Indian Buffalo Meat Facts X

Indian Buffalo Meat Facts X

Livestock Census 2012 counted 11 crore buffaloes in India. The number of cattle (cows and bullocks) is 19 crore. The rising ratio of buffaloes in the bovine stock is itself worrisome; we shall discuss this issue later.

What is more worrisome is the composition of the buffalo herd of India. Of the total 11 crore buffaloes, 9.2 crore are females and only 1.6 crore males. Composition of the male herd is further distorted by the highly skewed ratio of calves to adults. Of 1.6 crore male buffaloes, 1.1 crore are young calves of age less than 2 years. The ratio indicates that large numbers of male calves are either allowed to die young or are slaughtered soon after they cross the age of 2 years.

An analysis of the dynamics of Indian buffalo herd by the US Department of Agriculture based on historical data from several Livestock Censuses offers the following estimates:

  1. As many as 55 percent of the male calves born are left to die.
  2. In addition, 45 percent of the available male buffalo stock is slaughtered every year.
  3. Of the much larger female stock, 11.5 percent is slaughtered every year.
  4. Of 2.4 crore buffaloes estimated to have been slaughtered in 2012, 1.1 crore were males and 1.3 crore females.

Thus nearly half of the buffaloes slaughtered are males, most of whom are necessarily young calves. There is hardly any market for the sinewy meat of an adult male buffalo used for heavy draught.

Of the large quantities of buffalo meat that we produce and export nearly half is of young calves and half of female buffaloes who are slaughtered after bestowing us with bountiful milk for several years.

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