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    Research of Animal Genetics Department of Anand Veterinary College

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    Halari and Kutchi two species of donkey recognized by the Central Government

    The Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding (Animal Husbandry), Veterinary College, Anand Krishi University, studies the unidentified breeds of domestic animals and works to identify such breeds at the national level.

    According to Dr. D.N. Raak, Anand Veterinary College veterinarian and specialist, in the last six-seven years, the department has nationally recognized the Kutchi-Sindhi of horses, Panchali of sheep, Kahmi of goats, Dagri of cows and Kharai breeds of camels.

    The last two donkey breeds in this list are Halari and Kutchi donkeys. The Sahajivan Trust, a participating organization in Kutch has assisted in the identification and registration of these breeds.

    After studying these breeds, the report was sent to the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) at Karnal (Haryana) through the Animal Husbandry Department of the state government, which has identified seven new breeds in the state.

    Normally Gujarat has become the second largest state in the country after Rajasthan with 24 breeds of cattle. Recently recognized Halari donkey that stands apart from other donkeys.

    It is a full white tall gigantic and tough breed. Prior to the registration of this breed, there was only one breed recognized in the country and with the addition of Halari and Kutchi donkey breeds, it has become the second and third breed in the country.

    Donkeys are used to transport bricks and clay, as well as to lift goods in mountainous areas, and people of many castes involved in this business. But Halari donkeys are generally reared by the Rabari shepherds in Halar region in Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Morbi and Than region. Since this caste people migrate with their sheep and goats, they follow the donkey to move their goods and households from one place to another.  But the donkey breed is not only seen as a carrier but also as a source of health-enhancing medicine. In old days in the village, if a child had a bad cough, he would be given donkey’s milk.

    It is said that Queen Cleopatra of Egypt used to bath in the milk of a female donkey. It is believed that the medicinal value in the milk works as enhancing the beauty and help people to look young. Therefore, according to a report, the price of female donkey’s milk abroad is around Rs. 7000 / – per litre.

    Even in India, some cosmetics manufacturers have tried to get milk from donkey breeders who are aware of the fact and are interested.

    Besides, the state government has also started a breeding center for Halari donkeys at Chanasma and 34 donkeys have been reared. The National Horse Research Center at Hisar has also started breeding Halari donkeys. Such institutes can work for medicinal testing of donkey’s milk. Until now, there was no special knowledge about camel milk.

    But now with the initiative of a big organization like Amul and the state government to start camel milk collection and processing and production of products, just as camel milk chocolate has been sold at a higher price, so it will not be a surprise to get soap, shampoo and other cosmetics from donkey’s milk in the near future.

    Also, people are more likely to buy these cosmetics at a higher price if they are organic. If such a scheme succeeds, only a handful of surviving donkey breeders (about 1100) will be able to get a big and new source of income and improve their standard of living.

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