Harvesting animals for dairy and animal-based products in India is a major source of livelihood for 150 million dairy farmers. The products are a source of nutrition and food security for a significant chunk of the population. Dairy Sector in India.The dairy sector accounts for 4.2 per cent of the national gross domestic product. India has transitioned from a milk-deficient country to the largest producer of milk globally.
The Anand model (Amul), which has been replicated across the country, boosted milk production and made dairy the second-largest employment sector after agriculture in India.
The ecological footprint of dairy
- The dairy industry has again galvanised the debate around harmful consequences of animal harvesting on climate, with the charge being led by non-profit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
- Multinational companies have also been accused of promoting water-intensive dairy industry in Punjab and the neighbouring states, which is fast depleting groundwater. Traditionally, these were less water-intensive wheat-growing states.
- Agriculture contributes approximately 16 per cent of India’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which is released by cattle during dairy farming. Methane from animal waste contribute to 75% of total greenhouse emissions from the dairy sector.
- The alarming loss of biodiversity is attributed to water- and energy-intensive crops needed to feed the cattle. India is increasingly becoming water-stressed due to exploding human and cattle population growth.
- India inefficiently uses two-three times more water to grow its major food crops compared to its peers. The situation will likely worsen in the coming years.
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