Wonder Cow in a small packaging – Vechur
Have you ever thought about a cow just a little bigger than a dog? Well, surprise, there is. But don’t think that it’s just a showpiece in your farm for it yields maximum amount of milk in proportion to its intake of hay. Well after all it is a wonder cow.
- History and Characteristics
Vechur cow was used to be very popular during 1960’s in Kerala region. Farmers prized them for their various specialties. The cow was named after the village ‘Vechoor’ where it was believed to have evolved its dwarf form and high milk output. Scientific name for the cow is bos indicus. They weigh just about 130 kilograms and are almost 2 ft 10 inches tall and 4 ft long, which is very small for a cow we know, with a lifespan of about 15 years. They are declared to be the smallest cow breed by Guinness World Record Book. Vechur cow’s lactation period is of about 8 months and about 2 to 3 litres of milk a day. They are believed to be more intelligent and lovable. Vechur bulls even though small are very strong and were used to plough the fields in the past. This breed is highly resistant to diseases and require minimum food as mentioned earlier. One identification in addition to its small size, is its horns which are small and curved backwards.
- Extinction and efforts to conserve
Vechur cow is a very rare cow, so rare that is has been listed under the critically maintained breeds and is mostly preserved in the veterinary colleges. Main reasons for its extinction were when during, in the name of globalization and development a lot of mutation was being carried out in the agricultural and animal husbandry department the native cows were aggressively crossbred with exotic breeds for higher yields of milk and longer durations of lactation periods. Soon after this period of mutational era ended it was believed that Vechur cows have gone extinct from the face of earth, which lead Sosamma Iype, a professor in animal husbandry and conservation, along with her students to undertake an expedition to discover and conserve the last remaining Vechur breed in 1989. Now after 3 decades we have around 200 of Vechur cow breeds out of which, half are being taken care in colleges and hospitals.
Once a Scottish company tried to patent Vechur cow’s genetic code, code of a cow that is only found in India and evolved here naturally. The day was saved by Vandana Shiva after a battle to save our country’s honour and natural diversity.
- Now why is this cow so special?
That is because this cow’s milk is Ayurveda and Science approved, i.e., its milk is of superior quality A2 type milk, let me simplify, it has anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-tumours, anti-inflammatory and immunodefence and all of these much more enhanced that the common cow’s milk, we drink. Along with therapeutic functions like wound-healing, cell-proliferation, cell signaling and management of cardio-vascular diseases. Vechur cow’s milk prevents many diseases like diabetes, heart diseases, atherosclerosis, autism and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). On top of all of that this milk is so much easier to digest due to its smaller globules.
Many organizations and people are putting their efforts to preserve Vechur cow breed and we should also do what so ever we can in order to conserve our Nation’s natural diversity and this amazing cow breed.
-by Saranya Chauhan
November 20, 2021