At present, 2146 Veterinary Institutions are providing animal health care facilities to 50.46 lakh cattle heads in Himachal. According to 2003 census, total livestock population of the State include 21.96 lakh cattle, 7.73 lakh buffaloes, 9.06 lakh sheep, 11.15 lakh goats and 0.17 lakh horses and poultry population of the State is 7.64 lakh.
Under Animal Health and Disease Control, 7 Polyclinics, 303 Veterinary Hospitals, 25 Central Veterinary Dispensaries/ Centres are in the State in addition to 14 mobile dispensaries to provide immediate veterinary aid.
For improving the quality of sheep and wool, Government Sheep Breeding Farms at Jeori (Shimla), Sarol (Chamba), Nagwain (Mandi), Tal (Hamirpur), Karchham (Kinnaur) are supplying improved sheep to the breeders of the State. The flock strength of these farms was 1,374 during the year 2006-07. About 75 rams were distributed to the farmers during last year. In view of the increasing demand for pure hoggets and the established popularity of the Soviet Marino and American Rambuillet in the Pradesh, the State has switched over to pure breeding at the existing Government farms. Ten Sheep and Wool Extension Centres are also functioning. Angora rabbit farms for distribution of rabbits to the breeders are functioning at Kandwari (Kangra) and Nagwain (Mandi). During 2006-07, 143 rabbits were reared in the farms and 35 rabbits were distributed to the traders.
Dairy production is an integral part of the Animal Husbandry and forms a part of the earning of small farm holder in Himachal Pradesh. The recent trend towards the development of a market oriented economy emphasized the importance of milk production, especially in areas falling in the vicinity of urban consumption centres. This has motivated farmers to replace local non-descript breeds of cows with crossbred cows. Upgradation of indigenous cattle is being carried out by cross breeding with Jersey and Holsten. In buffalo cross breeding with improved milch breeds is being popularized. Artificial insemination with the latest technology of Deep Frozen Semen is being pracitised. Artificial insemination facilities were made available through 1,700 institutions and 4.55 lakh cows and 0.85 lakh Buffalos were inseminated during the year 2006-07.
Special Integrated Development Projects have been launched in the State for improving the breed of the milch cattle and to improve the health management and marketing infrastructure. During last four year, 136 new Veterinary Dispensaries were opened in the State. 124 Veterinary Officers and 783 Veterinary Pharmacists were appointed on contract basis during the period. Centrally sponsored scheme, â€œAssistance to States for Control of Animal Diseasesâ€ has been started to provide free vaccination against contagious diseases like FMD, BQ, Enterotoxaemia, PPR Ranikhet Disease, Maretâ€™s disease and Rabies. Rs. 12.75 crore has been spent under National Project on Buffalo Breeding to provide Artificial Insemination (AI) facilities to all breedable Cattle and Buffalo population. Treatment facilities to the ailing animals in the institutions as well as at the door steps of the farmers are being provided. During last four years 1725 static AI Centres were converted into mobile AI Centres. State of the art Sperm Station with ISO certification has been set up at Palampur to provide best semen straws for artificial insemination. During the period, 1100 in service Veterinary Pharmacists were provided training in artificial insemination techniques beside, organizing 847 infertility camps, in which 13000 farmers participated.
The State Government has started Livestock Insurance Scheme in March, 2006 in Mandi and Kangra districts with an objective to save live stock owners from loss in the event of death of high yielding cattle and buffalo.
Integrated Wool Improvement Programme of Rs. 5 crore is being implemented in Chamba, Kangra and Kullu districts of the State for the benefit of Sheep Breeders. 2nd phase of this centrally sponsored scheme has been sanctioned for Shimla and Kinnaur districts with an outlay of Rs. 56.95 lakh. Procurement price of sheep and angora wool has been increased by 20 percent.
The department is running 2 poultry schemes in the State out of which one is cost based while the other is subsided. Under these schemes about 2.50 lakh coloured strain chicks distributed to 75,000 beneficiaries during the year 2006-07.
Under the Backyard Poultry Project, Rs. 173 lakh were being spent on renovation of Poultry Farms. For strengthening hatcheries at Sundernagar and Nahan Rs. 120 lakh has been spent. On strengthening the existing Horse Breeding farm at Lari in Lahaul and Spiti district for Conservation fo Spiti Pony and Yak, Rs. 109 lakh were being spent.
The production of Major livestock products during the year 2005-06 was 8. 69 lakh tonnes of milk, 1,603 tonnes of wool, 75.03 million eggs and 2,634 tonnes of meat.
The Department has also formed the Livestock Development Board with the main objective of providing high quality artificial insemination services for 100 percent of the cows and buffaloes. During 2007-08, 4.7 lakh cows and 85,000 buffaloes will be cross breed with improved genetic stock, to increase the milk yields. To check the problem of stray cattle, 3 Gosadans with a capacity of 1000 each at Khajjian and Banuri in district Kangra and Lehribreta in district Bilaspur will be set up during current financial years.
A Himachal PR department feature