What is Animal Rearing | Significance of Animal Rearing


Animal Rearing, What is Animal Rearing, Significance of Animal Rearing, Challenges Faced by Animal Husbandry Sector, Government Initiatives


What is Animal Rearing

Livestock evolved over the past 12000 years ago through selection by human communities and adaptation to new environments. It is believed that goat and sheep were first animal species to be domesticated. The Cow was the last major animal domesticated by the human beings, about 8000 years ago in Turkey or Macedonia. In the Indian Subcontinent, the people of Indus Valley domesticated Indian Jungle Fowl primarily of its egg production, which later became the World’s Chicken,


Today, humans depend upon animal to fullfill many of its needs such as food (milk, meat and egg), clothing (hide or wool), labour (pulling, carrying load) and security. The development of desirable qualities in all such animal species, through creating better breeds, has been an important human achievement. For this, humans have consistently tried to improve the breeds of domesticated animals to make them more useful for them.



Animal husbandry refers to livestock raising and selective breeding. It is the branch of agricultural sciences that deals with the study of various breeds of domesticated animals and their management for obtaining better products and services. When the knowledge of animal husbandry is incorporated with standard business practices, it is called Livestock Management.


Significance of Animal Rearing

The livestock plays an important role in the economy of farmers. The farmers in India maintain mixed farming system i.e. a combination of crop and livestock where the output of one enterprise becomes the input of another enterprise thereby realize the resource efficiency. The livestock serve the farmers in different ways.

1. Income

Livestock is a source of subsidiary income for many families in India especially the resource poor who maintain few heads of animals. Cows and buffaloes if in milk will provide regular income to the farmers through sale of milk. Animals like sheep and goat serve as sources of income during emergencies to meet exigencies like marriages, treatment of sick persons, children education, repair of houses etc. The animals also serve as moving banks and assets which provide economic security to the owners.

2. Employment

A large number of people in India being less literate and unskilled depend upon agriculture for their livelihoods. But agriculture being seasonal in nature could provide employment for a maximum of 180 days in a year. The landless and less land people depend upon livestock for utilizing their labour during lean agricultural season 

3. Food

The livestock products such as milk, meat and eggs are an important source of Student Notes: animal protein to the members of the livestock owners.

4. Social security

The animals offer social security to the owners in terms of their status in the society. The families especially the landless which own animals are better placed than those who do not. Gifting of animals during marriages is a very common phenomenon in different parts of the country. Animals are used for various socio religious functions. Bulls and Cows are worshipped during various religious functions.

5. Draft

The bullocks are the back bone of Indian agriculture. The farmers especially the marginal and small depend upon bullocks for ploughing, carting and transport of both inputs and outputs.

6. Animal Waste

In rural areas dung is used for several purposes which include fuel (dung cakes), fertilizer (farm yard manure), and plastering material.

Challenges faced by Animal Husbandry Sector

1. Lower Farm Productivity

The average annual milk yield of Indian cattle is 1172 kg which is only about 50 per cent of the global average. The frequent outbreaks of diseases like Foot and Mouth Diseases, Black Quarter infection; Influenza, etc. continue to affect Livestock health and lowers productivity.

2. Lack of Access to credit

The sector received only about 12 per cent of the total public expenditure on agriculture and allied sectors, which is disproportionately lesser than its contribution to agricultural GDP. Financial institutions have also neglected the sector. The share of livestock in the total agricultural credit has hardly ever exceeded 4% of the total credit.

3. Lack of access to organized markets

Most of the farmers lack access to formal market for their produce. They sell their produce to the local marker which result in meager profits. Also the Informal market intermediaries exploit the producers.

