Native cattle breeds better suited to climate resilience

Bringing home the prizes his bull had won in a jallikattu event, Kaspar recollected last year’s protests. In January 2017, Tamil Nadu had erupted into protests to revoke a ban on jallikattu, a bull-taming sport.

The protests were an eye-opener for Kaspar from Pudukottai district since that is when he learnt about the importance of indigenous cattle breeds. Only indigenous breeds native to India are used in these sports, held in different forms in many states.

Each region of India has native breeds with distinct characteristics, suited to local conditions. Bargur is ideal as a draught animal for agriculture in the uneven, hilly terrains of western Tamil Nadu. Dual purpose Badri, used as milch and draught animal, is suited for the hilly regions of Uttarakhand. Kankrej is a dual-purpose breed of the tough terrains of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

India has 37 indigenous breeds, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The other native breeds, lacking in distinct traits, are referred to as non-descript breeds. With signs of climate change clearly visible everywhere, conservation of native breeds that are hardy and better suited to withstand high temperatures has been gaining ground.