In a move aimed at resolving the stray cattle menace, which has become a major cause of road accidents and destruction of crops in fields across the state, the local administration now plans to launch an "animal friendly" cattle identification programme in all villages whereby microchip implants will help the authorities to identify owners of stray cattle.
Earlier the animal husbandry department tagged cattle, especially cows and oxen, for livestock identification. However, in many places offenders chopped off the cattle's tagged ears to prevent their owners from being identified and concerned animal lovers strongly condemned the department's move.
Speaking to this reporter, deputy commissioner Rakesh Kanwar said: "The administration has asked the animal husbandry department officials to begin the pilot project in old Manali. The scheme will cover the entire district within three months."
The Himachal Pradesh High Court has already directed deputy commissioners of the districts concerned to take effective measures to curb the menace of stray cattle, which is growing day by day due to the irresponsibility of residents who leave their livestock on open streets when they have no use for them.
According to animal husbandry department deputy director Yudhbeer Bhardwaj, technique of microchip is more animal friendly, which will tag the animal round its neck that will keep the database of concern owner of cattle, which will help the authority to identify the owner of stray cattle. Under the prevailing laws there is a provision for panchayat and animal husbandry officials to slap fines on offenders but the apathy of the authorities has resulted in nothing much being done.
In Kullu district there are presently seven 'gosadan' in working condition, while proposal for other on paper, which will be executed soon to accommodate and feed the stray cattle in 'gosadan' that will help in curbing the stray cattle menace.
Last year the issue of animal cruelty in the state was widely reported by this paper. In one instance, more than 20 cows and oxen that had destroyed crops in forested areas were locked up in the winter and their carcasses were later found.