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Livestock


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Livestock animals, kept specially on a farm, for economic benefits. In Bangladesh these are generally cattle, buffalo, goat and sheep. Livestock constitute an important part of the wealth of a country, since in addition to draft power and leather, it provides manure, meat and milk to the vast majority of the people.

Livestock resources necessarily encompass animal health care and welfare, quality production factors, and effective rearing to keep pace with expansion of entrepreneurship related to concerned industries. It plays an important role in the agricultural production sphere. Statistics show that about 2.9% of national GDP is covered by the livestock sector, and its annual rate of growth is 5.5%. About 20% of the population of Bangladesh earn their livelihood through work associated with raising cattle and poultry. Draught power for tilling the land, the use of cowdung as manure and fuel, and animal power for transportation make up a significant portion of the GDP. In addition, hides and skins, bones, offals, feathers, etc, help in earning foreign exchange. Livestock resources also play an important role in the sustenance of landless people.

Livestock population in Bangladesh is currently estimated to comprise 25.7 million cattle, 0.83 million buffaloes, 14.8 million goats, 1.9 million sheep, 118.7 million chicken and 34.1 million ducks. The density of livestock population per acre of cultivable land is 7.37. This density has been increasing every year in the country. The country has a relative density of livestock population well above the averages for many other countries of the world. In spite of a high density of livestock population, the country suffers from an acute shortage of livestock products like milk, meat and eggs. The shortage accounts for 85.9%, 88.1% and 70.7% for milk, meat and eggs, respectively. The annual growth rates of these products have significantly increased in recent years. However, if we desire to meet the increasing demand from domestic production, we will require an increase in production at the rate of 6 to 9 percent per year up to 2021. For that reason, a higher investment in the livestock sub-sector will be required. It is expected that an increase in investment in livestock research and extension by one Taka will give a return of Taka 1.42 to 3.15 per year depending on the type of livestock species and product.

In Bangladesh, 83.9 percent of total households own livestock (animals or poultry or both). About 45.9 percent households possess bovine stack, and 76.3 percent possess poultry. On average, each household owns 1.52 bovine animals, 0.9 goat and sheep and 6.8 chicken and ducks.

It may be mentioned that the degree of inequality is very low in the distribution of livestock over the households. The degree of inequality as measured by Gini co-efficient was found to be 0.30 for livestock against 0.63 for land from a survey of 62 villages in 1992. In the following few years the inequality of landholdings has increased. The data generated by the 1996 Census of Agriculture showed that the inequality of land distribution was 0.66, against 0.37 for cattle and 0.17 for chicken. It suggests that further investment in livestock will have a positive impact on income distribution.

Development of livestock resources depends on factors such as veterinary health services, veterinary support services, delivery systems of veterinary biological products, quality production inputs, veterinary extension services, and cooperation between private and public sectors dealing with various health problems of livestock, viz diagnosis of diseases, their treatment, prevention and control. Other aspects vital to the development of livestock resources include improvement of livestock through genetic upgradation, artificial insemination, transfer of technology, etc. The responsibility for development of livestock resources in Bangladesh is vested in the government, non-government organisations (NGOs), and the private sector. The financial assistance of international agencies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank may contribute to livestock development programmes.

The indigenous breed of cattle is common in Bangladesh. In pre-independent India, Lord Linlithgow brought some Hariana cattle for the improvement of the indigenous cattle. After the partition of India in 1947 several breeds of cattle such as Sindhi, Shahiwal, Tharparkar, etc were brought to this region. In 1958 the artificial insemination programme started to improve local breeds. From 1969 to 1982, German specialists worked in the Savar Dairy Farm to evolve suitable breeds for draught and milk purposes. In 1974 the Australian Government donated milch cows and breeding bulls of the Holstein-Friesian variety to Bangladesh. In addition, frozen semen of Bos taurus was imported from Germany, America, France, Australia, and Japan for use and improvement of local cattle. In joint collaboration with JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) embryo transplants were successfully conducted by the scientists of both countries. Despite these efforts to improve the cattle wealth of the country, the success was not very encouraging.

