Celebrate February 14 as 'Cow Hug Day': Animal Welfare Board
While February 14 is usually celebrated as Valentine's Day across the globe, the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI)has reportedly requested that it also be celebrated as 'Cow Hug Day'! Not only this, but the statutory advisory body also urged the public in India to embrace cows on this day, claiming it would increase "individual and collective happiness" and bring "emotional richness."
Cows are the backbone of Indian culture: AWBI
In an appeal penned by AWBI secretary Dr. Sujit Kumar Dutta, the body noted that cows are the backbone of the rural economy and Indian culture and represent biodiversity and cattle wealth. "It is known as Kamdhenu and Gaumata because of its nourishing nature like a mother, the giver of all, providing riches to humanity," The Hindu quoted the official appeal as saying.
'Vedic traditions are facing extinction because of western culture'
The appeal also claims Vedic traditions are currently facing extinction because of the progress of western culture in the country over time. "The dazzle of western civilization has made our physical culture and heritage almost forgotten. This issues with the approval of competent authority and on the direction of Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying," it added.
Board may plan some events next year: AWBI assistant secretary
Speaking to the Times of India, AWBI assistant secretary Prachi Jain stated that this is just an appeal to people who love cows. "We have not planned any special event around it on the occasion due to paucity of time this year," Jain said. "But the board may plan some events around it from next year," the AWBI assistant secretary added.
Where was AWBI when our cows died? asks dairy farmers
Meanwhile, dairy farmers alleged that the animal welfare body did not even assist them when hundreds of cows recently lost their lives due to lumpy skin disease. "Where was the AWBI when our cows died recently? We have not got anything as compensation. The milk production has decreased by about 15 to 20%," said Dayabhai Gajera, leader of the Dairy Farmers Federation of India.
Lumpy skin disease killed over 1.5 lakh cattle in 2022
In December last year, the Centre informed the Rajya Sabha that more than 1.55 lakh cattle died in India due to lumpy skin disease. According to official statistics, Rajasthan reported the highest number of cattle deaths at 75,819. It was closely followed by Maharashtra (24,430), Punjab (17,932), Karnataka (12,244), Himachal Pradesh (10,681), Gujarat (6,193), Haryana (2,937), and Jammu & Kashmir (2,698).
What is AWBI?
Since its official integration in 1962 under Section 4 of the 1960 Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Animal Welfare Board of India has been responsible for providing grants to animal welfare organizations and advising the Union Government regarding such matters. However, an appeal of this kind has been issued by the body for the first time!