Friday, February 8, 2008

Use of Oxytocin in North Panel raps ICAR for no researchVibha SharmaTribune News Service
New Delhi, December 9A parliamentary committee on agriculture has expressed 'concern' over why the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) - the national organisation that conducts and promotes research in agriculture and allied sciences - has not initiated any work on oxytocin despite "Being aware that repeated use of hormone can have ill-effects on the animal's health".
Rejecting the reply of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE) on the practice of injecting the hormone for enhancing milk production, prevalent among almost all regions of the country, particularly Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the committee has asked it to initiate research on the issue.
In its report tabled in the Parliament recently, the committee also came down heavily on the study conducted by the NDRI, Karnal, of oxytocin on animal health, saying that it had been done for a limited period of just 10 days or so.
"Out of greed the owner of the animals uses the hormone injections on a regular basis. No research seems to have been conducted on prolonged use of oxytocin on animal health, lactation years and composition of milk," the committee said, asking for a detailed study to know effects of prolonged use of the injection.
The panel also expressed surprise regarding 'paradoxical contradiction' in the reply given by DARE on the issue.
"On one hand the ICAR is claiming to have found no side-effect on milk as well as animal health due to the use of oxytocin, on the other hand the Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, whose plans and actions were sought by DARE, has termed it a menace."
Actually the material used by livestock farmers for the purpose is a crude preparation of oxytocin, a peptide hormone that has the basic function of facilitating secretion of milk from the udder and expulsion of foetus or placenta during parturition.
Livestock farmers use the preparation of the hormone for salvaging complete milk retained in the udder. However, its repeated use can have ill-effect on the health of the animal.
The committee, under the chairmanship of Prof Ram Gopal Yadav, while presenting observations on the action taken by the government on its earlier recommendations on the issue, categorically stated that it was not satisfied with the reasoning given by the department for not initiating any work on the issue.
"It is a serious matter directly involving the animal's health. Field experience tells that it reduces animal's lactation years and also affects human health," the committee added.

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