Despite controversies around gau rakhsaks and vigilantism, there are groups of cow lovers working silently and doggedly towards the well-being of the bovine species in the state.
Cow care centres located at Avedem in Paroda, Zambaulim and Shirvoi in Quepem, and Valpoi in Sattari, are a blessing for injured bovines and abandoned cattle. While the first three are run by Dhyan Foundation, a New Delhi-based spiritual and charitable organisation, the one in North Goa is run by Jai Sree Ram Gau Sanvardhan Kendra, a registered animal welfare trust.
The fact that thousands of stray cattle have been treated and nursed back to life at these cow shelters points to the fact that an increasing number of people are abandoning their cows and buffaloes once they turn 'unproductive', thereby adding to the stray cattle menace.
"The number of cattle in our gaushalas is increasing rapidly. Unfortunately, this is a sign of the degeneration of our society. If the numbers are increasing at our end, that means the society isn't taking care of the animals, and the bovines end up on the roads, meet with accidents, or are just left dying, which is how they come to us," Dr V S Mishra of Dhyan Foundation told TOI.
Hanumant Parab, president of the Jai Sree Ram Gau Sanvardhan Kendra, said that while more than 1,700 bovines have been treated at their Valpoi gaushala over the past nine years, Mishra said nearly 600 cows have been treated at their three cow shelters in South Goa since they set base in the state in February 2014.
Mother-less calves are bottle-fed and physically disabled cattle are helped by volunteers, who said that almost all of the animals with a missing limb are victims of road accidents.
The article was published in The Times Of India