September 27 & 28, 2010, Kottayam, Kerala
The National Conference on Native livestock breeds and their Sustainable Use took place at Kottayam, Kerala.It was organized by the Vechur conservation Trust in association with M.G.University, Kottayam. The Registration of participants marked the beginning of the day of the conference. 210 participants registered for the Seminar.
After the welcome speech by Dr.Joby George the inauguration of the Seminar was done by Dr.Rajan Gurukkal Vice Chancellor of the MG University. He elaborated the Community’s role in conservation and the need for community support in such activities. He made a special mention of the Samburu Protocol and the need for such protocols in india. He said a protocol for Vechur should be given top priority. Dr.Sosamma Iype, in her Presidential address, expressed deep concern about the rapid loss of biodiversity.She said two breeds are lost every week as per FAO statistics.The conservation action taken for Vechur cattle- though late -has made it possible that Vechur cow is still on this earth.
A paper on Government’s role in conserving Native domestic breeds was presented by Dr.A.Batobya,from the Ministry Government of India.It was an opportunity to understand the role of Government as well as Universities, NGOs and other organisations. The focus on endangered breeds by the Government was emphasized and listed. His concluding remarks with a quote “When last individual of a race of living things breaths no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again” created a kind of fear in the mind. The message was clear that unless we take strong and stringent action to save the remaining valuable germplasm the future is bleak.
Dr.Kandsamy N.Professor of Animal breeding and Genetics and former Dean of Namakkal veterinary College presented a paper on The Livestock breeds of TamilNadu and their conservation.The pictures and habitat of breeds of cattle,sheep,goat and buffaloes and pigs was a great attraction to all. How cultural and religious practices help in conserving breeds was a real inside story.He brought the richness of TamilNadu to light.
UNEP was represented by the presence of Sri Pramod G Krishnan.
Prayar Gopalakrishnan, Ex-MLA and former Milma Chairman, said he is a basically a farmer and conservationist. The need for encouraging and supporting the farmers keeping native animals was emphasized. Another point he stressed was including conservation of domestic animals in the syllabus in the school system. He said that these two poins be included in the resolutions and brought to the notice of the Government. He said that nowadays children do not even have the idea that milk comes from the cow.They should be encouraged to know nature and its preciousness.
Dr.J.Mohan, Additional director and Dr.K.C. James District Animal husbandry Officer, Kottayam represented the Govt.Department of Animal Husbandry Kerala. They wished all success to the seminar and the activities of the Trust.
The technical papers were from different institutions.including National Dairy research Institute. Kerala Agricultural University team led by Dr.K,V.Raghunandanan, Director CAS in Animal Genetics and Breeding , presented papers of great practical importance. The slide show by the renowned Environmentalist and photographer Sri P.K.Uthaman on Precious nature was in his own words “is not an entertainment but a serious issue”. Through his slides he showed the indescribable colours and beauty of the nature, how the forests are source of life sustaining water and what happens when forests are destroyed. He said this realization led him and many others to fight for the rescue of Silent valley .The Vechur conservation he is also involved is a continuation of the Silent Valley protection.
A photo exhibition of the Livestock wealth of Kerala was arranged by Dr.Anil Zachariah and his team. It gave a realization that Kerala is rich in its diversity and not poor as thought by many.The instant painting by child artist Minon was amazing. He drew 44 extinct animals in less than one hour. Simultaneous was the photo exhibition .
Dr.A.P.thomas thanked all those who involved with the conference and expressed his willingness and desire to be more involved with the trust activities and collaborative research.
The second day of the technical session moderated by Sri.Prayar Gopala Krishnan, was devoted for farmers sharing of experience with native animals and their suggestions and emphasis on rights of the farmers. It even disclosed the observation on resistance of Vechur cattle to aortic worms and many many interesting findings. It was expressed in this session that in case there are obsolete rules they have to be changed or else Gandhi is policy on salt making would have to be followed. The session ended with vote of thanks by Dr.Jayan Joseph