Mangaluru, April 17, 2020: Six years ago, entrepreneur Prakash Shetty made it his life’s mission to save indigenous breeds of cattle, by setting up a private cattle shelter.
Initially, Shetty began buying cattle that were sold to slaughterhouses.
The owners, who could not afford to look after the cows, left them at Shetty’s Kapila farm located in Kenjar on the city’s outskirts.
However, the corona crisis and lockdown have taken a heavy toll, forcing Shetty to embark on a distress sale with a heavy heart.
“Kapila park had 200 cattle of 13 different breeds including Malenadu Gidda, Kasargod Gidda, Gir, among others,” said Prakash Shetty. In the past few days, he has sold 15 cattle including two buffaloes.
Shetty told DH that on an average, he incurred an expenditure of Rs 2 lakh per month, to run the private cattle shelter.
Shetty says expenses incurred in maintaining Kapila park were met from the profits earned from his interlock brick factory. After the lockdown, my industry is neck-deep in losses and it has become a herculean task to source fodder for my cattle.
“Instead of seeing them die before my eyes, it is better that I sell them off,” he says.
At the sprawling ground in Malemar, eight ‘Basavas’ (bulls) resting under the shade of a huge tree appear dull and seem to lack in nutrition.
“Since the lockdown, it has been difficult to get fodder for our bulls,” said Kondana who hails from Gidlur taluk in Andhra Pradesh.
Kondana, for the past 30 years, has been visiting Mangaluru with his Basava. From Navarathri up to Shivarathri, the men eke out a living by visiting houses with their decked Basavas and playing acoustic instruments, mainly the Shehnai. But, since the lockdown, the Basavas and their owners have faced untold miseries.
The fodder donated by Vishwa Hindu Parishad has been exhausted. We also have nothing to eat, said Kondana.
District Veterinary department deputy director Dr Jayaraj, when contacted, said they had written to the deputy commissioner seeking fodder for such cattle.