4. Loss of pastures

Shrinking and degrading pastures coupled with limitations of fodder Student Notes: have been the major constraints for the animal husbandry sector to reach its full potential. Absence of Livestock extension services: . The extension format, methodology and set-up established for agriculture has failed to cater to the needs of the livestock sector. Consequently, only 5.1% of the farm households were able to access any information on animal husbandry against 40.4% for crop farming. The only centrally sponsored scheme on “Livestock extension and delivery services” with a budgetary outlay of Rs. 15.00 crore remained non-operational.

5. Insufficient veterinary services and diseases control

The sector suffers from insufficient infrastructure and human resources for timely disease diagnosis, reporting, epidemiology, surveillance and forecasting. Quality control for veterinary drugs and vaccines is almost non-existent.

6. Poor quality Control

Testing of milk and other livestock produce for safety and quality parameters at the collection centers is almost non-existent. Lack of proper anaerobic waste treatment and dairy by-product utilization are the other concerns. Due to quality concerns of milk, value addition and export potential has not been fully exploited. There is demand for Indian ethnic meat products in the international market. However, lack of international processing standards is the hindrance.

7. Non preference for indigenous species

India has huge diversity of animals, which are adaptable to harsh climate, limited nutrition, and resistance to diseases and stress. Populations of most of these breeds have alarmingly gone down due to comparative preferences for highly productive exotic breeds. 

Government Initiatives

To overcome the aforementioned challenges, the government has come up with various schemes and plans. Some of them are discussed below:

1. National Animal Disease Control Programme for FMD and Brucellosis

Salient Features of the Programme

(i) The aim of the NADCP is to control Foot and Mouth Diseases (FMD) by 2025 with vaccination and its eventual eradication by 2030. This will result in increased domestic production and ultimately in increased exports of milk and livestock products.

(ii) Intensive Brucellosis Control programme in animals is envisaged for controlling Brucellosis which will result in effective management of the disease, in both animals and in humans.

(iii) It is a Central Sector Scheme where 100% of funds shall be provided by the Central Government to the States / UTs.

(iv) The mission mode approach for eradication of these diseases is the biggest step any country of the world has ever taken either for human or animal vaccination programme to control any disease.

(v) This programme combined with providing unique PashuAadhar to 535 million animals (Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, and pig).

2. Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme

Salient Features of the Programme

(i) The programme aims to inseminate 20,000 bovine per district for 600 districts in the country.

(ii) The NAIP is a campaign mode genetic up-gradation program covering all breeds of bovines to enhance milk production using low-cost breeding technology for improving the genetic merit of milch animals with high-quality seed. 

(iii) Under this, every cow and buffalo under AI will be tagged and can be tracked through the Information Network on Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) Database. • It is one of the largest such programmes for breed improvement with 100% central assistance. 

3. National Livestock Mission

Salient Features of the Mission

(i) The Mission is designed to cover all the activities required to ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders.

(ii) It is formulated with the objective of sustainable development of livestock sector, focusing on improving availability of quality feed and fodder.

(iii) NLM has four sub-missions as follows:

(a) The Sub-Mission on Fodder and Feed Development: It will address the problems of scarcity of animal feed resources, in order to give a push to the livestock sector making it a competitive enterprise for India, and also to harness its export potential.

(b) Sub-Mission on Livestock Development: Under the sub-mission, there are provisions for productivity enhancement, entrepreneurship development and employment generation, strengthening of infrastructure of state farms with respect to modernization, automation and biosecurity, conservation of threatened breeds, minor livestock development, rural slaughter houses, fallen animals and livestock insurance.

(c) Sub-Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region: There has been persistent demand from the North Eastern States seeking support for all round development of piggery in the region. For the first time, under NLM a Sub-Mission on Pig Development in North-Eastern Region is provided wherein Government of India would support the State Piggery Farms, and importation of germplasm.

(d) Sub-Mission on Skill Development, Technology Transfer and Extension: The emergence of new technologies and practices require linkages between stakeholders and this sub-mission will enable a wider outreach to the farmers. All the States, including NER States may avail the benefits of the multiple components and the flexibility of choosing them under NLM for a sustainable livestock development.  

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