Friday, January 25, 2008

Misuse of a banned drug

This refers to the news about the arrest of a supervisor of the National Dairy Research Institute (NDRI) for using the banned drug oxytocin. This drug is banned or available on doctor’s prescription in Panjab also. But the truth is that this drug is freely available in all the drug stores, especially in rural areas. The farmers and dairy farmers use it freely to take out milk from unwilling animals.

I have seen buffaloes shivering with fear on seeing the man approaching with a syringe. Admittedly, it is a harmonic drug and can reduce the age of attaining puberty, especially in females. What other ill effects it can have on the milk drinkers is not yet clear.

There is talk on the effect of diclofanic sodium on vultures. What about the oxytocin’s effect on these birds? Hormones are reported to have reduced the thickness of egg shells leading to non-hatching. Farmers are irresponsible and requests and warnings by the State Pollution Control Board have had no effect. Only stringent measures can bring about a change in the farmers’ mindset.


NDRI supervisor booked for using banned oxytocin hormone
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Karnal, April 30
The police booked a supervisor and an in charge cattle yard, NDRI Karnal for using oxytocin injections on cattle.

The supervisor and the in charge were booked on the complaint of chairman of the Haryana People For Animals, Naresh Kadian. He complained to the police on March 1 but it took two months to registered a case.

The FIR was lodged under Sections 11 (C), 12 and 31 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960 on April 27 at Civil Lines Police Station after the investigation of the matter.

Talking to The Tribune Mr Kadian, also Union Government’s nominee for the NDRI under the Committee for Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA) said he had recorded the visuals of using oxytocin hormone injection on cattles at the NDRI on March 1.

The Haryana PFA chairman handed over the complaint along with the CD to SP Sibash Kaviraj on that day, he added.

The NDRI, on 4,500 hectares, was set up almost 50 years ago as a research and production centre.

Use of oxytocin was restricted after it was discovered that growing number of farmers were injecting it daily. The Animal Welfare Board set up following an Act of Parliament in 1962 has been trying to educate farmers against it.

It may be difficult to convince farmers when some of the staff at the government dairy were flouting these guidelines and rules, said Mr Kadian.

The PCA Act of 1960 has made indiscriminate use of oxytocin, a punishable offence. The Act says: “If anyone injects a milch animal with any substance to improve lactation, which is injurious to the health of the animal, he shall be fined Rs 1,000 or jailed up to two years or both. The animal shall also be confiscated by the government.”

It’s not just animals who pay the price of the hormone injection. People drinking its milk are also at risk. “Unfortunately people who take this milk do not know that the milk has oxytocin as it is not labelled. If they consume this milk then there can be problems of neo-natal jaundice, eyesight, gastric problems. It can also lead to early puberty,” said an expert.

Most people outside or inside the institute may not know it. Every day, hundreds of people come to the dairy outlet and buy milk, cheese and other products.

Monday, January 21, 2008

PIL filed to check misuse of harmful injection
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 22
The People for Animals (PFA), Haryana chapter, has filed a PIL in Punjab and Haryana High Court, seeking directions to respondents to check the ongoing system of milch cattle being injected with oxytocin, a drug that leads to more milk production.

In its petition, filed through the chairman of the Haryana chapter, Mr Naresh Kumar Kadyan, the PFA has stated that oxytocin is a health hazard, both for animals as well as human beings and by injecting the same into the cattle in order to increase the milk yield, the various government agencies are only playing with the lives of the animals as well as the human beings.

The petitioner has claimed that on March 1, when he and some other persons visited the National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal, they witnessed animals being injected the chemical and treated brutally. Even the method of extraction of milk was found to be highly brutal and caused a lot of pain to the animals, the petitioner has stated. Following the visit, an FIR was registered on April 29.

The organisation has prayed that the investigation in the case be handed over to an independent agency. It has also prayed that a direction be issued to check and control misuse of the harmful injection.

Today, the Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Mr Justice H.S. Bedi and Mr Justice R.S. Randhawa issued notice of motion to the respondents for August 17.