The cow has, no doubt, been one of the central symbols of Indian civilization since the Vedic era. The 'sacred cow' is a proverb, which is prevalent around the world, and which also makes it clear that the cow is considered sacred and a symbol of purity throughout the world. The glory of the legendary cow Kamadhenu is sung to give her excessive amounts of nectar-like milk. Agriculture, which came into existence about ten thousand years ago, further increased the importance of the cow, not only because of its nutritious milk but also because of its fertility and soil fertility. In other words, for thousands of years, our food security has been resting on the shoulders of bulls. This is such a factor of cow, which is hardly any match. But the irony is that in our present-day political environment, the cow is standing at the crossroad, where some people consider it worthy of protection, and some eaters.
With more than 200 million cattle animals, India ranks first in the world and holds 33.39 percent of the total cattle population of the world. Brazil with 22.64 percent and China with 10.03 percent are second and third respectively in terms of cattle population of the world. Knowing that we are the largest producer of milk in the world, every Indian feels proud. Total milk production in the year 2016-17 was around 1,550 lakh tonnes, which is expected to increase to 2,100 lakh tonnes in 2021-22. It is due to the population of cows in India that we have been increasing milk production by four percent annually for the last 10 years. The chairman of the National Dairy Development Board expects annual growth of 7.8 percent over the next few years. Thus, the White Revolution has been more durable than the Green Revolution. The per capita milk production in India also increased from a mere 178 grams in 1991-92 to 337 grams in 2015-16 and in a few years it will increase to 500 grams per day. Thus, livestock, especially cow progeny, has a huge contribution to India's food security, which makes us proud.
The contribution of the cow dynasty is counted only in terms of their milk production. But as energy animals, they play an even more important role. Plowing, reaping, sowing, crushing sugarcane, preparing sludge fields for paddy, sowing of grain, hauling products from farm to home, hauling products to market, taking sugarcane to the mill, etc. How much contribution of cow-vatson-bulls in works! How much does he contribute to the country's food security!
Not only is India the highest in the population of cattle and milk production, but also in the diversity of cattle breeds. Some 30 breeds of cow in India are well described. The number of non-described breeds is still high. Each breed has specific qualities, such as milking capacity, farming operations, the conversion efficiency of fodder products, natural efficiency of agricultural activities according to a geographical area. Some Indian breeds, such as Sahiwal, Gir, Lal Sindhi, Tharparkar, and Rathi are among the milch breeds. Haryana, Amritmahal, Kankrej, Ongole, Lal Kandhari, Malvi, Nimari, Nagori, Kangayam, Hallikar, Dangi, Khalari, Barguru, Kenkatha, Siri, Bachaur, Ponwar, Kherigarh, Mewati, etc. are well-known breeds of oxen.
India's food self-sufficiency and food security rest largely on the shoulders of small and marginal farmers (who cultivate 83 percent of the total land holdings). Small and marginal farmers mostly cultivate with the help of livestock, while large cultivators are usually dependent on agricultural machinery. Statistics say that agriculture contributes 32 percent to greenhouse gas emissions, that is, about one-third.
Now about some beef. The meat industry is one of the most brutal climate villains, leaving a very large carbon footprint in the atmosphere. Since the beginning of the industrial age when the world started burning fossil fuels, we have warmed the world to 0.8 degrees Celsius. A report by CNN shows that the largest carbon footprint due to a wide variety of foods is due to beef, which is about 60 times higher than diets made from beans, peas, and soybeans (vegetarian diets). Needless to say that cows should be considered as an important source of socio-economic and ecological development of India.