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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Yaks !! ..... ........... Yows ?? - avarice of mankind

Tucked away in the Himalayan mountains is a small and beautiful State called – Sikkim – a landlocked place.  The state borders Nepal; China's Tibet Autonomous Region; Bhutan and West Bengal. It has an area of 7,096 sq. km.  Its capital is Gangtok.  The principal languages are : Lepcha, Bhutia and Nepali. Sikkim's hot springs are renowned for their medicinal and therapeutic values.  It is such a neat and organic place that soothes one – and during our visit to Nathu La – we saw many of these Yaks nearer the lake and more !!


Used to go inside this pavilion in the Fair at Island Grounds every year - Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, fibre, milk, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and the raising of livestock. Husbandry has a long history, starting with the Neolithic revolution when animals were first domesticated, antedating farming of the first crops.  Humans have raised farm animals and used them for long. Mankind has also tampered with animal genetics for its benefit though sometimes it meant harm to animals ! but who cares for those animals that are bred to be eaten !! - yield more meat, milk, and wool. A wide range of other species such as horse, water buffalo, llama, rabbit and guinea pig are used as livestock in some parts of the world. Fish, prawn culture also adds to this.  The cruelty of mankind (when were they kind !!) has killed billions of animals every year (that includes those living in sea too) but blames others for   climate change, ocean acidification, and biodiversity loss, ultimately leading to extinction of some species.

After the landmark dance of Prabhu Deva in ‘oorvasi, oorvasi – take it easy policy’ – Prabhu Deva became a hero too.  Kadhahan  released in 1994   directed by S. Shankar and produced by KT Kunjumon had Prabhu Deva and Nagma alongside  Raghuvaran, Girish Karnad and Vadivelu The song Mukkala Mukkabla from the movie, became a sensation, and owing to the rage that the song created, Kadhalan was dubbed in Hindi as Humse Hai Muqabala and in Telugu as Premikudu.  There was another nice song that won National award for the singer Unni Krishnan – ‘ennavale adi ennavale’ – in that song Prabhu Deva would dance in icy Himalayas with Yak !!  

The yak (Bos grunniens and Bos mutus) is a long-haired bovid found throughout the Himalayan region of south Central Asia, the Tibetan Plateau and as far north as Mongolia and Russia. Most yaks are domesticated, Bos grunniens. There is also a small, vulnerable population of wild yaks, Bos mutus.

Here is something from an old news article of Mar 2014 from Daily Mail on Himalayan YAK herd flourishing in  Cheshire farm after owners breed the imported beasts with Holstein cows to make hybrid YOWS – again nothing good for the animals but another human attempt to kill them for food !!

That year, Sandhole farm in Congleton, Cheshire  welcomed an unlikely guest, a long-haired creature from almost 5,000 miles away called the Himalayan yak. The mammoth-like beast, which is normally found in the chilly climates of Tibet, Russia and Mongolia, weighs half a tonne. The width between the tip of the left horn and the tip of the right horn is 4ft. Unlike traditional cows, the yak does not make a 'mooing' sound and instead makes a grunting noise similar to that of a pig. Around 2013, Helen and Matthew Worth became the first people to breed the yak in the UK.  They owned a 200 acre farm in Congleton, Cheshire. Vet Mrs Worth completed a diploma in Bovine reproduction at The University of Liverpool after her first veterinary degree. After researching yaks for 18 months, the couple imported the bull and three female yaks from Germany and Holland and produced two pure-bred calves, by impregnating traditional holstein cows and hope to produce another bull.

Their yaks are covered in a mass of thick, wiry hair to keep them warm in their native climates and have enormous horns to help shovel thick snow- and a yak could soon be coming to a village in England  because the couple has since sold the bull's semen to some six farmers.  They were also planning to visit  local gastropubs and farmers market to promote the meat- said to be incredibly lean and low in cholesterol and saturated fat !!

Yak has long been eaten by some people.  Yak milk and butter is also used as an alternative to traditional milk and butter. The hair is used to make blankets and clothes and is even used in the UK for wigs worn in theatrical performances. The meat is already popular in America, with yak burgers, yak stew and yak roast on restaurant menus. The yaks eat the same food as traditional cows and have similar temperaments. But their fur is much longer and they have horns measuring 4ft from the extremity of the left horn to the end of the right.

Further it is stated that a yak fetus develops at a quicker speed than a tradition cow, bringing the gestation period down from nine months to eight. This means the process of impregnating the cow again is greatly sped up, meaning they can produce more milk. The farm was practicing  block calving, where they get all their cows pregnant at the same time.  This is normally done in the spring time because there is a lot of green grass available for them to feed on, so it is economical for farmers and nutritional for the cows. Cows have a gestational period of nine months and it would be ideal for a cow to have a calf once a year but that gives them just three months to recover; Yaks  have a gestational period of just eight months. Pure-bred yaks only produce enough milk for their calves however, so they started crossing them with cows. This resulted in a hybrid that produced enough for the family.

Yows are not Cows but descriptive of mankind’s unfettered avarice for riches and cruelty to everything else in the World.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Sept. 2021.

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