New research exposes the suffering of 50 million cows and buffaloes in illegal Indian dairies

26/05/2017

New research by World Animal Protection has revealed the appalling living conditions of dairy cows and buffaloes in local dairies across India

We found animals suffering malnutrition, eating stale food and even drinking sewage water.

India is home to the largest dairy herd in the world, with almost 300 million dairy cows and buffaloes. Consumer demand for milk is increasing – putting strain on the animals who produce it.

Recent research by World Animal Protection uncovered a disturbing reality: in local dairies found in cities and suburbs, these animals are being forced to produce milk in unnatural, unsanitary and highly stressful environments. We are urging the local government to ensure better treatment for dairy cows and buffaloes. 

Dairies turn a blind eye to the law

Indian dairies are required to be registered under the Registration of Cattle Premises Rule under the Prevention of Cruelty Act. 

But our research found many local dairies are badly managed, and operating illegally. Cows and buffaloes are living in overcrowded and barren conditions, tied up on short ropes around the clock, and forced to lie in their own urine and faeces without room to sit, stand or move. Many had inadequate shelter from the heat and other elements.

We found animals suffering malnutrition, eating stale food and even drinking sewage water. In many cases, animals were foraging in garbage in the middle of bustling roads. Wounds went untreated, and they had no access to proper vet care.

It is estimated up to 50 million animals suffer daily in these inhumane and barren conditions.

Together we can end the horror

World Animal Protection commissioned a survey of 3,000 dairy consumers across six Indian cities. Almost half were unaware of the appalling conditions cows and buffaloes endure in illegal local dairies. But 90% of respondents strongly agreed dairies should be closed if they don’t meet animals’ welfare needs – and three in four would pay up to 10% more for products from higher welfare dairies.

World Animal Protection is now urging people in India to demand better lives for dairy cows and buffalo.

We are petitioning India’s Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to phase out local dairies – which will end the suffering of these animals – and to put welfare standards in place to protect all dairy cows and buffaloes across India.

Find out more about how we’re supporting animals in farming.