SRUC and JMICAWE hosted a 2nd workshop at ICAR in November, 2016 on animal behaviour and animal welfare, following a previous workshop in February 2015. Indian scientists are keen to build research capacity in animal welfare and this is part of a developing collaboration between SRUC, University of Edinburgh, and ICAR.
The 2-day workshop was opened by the Director General of ICAR, Dr Mohapatra, chaired by the Deputy Director General, Dr Rahman, and attended by the President and CEO of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in UK, who were also in Delhi. The delegates included the Directors of several of the ICAR Institutes, including dairy cattle, pigs, poultry, buffalo and more. Cathy Dwyer, Marie Haskell, Fritha Langford and Laura Dixon provided information on animal welfare, welfare assessment, current UK research and were joined in lively debate on particular welfare issues in India. We also conducted a practical session where the opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ with some of our equipment was met with much hilarity.
Following the workshop we spent a day visiting the impressive National Dairy Institute for Research at Karnal, meeting some of the indigenous cattle and buffalo breeds of India, including an ‘audience’ with Shrestha, the world’s first cloned buffalo bull. We then visited a nearby ‘gaushala’ which is home to about 200 stray cattle. The Hindu religion, and Indian law, prohibits the culling of non-productive cows, and these are often encountered wandering the streets of Delhi and elsewhere. The gaushalas provide a shelter for these animals which live out their days under the care of volunteers who worship cattle.