The breeds of livestock and poultry available in Bangladesh are as follows: Cattle: (i) local breed of cattle- non-descript indigenous type, Red Chittagong Goyal, Pabna Cow; (ii) Exotic: Hariana, Sindhi, Shahiwal, Jersey, and Holstien-Friesian; (iii) Hybrid: Bos indicus'Bos taurus. Buffalo: (i) River type, (ii) Swamp type, (iii) River'Swamp type. Goat: (i) Black Bengal, (ii) Jamuna Pari, (iii) Crossbred- Black Bengal'Jamuna Pari. Sheep: non-descript indigenous type. Poultry: (i) non-descript indigenous type - Asseel, Chittagong Fowl, and Naked Neck; (ii) Exotic: White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Fayomi, Australop, several commercial broiler and layer breeds; (iii) Crossbreed: Indigenous'Exotic. Duck: (i) Local: non-descript indigenous type, Sylhet Mete, Nageswari, Moscovy, Goose; (ii) Exotic: Khaki Cambell, Indian Runner, Jinding, Cherry Valley; (iii) Crossbreed: Indigenous'Exotic. Pig: non-descript indigenous type.

The Government has established farms for improvement of Black Bengal goats in the country. Improved variety of bucks (male goats) is distributed in villages amongst selected farmers. Improved variety of female goats is distributed to landless poor women for augmenting their income.Alongside the public sector there are entrepreneurs in the private sector who own and manage different farms on a commercial basis.

Local breeds of poultry are small in size and poor in egg production. The government has established many poultry and duck farms in many places of the country. In the mid-eighties Backyard Poultry Porgrammes were introduced with the financial assistance of UNICEF. Seven poultry units have been established with the assistance of the Netherlands Government. Two crossbred poultry farms, 'Rupali' (WLH Cock Faomi Hen) and 'Sonali' (RIR Cock Faomi Hen) have successfully evolved hybrids under Bangladesh village conditions.

Many commercial poultry breeds have successfully been established in recent years in Bangladesh and are being profitably utilised by different entrepreneurs. Because of the extension programmes undertaken by the government and poultry entrepreneurs, the number of poultry farms in the country are increasing steadily. During 1997-98 total duck farms and poultry farms were about 30,760 and 60,670 respectively. Apart from the farms in the public and private sectors, there are a few military farms, which cater partially to the needs of armed forces personnel.

In certain regions of the country horses play quite an important role in providing draft power for owners. However, the population of the equine species in the country cannot be ascertained with any certainty.

Livestock rearing

The Government of Bangladesh has given top priority to livestock development in recent years to meet the growing demand for milk, meat and egg production, and to create employment and generate income for the rural poor. To effectively organise the functional aspects of the activities of the government, technical personnel are educated and trained in various academic institutions like the bangladesh agricultural university and the Veterinary College. The bangladesh livestock research institute located at Savar, Dhaka, also conducts research activities for the development and improvement of the livestock sector. To encourage the development of livestock resources, the government provides subsidies to farmers who rear crossbred milch cows. The government also provides subsidies for vaccination and artificial insemination programmes.

About 40 percent of the total population in Bangladesh are living below the poverty line in severe hardship. Both growth oriented and target oriented programmes are required to be simultaneously promoted for eradication of their poverty. This task can be successfully accomplished through the development of livestock sub-sector in the country. This will require massive investment in special programmes for livestock development targeting the poor. However, it will be necessary to determine the impact of those programmes on poverty alleviation. For that reason, studies should be conducted regularly on this issue. [Sheikh Hefazuddin and Jahangir Alam]

See also department of livestock services.

Livestock products materials or substance produced by domestic animals such as cattle, buffalo, goat or sheep for farm or homestead use or for sell to get economic benefit. Most important products of livestock origin are milk, meat and eggs. These products are essentially required for human nutrition. The production of milk, meat and eggs was 2.28 million metric tons, 1.04 million metric tons and 5363 million, respectively, in 2006-07.

The cattle population has registered an annual compound growth rate of 1.38% between 1984 and 1996. Low birth rate, high mortality due to diseases, frequent natural hazards, slaughtering of young cattle during religious festivals, and unplanned slaughtering of cattle for meat throughout the year, are some of the main factors responsible for slow growth of the livestock population in Bangladesh.

