With a group of cattle rescued by volunteers of tshethar tshogpa freely roaming in Sershong, Sarpang, for the past one month, farmers are disappointed after the cattle damaged farms and crops.
The cattle, mostly oxen, are left to graze along the highway and gewog centre road after being saved from the hands of dealers on the way to a slaughterhouse in Tsirang.
A farmer from Sershong, Pema Kinzang, said that it was challenging to report the problems. “The cattle were rescued for good but the lack of proper care after the rescue cause nuisance here.”
He said cattle rampaged his fenced orchard. “I planted areca nut, agarwood, and oranges for my family and children but it’s all damaged now. I wish to get a replacement for my saplings at least.”
Six households from the chiwog reported damages by the cattle in the past three weeks, according to Sershong tshogpa. Locals even found four cattle dead close to their source of drinking water in Sershong.
Farmers said cattle caused damages in all households, as there are more than 40 cattle left in the locality.
Another farmer, Pem Tshewang, said they respect the noble initiative but there should be proper management and care of the cattle. “The cattle are left on their own to die after the rescue.”
He said without anyone to take care of the animals, there was no person farmers could approach when the cattle caused problems. “We faced this problem for almost a month now. We don’t know whom to report our problems.”
Farmers suggested releasing the cattle to other places away from settlements.
The volunteers from tshethar tshogpa in the dzongkhag have rescued over 400 cattle in the past three months. And the number is on the rise, according to a volunteer, Tshering Penjor.
Tshethar tshogpa rescued more than 1,000 cattle from across the country. The cattle were mostly from Dagana, Tsirang, Sarpang, and Trongsa.
Tshering Penjor said that it was challenging to provide better care with the number increasing daily, as the association tried to stop even a single cattle from being taken to the slaughterhouse.
“There are problems and we are not able to provide any form of incentives to the farmers. We sustain our work through donations. There are more cattle and we have only few herders,” he said.
He, however, claimed that there were no major damages on crops so far.
He said more than 25 cattle were found dead after the rescue in the past three months. “It is because the cattle were tortured and horns tied hard while being carried in vehicles. Legs were broken when they reached us. The wounds couldn’t be treated.”
Tshering Penjor also works as the tshogpa’s regional coordinator, voluntarily.
Through donations sought from the public, tshethar tshogpa has rescued more than 1,000 cattle.
The association also spent Nu 900,000 for management and care that includes expenditure for buying feeds, building sheds, salary for three herders, and incentives for part-time herders.
While the rescue efforts received good support from the public, Tshering Penjor said that it could become an indirect way of robbing people.
“The beneficiaries are dealers and slaughterhouse owners in any way. The main loss was to people who contribute their last penny. This isn’t a good method,” said Tshering Penjor.
According to him, either the slaughterhouse should be closed or the tshogpa should discontinue the rescue works. “There are countless numbers of cattle taken to the slaughterhouse daily. They bring more cattle once they get money from us. We try to save all and while doing this, we seek support from people.”
Tshethar tshogpa paid dealers at least Nu 15,000 and the highest of Nu 64,000 per cattle while saving them.
Tshering Penjor agreed that there was a need to plan proper management so that it would be less pressing for the public. “Repeatedly seeking donations from the public might lead to people losing interest to support our works.”
He said there are opportunities and scope to make their works sustainable and secure the interest of the people. “We could explore ways to improve the efforts. We started membership registration.”
By Nima | Gelephu
Edited by Tashi Dema