[MCN] Heat and cows: India getting wise to body size

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Mon Jun 29 16:13:18 EDT 2015

India's next weapon against climate change? The heat-tolerant dwarf cow

REUTERS JUN. 29, 2015, 6:38 AM 49      
By K. Rajendran


"This is nothing less than a catastrophe," said 
Ananthakrishnan Kannappan, a livestock agent for 
30 years in Anantapur. "This is the first time 
that due to lack of water and fodder, farmers are 
eagerly competing to sell off their livestock for 
throwaway prices."

But the solution to the problem is simple and 
small, livestock experts argue: heat-tolerant 
dwarf cows.

A team of researchers from Kerala Veterinary and 
Animal Sciences University and the state 
government's Animal Husbandry Department are now 
promoting a switch to Vechur and Kasargod cattle, 
two local varieties known for being easy to 
raise, resistant to diseases and - most important 
- better at tolerating high temperatures than the 
more popular crossbred cattle.

Dwarf cows were already gaining popularity among 
some farmers because they consume less food and 
water than conventional cattle varieties, the 
experts said. Small-scale farmers need only one 
or two dwarf cows to meet the milk needs of their 
households, they said.

With India facing growing heat and drought 
threats, other state governments have reached out 
to learn more about Kerala's dwarf cows as a way 
to help protect their own cattle and dairy 

Government officials from the state of Gujarat 
recently bought three Vechur cows from Kerala, 
while Punjab Chief Minister Prakesh Singh Badal 
took six dwarf cows from Kerala to his farm in 
Chandigarh, livestock experts say.

"It is a fact that the characteristics of the 
seasons have been altered by the disastrous 
impacts of climate change, so our lifestyle needs 
to adapt to using our indigenous flora and 
fauna," said K. Ramankutty, a dairy farmer in 

(Reporting by K. Rajendran; editing by Jumana 
Farouky and Laurie Goering :; Please credit the 
Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of 
Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, 
climate change, women's rights, trafficking and 
corruption. Visit www.trust.org/climate)
"The resulting flood calendar spans the last ca 
270 years (AD 1740-AD 2007). Š.. Our record thus 
suggests climate warming is favouring the 
occurrence of high magnitude torrential flood 
events in high-altitude catchments."

B. Wilhelm et al. Does global warming favour the 
occurrence of extreme floods in European Alps? 
First evidences from a NW Alps proglacial lake 
sediment record. Climatic Change, online 10 
December 2011
DOI 10.1007/s10584-011-0376-2
Received: 21 September 2009 / Accepted: 14 November 2011

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