Milking a cow

Cattle and buffaloes provide the necessary draft power for ploughing, road and farm transport, threshing, and crushing of sugarcane and oil seeds. There is an acute shortage of animal power for tillage operation. The average body weight and power output of cattle in Bangladesh is very low compared to many other countries of the world. Poor genetic quality of the species of livestock is the main cause of acute shortage of milk, meat and eggs. A local cow produces only about 221 kg milk per year against 4920 kg in Denmark and 5,377 kg in USA. The average meat production of indigenous cattle is about 50 kg against 224 kg in Denmark and 271 kg in USA. A native hen lays about 40-50 eggs per year as against 250-300 eggs laid by a hen of exotic breed. However, the aspect of meat production per goat in Bangladesh compares well with that of goats in other countries. The world average of meat production per goat is 11 kg while that in Bangladesh is about 10 kg.

The data presented in Table 1 indicate that current deficit in milk and meat is indeed very high. Nevertheless, recent expansion in the poultry sector has narrowed the gap between production and demand for eggs.

Table 1  The production, need, demand, deficit of milk, meat and eggs in Bangladesh has been estimated as follows:

Products Production (Million m ton) Need per capita   (gram) Demand (Million m ton)

Deficit (Million m ton)

Milk 2.28 250 12.82 10.54
Meat 1.04 120 6.16 5.78
Eggs 5369 104/year 14662 9253

Hides and skins are other non-edible valuable animal products. The production of hides and skins in Bangladesh is quite high. The domestic use of hides and skins for leather production is low in the country. About 81% of the total production is exported in the form of 'wet blue' leather and leather products. There are several hundred tanning and finishing industries in the country. Several thousand people are engaged full time in this industry. Notable leather-made commodities are shoes, suitcase, bags, tents, etc.

Cowdung is an important source of natural manure and fuel. About 80 million m tons of cowdung is produced annually. Cowdung is also used to produce biogas. Moreover the bones, horns, and hooves from ruminants have great economic value. Bangladesh earns' significant amount of foreign exchange by exporting crushed and uncrushed bones every year. [Md. Jahurul Karim and Jahangir Alam]

See also dairy product; milk product; milk vita.

Livestock health The health of an animal may be affected due to infection by bacteria, virus, mycoplasma, or a parasite. Imbalance in the metabolic system may also affect the livestock health. Moreover, an apparently healthy animal may not necessarily be in a state of good reproductive health. Poor reproductive performances are often associated with failure in conception, infertility, embryonic deaths and abortion, and other gynaecological disorders. A bacterial or viral disease normally kills an animal, whereas parasites are mainly associated with debility and loss of production, although there are ample examples of a parasite killing an animal. Major bacterial disease includes peste des petits ruminants (ppr), foot and mouth disease, and ephemeral fever. Parasitic diseases of major economic importance in livestock include fascioliasis, paramphistomiasis, schistosomiasis, hydatidosis, ascariasis, stephanofilariasis, haemonchosis, oesophagostomiasis and babesiosis. In addition, a number of arthropods, including flies, ticks and mites have economic importance mainly because of their role in the transmission of various disease producing agents, and because they may affect the general health of livestock resources.

The growth rate of population coupled with the growth rate of livestock products has a tremendous effect on the market. In Bangladesh, the growth rates for both are positive. Currently, there are interventions for increasing the growth rate of livestock products and reducing the growth rate of population. As a result, per capita supply of livestock products may be increased substantially in future giving a downward pressure on prices. At that time, some sort of interventions will be required in the form of price support. However, there is a deficit of livestock products in the country till now and there is hardly any possibility of fall of prices in near future. At the moment, the price levels are favourable to higher production. [Md. Jahurul Karim]

Livestock pests and parasites Pests and parasites of livestock include arthropods, helminths and protozoans, which exploit animals for their nutrition and multiplication. The tropical climate of Bangladesh and poor husbandry methods provide suitable ecological conditions for rapid multiplication and dissemination of a wide variety of pests and parasites. Investigation revealed the presence of more than 100 pests and parasites in the country.

