There seems no end to stray cattle menace in the Kangra district. As per the estimates of the Department of Animal Husbandry, there are about 13,000 stray cows across the district. However, as per animal activists, the numbers of strays in the district is much more.
Tracing owner from tag
'Whenever I find a stray animal suffering on road, I trace its owner from the tag. I then call up the owner and ask him to take back the animal. I threaten to shame them on social media with the information. In most cases, the threat works and people take back their cows.'
Dheeraj Mahajan, Animal Activist
Amid the government efforts to house these animals in cow shelters, an animal activist from Dharamsala has taken up a unique endeavour to tackle the problem. Animal activist Dheeraj Mahajan has taken up a campaign to return stray cows to their owners. Mahajan claims to have returned as many as 1,200 stray cows to their owners so far. He runs a "shame" campaign on social media that forces the owners to take back their cows from the roads and streets.
Mahajan said, "The government had tagged most of the cows in the state to trace them back to their owners. However, till date, the government authorities have not used the tags for the purpose. After I saw stray cows suffering on the streets, I started this campaign to return stray cattle to their owners."
"Whenever I find a stray animal suffering on road, I trace its owners from the tag. I then call up the owner and ask him to take back the animal. I threaten to shame them on social media with the information. In most cases, the threat works and people take back their cows. However, in some cases I had to shame people on social media. So far, I have sent back around 1,200 stray cows to their owners," Mahajan claimed.
He said the government measures to tackle the problem of stray cattle are inadequate.
As around 50% of these animals have been abandoned by their owners for no valid reasons, returning them to their owners can solve half the problem, the animal activist said.
Kangra Deputy Commissioner Nipun Jindal said the government has brought up as many as 27 cow shelters (gosadans/goshalas) in the district for housing the stray cattle. Even though these gosadans have a capacity to house 3,334 cows, most of them are housing more than the said number.
The government had a provision of imposing fines on people abandoning their animals on the roads. When such a case was brought to the notice of the administration, a fine was imposed on the owner. The government was also providing a monthly financial assistance of Rs 700 to the gosadans for the maintenance of the stray cattle, he said.