UP govt opts for bovine sex selection to contain bull population

Under criticism over the stray animal menace, the Yogi Adityanath government plans to extend to all 75 districts the gender-sorted semen pilot project that the Akhilesh Yadav government launched in three districts in 2016end to contain the bull population and increase the number of cows by ensuring that only females calves are born.

Principal secretary, animal husbandry, Sudhir M Bobde said, “We have decided to introduce sex- sorted semen technology based project in all the districts of Uttar Pradesh to contain the growing bull population.

This will turn out to be a lasting and long-term solution to the menace caused by the male bovine.” The scheme, he said, also aimed at producing cows of indigenous breed.

The gender of the offspring is pre-selected under the sex-sorted semen technology by sorting or separating the X-sperms from the Y-sperms. It aims at checking the birth of male calves by ensuring that cows are inseminated artificially by semen containing only X-chromosome-bearing sperms.

The Yogi Adityanath government also plans to set up a sex-sorted semen production centre in Hapur in collaboration with a US-based company all to ensure that cows delivered only female calves.

With the agricultural activities having become mechanised, the male calves have little utility for farmers who often unleash them as a liability and these bulls then run amok on roads and streets in cities and in farms in villages.

The Samajwadi Party (SP) government launched the sex- sorted technology based scheme as a pilot in three districts of Etawah, Lakhimpur and Barabanki. The pilot project has been found to be successful, officials said.

“As many as 566 of the total 631 calves that cows delivered after they were administered sex sorted semen in the three districts happened to be female,” director, animal disease, SK Srivastava said, adding, “The success rate is more than 90%.”

In Lakhimpur, 293 of the 325 calves born were female, in Etawah 78 of 83 were female and in Barabanki 195 of 223 happened to be female calves only, the official said.

The animal husbandry department imports the sex sorted semen from the US through Genus ABS India, an American firm, to run its pilot projects in the three districts. Although each dose of sex-sorted semen costs it Rs 1300, farmers are not charged any money.

“We are going to begin the project in all the districts after the Cabinet’s nod. We will collect semen from quality indigenous bulls within the state so that more and more cows of the indigenous breed are born.

Farmers will be charged Rs 300 per artificial insemination in Bundelkhand, where the problem of stray animals, is more acute and Rs 100 per dose in the rest of the state,” said Dr KK Chauhan, a veterinary scientist.

The government, according to Chauhan, will set up a sex-sorted semen production centre at Babugarh in Hapur district with the same US company to make its technology available to prepare 27,500 doses every month. “More such centres may be opened in time to come, depending on the requirement,” he added.

The scheme, he said, might prove to be a game changer, ridding the state of bulls in a decade or so, though around 10% of the male progeny would always continue to be born, maintaining a balance to some extent.

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