Animals are raised to provide food items including eggs, milk, and meat. Besides they are also used to derive products like fiber, wool, leather, etc. The efficient management of this resource, thus, is of primary importance. Animal husbandry.
refers to the process of raising, breeding, taking care of, and managing livestock. It also includes ensuring the proper administration of livestock by providing adequate food, shelter, and protection against disease. Regarding agriculture, animal husbandry is the utilization of scientific methods to derive profit from livestock.
Regarding agriculture, animal husbandry is the utilization of scientific methods to derive profit from livestock.
Animal Husbandry in Agricultural Development
The scope of animal husbandry extends to the following commercial areas:
- Dairy products: milk and milk products including butter, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
- Meat: Many animals including chicken and goats have been reared for their meat.
- Other Products: Wool and leather are derived from animals like sheep and camels and are commercially exploited by farmers as well.
- Ploughing: Animals help plow fields and transport goods.
Take a look at the scope of animal husbandry extending to the above-mentioned commercial areas.
Some Branches of Animal Husbandry
- Poultry Farming: Rearing of birds, including chicken for meat and eggs.
- Dairy Farming: Milk production and other processed by-products such as yogurt, cheese, butter, and cream through the management of milch animals like sheep, goats, buffaloes, and cows.
- Aquatic Farming: Rearing and farming of fish and other marine creatures in a controlled environment, also known as pisciculture.
- Bee Farming: Also known as apiculture, involves taking care and managing of honey bees to produce honey and wax.
Mentioned above are a few branches of animal husbandry.
Share In Agriculture And Livelihood Opportunities
The importance of animal husbandry in agricultural development in India cannot be disregarded. Indian animal husbandry sector is one of the largest in the world and provides direct and indirect employment and livelihood to a large number of people.
Animal husbandry contributes almost 5 percent to India’s GDP and forms almost a fourth of the agriculture GDP. The sector has been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent in the last few years, an impressive pace. Income from livestock is the primary source for many engaged in the sector and a secondary source for the rural farming community as well. With the sector playing a pivotal role in the rural economy through a host of contributions, it assumes great importance in income generation and employment avenues besides providing nutrition through products like milk, eggs, and meat, etc.
With the significant growth in the agriculture industry and the increased focus of the government of India, the shifting consumer preferences toward animal-based food products have had a favorable impact on the animal husbandry sector in India.
The Indian animal husbandry sector is one of the largest in the world and provides direct and indirect employment and livelihood to a large number of people.
Awareness Generation on Animal Nutrition and Health
Sustainable livestock systems contribute to food security, economic, and environmental benefits and enhance sociocultural needs. While livestock systems have the potential to contribute to sustainability and food security, poor management has adverse effects on the environment, human and animal health, and animal welfare.
Good nutrition is essential for animals’ health and well-being. In agriculture, production methods demand a high level of animal productivity. Rapid advances in animal husbandry and production systems have intensified. This requires continuous adaptation in management and nutritional practices to ensure animal well-being, health, and production.
Despite improvements in livestock production and management systems, infectious diseases remain an important health concern. Proper management and nutrition are central to preventing and controlling most infectious and non-infectious diseases. The concern that transmission of pathogens to humans could cause disease outbreaks requires awareness at the farmer and consumer levels.
While awareness creation is important, the urgency is felt only when any disease, particularly zoonotic, raises its ugly head. Some recent instances of mad cow disease, bird flu, swine flu, and more recently lumpy skin disease have led to awareness campaigns about the diseases and the safety aspects of animal-based food. Everyone now knows of the virology, pathology, epidemiology, and the likes of these diseases. Awareness at the farmer level lies in the management and prevention of infectious disease through eradication and excluding the organism(s) causing the disease through biosecurity.
Animal disease is a complex interaction between the host, the disease-causing agent, and the environment. Biosecurity addresses strategies for both disease prevention (eradication) and control (limiting the consequence of infection). Thus eradication and biosecurity are the pillars of managing exotic diseases.
Animal disease surveillance is not developed, and the requisite infrastructure to support is inadequate. Untrained “animal health workers” are popular with farmers as they charge less and are easily accessible. Unrestrained use of antibiotics and direct marketing of drugs to farmers are common, leading to antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria that is a major public health concern.
With rapid advances in animal husbandry, production systems have become intensified. This requires continuous adaptation in management and nutritional practices to ensure animal well-being, health, and production.