The recorded important arthropods are ticks, mites, lice and some flies. Ticks, which infest ruminants are Boophilus microplus, Haemaphysalis bispinosa, Rhipicephalus sanguineus and Hyalomma anatolicum. Almost all the ruminants are infested throughout the year with a small load of these ticks. The load is occasionally very high (several hundreds) in young ruminants and alarmingly high in exotic or crossbred animals. All the ticks have a wider distribution but H. anatolicum is confined only to the northwestern dry regions (Rajshahi, Rangpur and Dinajpur districts) of the country.

A very high proportion of the ruminant population is infested with one or more of the following species of lice eg Haematopinus tuberculatus, H. eurysternus, Linognathus vituli, L. steropsis, Damalinia bovis and D. ovis; infestation of the lice is always high in winter. D. equi, common in horses and donkeys, is widely prevalent in Rajshahi, Tangail and Dhaka districts.

Myiasis of the scrotum, ear and leg is very common in cattle, sheep and goat during summer; the flies responsible are Callitroga americana and Chrysomyia bezziana. Incidence of nasal myiasis caused by Oestrus ovis is very high in goats (25 percent). Commonly occurring mites are Sarcoptes scabiei and Psoroptes ovis in sheep, goat and cattle; incidence is moderate, around 10 percent; more frequent in winter, and are prevalent all over the country.

Ascariasis caused by Neoascaris vitulorum which inhabits the small intestine is a serious problem in raising calves in Bangladesh; approximately seventy percent of the calves are infested with this helminth. Parascaris equorum has been recorded from the small intestine of horses; its incidence is not precisely known.

Infestation by Haemonchus contortus, which inhabits the fourth stomach in sheep and goat, is very high (85%), mostly in young animals. H. contortus and H. similis also occur in the range of 20-24 percent among young cattle; Mecistocirrus digitatus, the other important stomach worm in calves, have 44 percent incidence. These stomach worms are bloodsuckers and are prevalent all over Bangladesh.

Trichostrongylus axei, T. colubriformis, Cooperia pectinata, C. punctata, Oesophagostomum radiatum, O. columbianum, Bunostomum bovis, B. phlebotomum and Gaigeria pachyscelis are other common gastro-intestinal nematodes which infest ruminants in this country. Except G. pachyscelis, which has limited incidences in Chittagong and chittagong hill tracts (CHT), all are widely prevalent in the country.

Gastro-intestinal nematodes which are occasionally reported in horses and donkeys are Habronema megastoma, T. axei, Strongylus vulgaris and Oxyuris equi. Stephanofilaria assamensis, which causes humpsore, is a common occurrence in the country, affecting around 15 percent of the cattle, mostly the males. The disease is common during summer, which coincides the breeding season of the fly (Musca conducens). Onchocerca gibsoni and O. armillata are other filarial worms, which infect mostly adult cattle. These worms inhabit the subcutaneous tissue and aortic wall, respectively, and infect 10 percent and 60 percent cattle. Dictyocaulus viviparous, which inhabits the bronchi of cattle, has occasionally been reported from Mymensingh, Netrokona and Habiganj districts. Strongyloides papillosus is very common among calves; its infestation occurs all over the country.

Trematodes Fasciola gigantica, which causes fascioliasis, infests 60 percent of ruminants in Bangladesh. Although this species is widespread in the country, its incidence is comparatively high in Sylhet, Chittagong, CHT, Dhaka, Netrakona, Barisal, Khulna and Faridpur districts. The known intermediate host in Bangladesh is the snail Lymnaea auricularia. Intestinal schistosomiasis, caused by Schistosoma spindalis and S. indicum, which inhibit the mesenteric vein, is prevalent among cattle all over the country. Mostly, adult cattle above three years of age are severely affected with up to about 25 percent incidence in cattle and 12 percent in adult sheep and goats. Nasal schistosomiasis caused by S. nasalis, is widespread among cattle and buffaloes all over the country. Its occurrence is very high (60 percent) and is very common in the southern districts of Bangladesh. The known intermediate hosts of Schistosoma are fresh water snails, Indoplanorbis exustus, Lymnaea auricularia and Planorbis planorbis.

