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GCC set to tighten cattle rules, test milk quality, curb oxytocin

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Facing flak for an unfettered rise in the number of stray cattle and attacks in the city, the Greater Chennai Corporation will roll out a comprehensive cattle census.
Mayor R Priya will pass a resolution in this regard at the first GCC council meeting after the model code of conduct is lifted on June 4.

GCC set to tighten cattle rules, test milk quality, curb oxytocin
GCC commissioner Dr J Radhakrishnan said officials will do a physical survey of the animals before issuing licences, which have to be renewed every three months.

“We will give licenses only to owners who have 36-square feet space for every cattle. Necessary arrangements such as hygiene, water, food and vaccines for cattle will be monitored. The hygiene of milk produced by the cattle will be checked too,” Radhakrishnan told TOI on Monday.
The licenses, to be issued under Tamil Nadu Animals and Birds in Urban Areas (Control and Regulation) Act, 1997, will be cancelled if the owner violates any rule. The law also empowers cattle owners to move to appellate authority if they are aggrieved by an order of the licensing officer.

Home to roughly 20,000 heads of cattle, the city witnessed more than a dozen cattle attacks last year, including the death of an 80-year-old in Triplicane. Yet, GCC could not curb the menace except for temporarily seizing cattle and levying a penalty upto 10,000 and releasing them a few days later. The corporation has no mechanism to test the quality of milk sold by vendors too.
Balagangadhara Thilagar, veterinary professor from Tanuvas, said licensing should involve protein test, total solid test and fat test to ascertain the quality of milk. “Cattle eat plastic, polythene, paper and other items from the road. But people buy the milk directly from vendors without looking into the quality. If licensing involves scientific tests, it will be credible for consumers,” he said.

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He added the cattle must be reared and milked in a common yard rather than at owners’ houses.
The fresh rules will also allow GCC to create prohibited areas to rear cattle and if a cow is found in the prohibited area, the license could be cancelled with hefty fines and jail for the owner. Currently, most cattle in Triplicane and Nanganallur areas are reared in public places, beneath railway bridges, near bus stands, and are tied up in roads.
Arun Prassanna of People for Cattle in India said GCC must have a cattle monitoring committee and these committee members must be empowered to inspect cattle, qualify of milk, place of rearing and so on. “The milkmen use oxytocin to increase the yield of milk from cows. This can be harmful to human consumption. This must be monitored before licenses,” he said.

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