Lumpy Skin Disease and How Farmers Are Coping
The recent outbreak of lumpy skin disease caused by a deadly virus has struck fear in farmers. The disease is contagious, stealthy, debilitating, and not much is known about it. Lumps started appearing on the cow’s body, accompanied by high fever. Within a week, they become emaciated, and the milk yield is reduced significantly. Veterinarians maintain that there is no cure for this disease, and this is particularly worrying for the dairy sector. The infectious nature of LSD has major implications on the economy; decreased milk production, abortions and infertility, and damaged hides due to nodules and fibrous tissue growth have caused significant economic losses to farmers.
Veterinarians are following protocols as in a pandemic. Dairy farmers have been instructed by health authorities to spray disinfectants in cattle sheds to eradicate vectors of LSD. In case of the death of an animal, farmers have been advised to bury the carcass deep inside the earth. In case of early visible symptoms, they have been advised to quarantine the cattle.
The prompt isolation of diseased animal, disposal of dead animals by proper burial, and enclosure and restricted movement of sick animals have led to a containment of the disease to a certain extent. The authorities are carrying out vaccination of the cattle with the goat pox vaccine. The pace, however, is slow and the awareness programs lacking in coverage.
The infectious nature of lumpy skin disease has major implications on the economy, and decreased milk production, abortions and infertility, and damaged hides due to nodules and fibrous tissue growth have caused significant economic losses to farmers.
S M Sehgal Foundation: Helping Farmers to Improve Profit from Animal Husbandry
The significant contribution of animal husbandry and dairying, employment opportunities in the livestock sector, and a significant percentage of women (about 70 percent) employed in livestock farming have led to the rapid emergence of this sector. Since ownership of livestock is evenly distributed among landless laborers and marginal farmers, the opportunity for a more balanced development of the rural economy exists. The need of the hour is to create the requisite infrastructure for animal health and welfare, and create awareness among the farmers. India has achieved the envious position as the largest milk producer in the world as a result of the White Revolution. With the horizon dotted with uncertainty due to cattle disease, the genuine threat needs to be managed well.
S M Sehgal Foundation is a sustainable rural development NGO in India that has been working since 1999 to improve the quality of life of rural communities in India. It aims to strengthen community-led development to achieve positive environmental, economic, and social changes across rural India. S M Sehgal Foundation’s main program areas: Water Management, Agricultural Development, Local Participation, and Sustainability, Transform Lives one school at a time, and Outreach for Development.
A CSR project implemented by the S M Sehgal Foundation that began in April 2021 focused on agricultural development and allied activities such as animal husbandry and water conservation. A few farmers were provided with animal nutrition kits to demonstrate the advantages of a balanced diet in increasing the efficacy of animal husbandry. These farmers were shortlisted based on their income level, and priority was given to the landless.
The recipients of this kit were trained by the project team on its benefits, and manner of utilization, as well as on other good practices in animal husbandry such as maintaining the hygiene and health of animals, inclusion of fresh grass in their diet, and vaccination. The animal nutrition kits contain micronutrients that help to balance the animal’s diet, improving its overall health, and increasing its milk supply.
Within three months of having the supplement, buffaloes started producing an additional amount of three liters of milk, and their overall health improved. The health benefits included better metabolism, healthy disease-free udders, and others. Their income increased, amounting to about INR 18,000 annually.
With more than two decades of experience in sustainable rural development in India, the teams at S M Sehgal Foundation across rural India have been at the forefront to create awareness, designing and implementing interventions based on collective action, thereby addressing pertinent rural development issues.
To tackle the lack of awareness among farmers about the lumpy skin disease in cows, the foundation team facilitated several sessions on awareness building about the disease, identifying it, and tackling it such that the animal keeps healthy.
The need of the hour is to create the requisite infrastructure for animal health and welfare and create awareness among the farmers.
- Dairy products
- Other products
- Poultry farming
- Dairy farming
- Aquatic farming
- Bee farming
Lumpy skin disease is contagious, stealthy, and debilitating, and not much is known about it. Lumps started appearing on the cow’s body, accompanied by high fever. Within a week, they become emaciated, and the milk yield is reduced significantly.
Dairy farmers have been instructed by health authorities to spray disinfectants in cattle sheds to eradicate vectors of LSD. In case of the death of an animal, farmers have been advised to bury the carcass deep in the earth. In case of early visible symptoms, they have been advised to quarantine the cattle.