Is your health at risk?
There are ample of media reports that have highlighted presence of adulterated milk in the market. This milk is mainly found to be as loose milk. Therefore, people are already aware of the chances of adulteration is higher in loose milk. Moreover, in absence of any check on the quality of final products, it is common to observe contaminates like water used for washing, dung, cow and buffalo urine spilling and getting mixed with the milk at urban and peri urban dairies.
Dairy operators in urban and peri urban areas invest little or no money in welfare of their animals from whom they extract milk to sell commercially. Food, water, shelter, safety and veterinary care is the minimum requirement for a cow or buffalo producing milk. However, none of these is provided to dairy animals by their owners. After every milking cycle, animals in cities are let out loose on the roads to allow them to satiate their hunger by feeding on garbage at garbage dumps where they ingest plastic, nails, blades, glass, ceramic, meat and unnatural food and other items that are discarded in bins. Often there is no water to drink and animals get hurt by traffic, get bitten by dogs or ill- treated by pedestrians. Cows are taken back to the dairy in evening for milking. This treatment results in a slow painful death for animals.
While interacting with workers at urban and peri urban dairies we found that most of the workers are migrants who work and reside at the dairies only sometimes with their families. It is a common sight to see kids hanging around bodies of dead calves.
The workers are not screened for diseases which increases the likelihood of high risk of zoonotic diseases at these dairies. Dr Ashok Kale, who heads the preventive social medicine department of Jalgaon's Ulhas Patil Medical College in a media interview said that "Animals are a source of TB virus. Milk, their excreta and breath of a TB-affected animal can spread the disease. And most of us are unaware of this," he said.
Threat to local environment, breeding ground of diseases
Heaps of animal excreta, urine mixed with dry feed flowing in sewage system and other articles such as plastic material, unlabeled medicine bottles etc. can be found chocking sewage system in the dairies. The condition worsens during monsoons where water enters inside sheds and in surrounding areas. It results in mosquitoes, flies and overall unhygienic conditions that promotes diseases. Cows and buffaloes are tied round the clock, forced to live and milked in this environment.