Frozen bovine semen technology has been in existence since 1950 in America.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government — in a bid to increase milk production — will introduce a programme to encourage the breeding of cows over bulls. The state government has decided to take frozen bovine semen from an American company that guarantees its clients of breeding 98 per cent of cows and not bulls. However, activists are sceptical about the impact of the mass scale implementation of the said programme.
The decision has come in the wake of the state government’s law preventing the killing of bulls and bullocks, which led to the presence of more bulls in the state than cows. Also, the government wants to increase the state’s milk production to compete with neighbouring states like Gujarat. “Cows are more useful than bulls; therefore, we have decided to have selective breeding. With the help of technology, we will be producing more cows for milk than bulls. The milk can give farmers an income,” animal husbandry minister Mahadev Jankar told The Asian Age.
“The government will provide frozen semen of the best quality bulls to the farmers. There is a guarantee that 98-99 per cent of the calves born from the process will be female. We are improving the breeding of cows so that they can give us the best quality and quantity of milk. Also, nowadays, bulls aren’t required much for farming and hence their numbers should be lower than cows,” an official from the animal husbandry department said. With the help of biotechnology, the X and Y spermatozoa are separated to have the desired sex in the animal, the official added.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ secretary Colonel (Dr) J.C. Khanna, however, was a little doubtful about the implementation of the project. “Artificial insemination is not new, but if it is going to be on a mass scale, there are a few doubts. First of all, it needs to be done in highly hygienic conditions, or else the cows can attract infection. Secondly, there is no logic in having only female calves. Cross breeding is a usual process to increase milk production and it has a higher success rate. But I am not aware about this technology,” said Col. Khanna, who has been working for 25 years with the military dairy farm in India.
Frozen bovine semen technology has been in existence since 1950 in America. At present, the technology commercially produces sex-sorted semen in many countries.