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'Cooperative model key for sustainable animal farming'

Posted on Oct 16, 09:26PM | IANS

An activist Tuesday stated here that the cooperative model, rather than the inhuman industrial farm animal production (IFAP) techniques, were key to sustainable animal farming.

"The consolidation of poultry/cattle farming under industries will push small farmers out of the market and also reduce employment potential apart from giving rise to inhuman treatment of animals, adverse environment impact and other effects," N.G. Jayasimha, campaign manager at Humane Society International told reporters at the Animal Welfare Board of India's office.

Humane Society International is an animal protection organisation with offices in several countries.

Jayasimha said hens in poultry farms owned by industries have to live in a space less than that of an A4 size paper and the birds are not able to perform their natural activities. Similarly, cattle are tied to a spot and are not able to move.

The industrial farm animal production would also result in formation of clusters leading to imbalance in the employment scene and environment in rural areas, Jayasimha remarked.

Citing a study, Jayasimha said that six companies in India control 40 percent of the country's egg industry.

Jayasimha said that by 2050, meat and milk production is expected to approximately double from 1999-2001 levels and most of that growth is taking place in developing countries.

While agreeing that the industrial farm animal production model has dramatically increased the supply of eggs, meat and milk, Jayasimha said the consumption is a bit lop-sided.

He said people in urban areas are able to consume more of these products whereas people in rural areas are not able to benefit out of the increased production due to problems in logistics.

According to him, the industrialisation of animal agriculture will jeopardise food security by degrading environment, reducing rural income and employment opportunities.

On the other hand, a distributed or traditional model of rearing farm animals would not only increase the income earning potential of rural households and fortify food security but also will be animal-friendly.