Paramphistomum cervi, Gastrothylax crumenifer and Cotylopheron cotylophorum which inhabit the rumen can be found in almost all ruminants and are moderately prevalent all over the country.

Hydatid cysts have been recorded in the liver of around 13 percent of cattle, goats, sheep and buffaloes. Among those in cattle, about 58 percent are sterile, whereas in sheep and goats almost all are fertile. This hydatid cyst, which is the larval stage of the cestoda Echinococcus granulosus, is very common in the small intestine of dog, cat and foxes all over the country. 'Gid' disease caused by metacestode Coenurus cerebralis is frequently reported from the brain of goats; approximately 2-3 percent goats in the country are infected. The adult tape worm Taenia multiceps is very common among dogs. Moniezia expansa and M. benedeni are common among lambs and calves, affecting approximately 20 percent of this age group; they are widely prevalent in the country. Anoplocephala magna and A. perfaliata are the commonly recorded cestodes, which inhabit the small intestine of horses and donkeys in the country.

Among the protozoan diseases, coccidiosis is very common among young cattle aged between one and two years; approximately 5-10 percent of the clinical cases suffer from coccidiosis caused by either Eimeria zurnii or E. bovis; coccidiosis among sheep and goats is usually caused by E. intricata, E. parva, E. faurei and E. ninakohlyakimovae, hardly with any serious ill effects. Blood protozoa Bebesia bigemina and B. bovis are sporadically reported from young cattle (incidence is around 0.03%). B. equi has also been recorded in horses and donkeys. Similarly, Theileria mutans and T. ovis exist in sub-clinical forms in cattle and goats, respectively. Theileria sp. has recently been reported in north-west Bangladesh, mostly among exotic cross-bred cattle. Trypanosoma evansi in horses, donkeys and cattle is occasionally reported from the north-eastern districts of the country. Occurrence of the above mentioned blood protozoan diseases are related to the prevalence of tick vectors and blood sucking flies such as Stomoxys calcitrans and Tabanus species. [Md. Hafezur Rahman]

Livestock education and training formal institutionals instructions in the field of diagnosis, prophylaxis and treatment of diseases of farm animals, such as cattle, sheep, goats, etc and husbandry practices for profitable rearing of these animals. Livestock training involves development of skills in all types of management practices of farm animals.

Veterinary medicine existed in the sub-continent in some form as early as about 2000 years ago ie during the reign of Ashoke. However, The renaissance of veterinary medicine actually occurred during the British rule in the last quarter of the nineteenth century when it received recognition as the science of treating sick and evolved into a profession in Bangladesh.

With the introduction of veterinary medicine, livestock education emerged in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) through the establishment of a Veterinary College in Comilla in 1947. This college started offering a Diploma in Veterinary Science, known as DVMS (Diploma in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery), and a three years course after 10 years of schooling (Matriculation). A five years BSc (AH) in Animal Husbandry degree course was introduced in this college when it was shifted, first to Dhaka in 1951, and then to Mymensingh in 1957, when it became an affiliated college of Dhaka University. The degree was subsequently renamed as BSc (Vet Sci & AH) when livestock education was transferred to the newly established East Pakistan Agricultural University, Mymensingh in 1961. This course was a composite one and was aimed at producing competent veterinarians who could perform effectively and involve themselves both in production and treatment activities.

In 1963, a policy was adopted to split the prevailing BSc degree (Vet Sci & AH) into two degrees, ie Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry, BSc AH (Hons). Both are four year courses. The comprehensive science course for HSC is accepted as the pre-professional curriculum, provided it includes Biology, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. The existing veterinary curriculum (DVM) at Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) is made up of a sequence of various discipline-oriented subjects such as Anatomy, Physiology, Microbiology, Parasitology, Pathology, Poultry Science, Dairy Science, Nutrition, Medicine, and Surgery.

For the DVM degree from BAU, one has to study 18 subjects which are broadly categorised as professional (animal health and production) subjects and basic/social science subjects; percentage-wise distribution of animal health, animal production, basic/social science subjects are 78.0, 12.50 and 9.50 respectively. Overall distributions of theory and practical marks stand around 60 and 40 percent respectively.

