has quite a different image.
According to the Hindu scriptures, the god of death, Yama, is riding a buffalo bull and in other literature the buffalo is seen as a demon.
It is not difficult to see the duality here: white cattle and black cattle, Holy Cow and Demon.
Although the cow is legally protected and slaughter of cows is illegal in most states in India, this does not apply to buffaloes.
Nowadays the buffalo is the main source of milk, meat and leather production. Starving male calves are killed for leather and the female buffaloes are in large numbers slaughtered as beef for export. At present India is proud to be the largest milk and meat exporter in the world.
Karuna Society has rescued cattle of all breeds and colour for the sake of saving the lives of the animals.
Although in the early years we used the buffalo milk to sell milk products, we soon learned that without selling the male buffalo calves for slaughter Karuna was breeding an ever growing buffalo herd which we could not feed.
At present we have approximately 120 buffaloes, half male and half female and we have castrated and sterilised them all as we had to stop the reproduction. As a consequence there is no income from milk but Karuna has to feed the buffaloes for the rest of their lives.
Karuna is the first cattle rescue project to have sterilised the female buffaloes.