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Holy Cow! At Gandhidham, dying cattle are overrunning streets, and overwhelming administration

Although official reports state that over 3,000 cattle have died from the Lumpy Skin Disease in Rajasthan and Gujarat, locals say the numbers could be higher.

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Gandhidham (Kutch, Gujarat): A stray dog is tugging at a half-eaten cow carcass that lies on a plot of land.  

The carcass was dumped here by the local administration. The cow, like many others here, died of lumpy skin disease (LSD) now dotting the streets here. 

Caused by a capripox virus, LSD is a viral disease that affects both cows and buffaloes. It has, according to official reports, claimed more than 3,000 cattle in nine districts of Rajasthan and at least 14 districts of Gujarat. 

But locals who have been working to treat the animals suggest that numbers could be much higher.

ThePrint witnessed 18 deaths at a single camp in Gandhidham in just one evening.

The streets here are full of infected and untreated cattle too, increasing the risk of spread.  

Unable to keep up with the death toll, local gau rakshaks (or cow ‘protectors’) have dug mass graves where cattle that have succumbed to the disease are dumped day after day.

Supported by NGOs, gaurakshaks, religious organisations, and leaders from Vishva Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s Sewa Sadhna, volunteers from the community have come forward to collect, medicines and food for the cattle. 

But local sources allege that most of the spread has been among stray cattle that have been abandoned on the streets after they stopped giving milk. 

With a ban on cow slaughter in the state, the number of such strays has risen in the state over the last few years.

 Local volunteers attend to an infected cow with saline drips at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Local volunteers attend to an infected cow on saline drips at Gandhidham in Kutch, Gujarat | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
An infected calf at the Gandhidham cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
An infected calf at the Gandhidham cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Gaurakshak soothing a dying cow at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
‘Gau rakshak’ soothing a dying cow at the Gandhidham cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A cow that succumbed to the lumpy cow disease being taken away for burial, as it's infected companion looks on at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A cow that succumbed to the lumpy cow disease is carted away for burial as its infected companion looks on at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Cattle killed by the lumpy skin disease being loaded in tractors for mass burial at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Cattle killed by the lumpy skin disease are being loaded on to tractors for mass burial at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A potrait of hope -- perhaps there will be recovery | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A portrait of hope | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Ailing cattle on saline drips wait for treatment -- or death at Gandhidham's cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Ailing cattle on saline drips await treatment, or death, at Gandhidham’s cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Dog eating dead cow thrown by local administration at the Kandla Gandhidham, coastal line | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Dog eating dead cow dumped by the local administration at Kandla Gandhidham in Kutch | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Dead bodies of cows succumbing to lumpy skin disease being dumped in a mass grave near Gandhi Dham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Cow carcasses being dumped in a mass grave near Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A mass grave of infected cattle being covered with salt near Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A mass grave being covered with salt near Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Men passing through of the dead cow thrown by local administration at the Kandla Gandhidham, coastal line | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Men by cow carcasses dumped on a plot of land at the Kandla Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A young boy swats away flies and mosquitoes at a cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A young boy swats away flies and mosquitoes at a cattle camp | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
A calf and it's mother, both infected with lumpy skin disease, feeding on a jowar and jaggery mix | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
An infected cow and  calf feed on a mix of jowar and jaggery | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Gaurakshaks carry a diseased cow to a more comfortable spot at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Gaurakshaks carry a diseased cow to a more comfortable spot at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Veterinarians attend to a dehydrated, infected cow with saline drip at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint
Veterinarians attend to a dehydrated and infected cow at Gandhidham | Praveen Jain | ThePrint

 

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