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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

rabid bovines and animals encountered on Chennai city streets !

SYMA has been committed to the cause of Social service – in Triplicane, we have a host of issues – when we arranged for ‘face-to-face’ with authorities, the civic problems discussed included:  stagnating water, uncleared garbage, woes due to cement road dug too often and not relaid, street cleaning, creation of litter free zones, health improvement, stray dogs, cat menace, regulating the vegetable market at Kangaikondan, removal of liquor shop, beggars in front of temple, hurdles at the time of Purappadu of Sri Parthasarathi swami, trimming the trees on the road, increased vigil by Police controlling anti-social elements, making  One ways of Streets in school zone to regulate traffic, cleaning the road leading to Triplicane Railway station, naming bus stop after our area, allowing children to play cricket in Marina beach and more – the one represented most – was the ‘stray cattle menace’ – the bovine presence in market and in other places and the dangers caused by such freely roaming cattle……

A recent report in TOI confirmed that Triplicane is not alone ….. titled ‘Rabid bovines go berserk, scare people out of their wits’ – it highlighted the woes at Mylapore.   In reportedly a 3rd incident, the  buffalo swung around and hit an iron gate, the impact shattering its horns. Foaming at the mouth, the belligerent animal snorted loudly and charged at anything that dared pass its way. Residents of Mylapore panicked as the rabid beast went on the rampage, leaving chaos in its wake. Someone had the presence of mind to call animal welfare organisation Blue Cross of India, whose volunteers cornered the animal and took it away. The incident on Monday was the third time a rabid bovine had run riot on city's streets.

“The buffalo had gone berserk and was butting anyone it saw near the Sai Baba tem ple in Mylapore. Two weeks ago, there was a similar incident in R A Puram where an aggressive bull injured 11 people of whom one is admitted to hospital in a critical condition,“ said sub-inspector Vel Murugan, who made the call to Blue Cross and requested help. Rabid dogs or rats bite sleeping cattle at night.  As the virus spreads through the central nervous system and attacks the brain, the animals show signs of aggression and begin to attack without provocation,“ said Dr R Siva, chief veterinarian at Blue Cross. Animal activists say that many cattle owners use syringes procured from medical waste to inject the animals with oxytocin to enhance milk flow. This exposes them to rabies. “The city corporation prohibits stray cattle on the road but despite warnings the owners let them walk around,“ said  the General manager, Blue Cross. Another reason for increased incidence of rabies among cattle is the garbage on the roads, which attracts rabid dogs and rats.

In Triplicane, we have not yet faced rabid animals – but in small lanes and bylanes – the cows and buffalos challenge people and their formidable presence is feared – many have been hurt – the road looks messy – more than that is the mortal fear imposed by the animal chasing people carrying bags checking on green leafs, vegetables and other eatables.  In the area nearer Gangaikondan Mandapam, nearer vegetable market – at any point of time, one can see a herd of cattle – bringing the flow of traffic on busy roads to a standstill – there have been vehicular accidents as also injuries caused by the charging animals …. Children, old as also young continue to tremble with fear when passing by.  Sad to look at the animals eating food from garbage dumps and leftovers. They are left uncared for – injected and then milked.  The other day a bull on rampage nearer NKT Girls High school made everybody run helter-skelter.  

Moving away from this – wondering what one could encounter on road – there are many horses – nearer Sunkuwar junction on the banks of Buckingham canal – but they are tied and are the ones used for rides in beach……  the other day on RK Salai nearer Thannithurai market Anjaneyar, the author saw a big male goat happily walking on the middle of the road …… the domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus)  is one domesticated hundreds of years ago. 

They are raised for meat and sometime milk too.  cats, dogs, horses, rats, monkeys, cows, buffalos, goats – have all been seen on road ….. the surprise package is not yet over..

Equus africanus asinus, a domesticated member of the horse family, Equidae – is also found in the city…. In villages, it could be a common sight – nearer Vivekananda College in Sivasami Salai, one can find a few donkeys, an animal used extensively by launderers. A male donkey or ass is called a jack, a female a jenny or jennet.  As beasts of burden and companions, asses have worked together with humans for millennia.

There is common belief that donkey’s milk boosts immunity in newborns; though Doctors disagree its curative property. Doctors say donkey milk is not harmful to babies, but lack of hygiene could pose the risk of infections.  Yet people do line up to buy little quantity of donkey milk and give it to children, especially new-borns. The sale of donkey’s milk is now limited to a few pockets in the city such as Perambur, Royapuram and Mylapore – by some accounts, a few millilitres costs Rs.400 + - the measurement is in ‘paladai’ – a small feeding device. Read that at some point, an animal activist complained and the donkeys were taken away – the owner who seemingly is not treating them badly, followed up with authorities and got them back to their own turf.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th June 2014.

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