For BSc AH (Hons) degree one has to study 20 subjects, but the important ones are Animal Science, Dairy Science, Poultry Science, Animal Nutrition, Animal Production, Feeds and Feeding, Genetics and Breeding, Agronomy, Microbiology, Parasitology, Biochemistry, Statistics, Sociology, etc. Distribution of Animal Production, Animal Health and Basic/Social Science subjects are 64%, 13% and 24% respectively. Overall distribution of theory and practical classes is 70 and 30 percent respectively.

The present annual enrolment in the DVM and BSc AH (Hons) courses in Bangladesh Agricultural University is around 80 and 70 respectively. Female student enrolment in these courses is around 7 and 20 percent respectively.

The present teacher-student ratio in the Faculties of Veterinary Science (FVS) and Animal Husbandry (FAH) stands at 1:5.4, which is close to the international levels.

From 1990, the functional roles of livestock personnel have undergone a series of transitions. They now range from services almost entirely limited to diagnosis and treatment of animals to an array of services relating to agricultural enterprises and food animal production industry, public health, biomedical research and military services. In view of the above transitions, different bodies such as the Directorate of Livestock Services (DLS) and NGOs etc consider DVM graduates from BAU as moderately competent. The Government of Bangladesh (GOB) has emphasised production of veterinarians with a composite degrees and has started four veterinary colleges under affiliation with four different universities. These are Sylhet Government Veterinary College, Chittagong Government Veterinary College, Dinajpur Government Veterinary College, and Barisal Government Veterinary College, affiliated respectively with Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Sylhet, Chittagong University, Rajshahi University, and Khulna University. These have uniform curricula. The degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) is offered after a five years course, including one year internship at the end of the 4th year. Moreover, these colleges have introduced the semester system.

Training In the livestock sector, different categories of training are imparted which are contiguous to the nature of activities of field veterinarians, auxiliary staff and farmers. DLS, NGOs and other organisations conduct these trainings.

The Directorate of Livestock Services administers several training institutes. These include Officers Training Institute (OTI), Veterinary Training Institutes (VTI) and Livestock Training Institutes (LTI). These institutions offer the following types of training:

Basic training for officers This short training is conducted in the OTI for entry level livestock officers. Training elements consist of introduction of policies of GOB, internal resource development, local government and decentralisation of power, public administration, government rules, personnel management, office management, policy making, project formulation and management, etc.

In the two VTIs the following training courses are offered to auxiliary staff:

Comprehensive livestock training This is offered by VTIs as in-service training to DLS's staff such as compounders, livestock assistants, field assistants and fodder/artificial inseminators for about 12 months. This training scheme aims at developing a cadre of support staff for carrying out specialised activities like laboratory techniques, vaccination, compounding, fodder extension, and artificial insemination.

Refreshers course for auxiliary staff This is a short, 2-3 week in-service training course designed to update the knowledge of auxiliary staff on the use of crop by-products, urea treated straw, extension of exotic varieties of fodder, etc.

Contact farmers training This is organised mostly by two LTIs for training of farmers (2-3 weeks) selected to act as contact farmers. The trained farmers work as linkmen between extension agents and ordinary farmers.

Poultry farmers training (12 weeks duration) Conducted through DLS managed poultry farms which aim at updating the knowledge and skills of farmers already practicing fowl/duck production, or farmers possessing basic skills and capabilities to establish mini farms; special preference is given to women.

Training by NGOs Most NGOs engaged in livestock activities also conduct week long courses for interested or registered farmers on poultry vaccination, cattle rearing, artificial insemination, etc. Some NGOs also produce para-vets through 3-months long training courses.

Training by youth training centres Around nine Youth Training Centres of the country also conduct 3 months training courses for unemployed youths on livestock production practices. These are designed to create self-employment and offer courses on poultry/dairy rearing, fattening of beef cattle, rearing of goats, primary treatment of livestock diseases, and production practices including vaccination. Similar types of trainings are also offered by the Rural Development Academy, Bogra, and Milk Vita. [Md Hafezur Rahman]

See also cattle; poultry.