The field of animal husbandry came about with the domestication by Neolithic (New stone age) period, this era also marked the first step towards civilization. Livestock used for agriculture is as old as civilization, and our ancient contract with animals, for all its flaws, has been a model of natural justice and fairness. Their presence has been a manifold and positive one, reflected and extolled in our arts, crafts, literature, mythology, song, and story. In India, being an agricultural country, livestock is also considered asthe backbone of the country. According to the 20th Livestock Census there are 536.76 million of livestock in India where the share of livestock sector is as much as 25% of the total agricultural GDP and contribute 2.4 % of Indian economy, 95.78% of total livestock population is restricted to rural areas and only 4.22% in urban areas.
Livestock Farming is an important livelihood activity for most of the farmers, supporting agriculture in the form of critical inputs, contributing to the health and nutrition of the family, supplementing incomes, offering employment opportunities, and finally being a dependable “bank on hooves” in times of need.
Awareness and resources among the rural livestock farmers are limited. They lack daily utility equipment which is one of the most relevant and important factor in livestock rearing i.e, weighing of animals, following the policies of Animal Welfare Board of India.
In livestock farming, weighing is regularly done for the following reasons:
- Assessing the growth performance and reproductive efficiency of animals.
- Determining the health status of an animal when measured in relation to its age.
- To measure the correct dose of therapeutic pharmaceutical to treat diseases and to avoid risk of under dosing or overdosing.
- To determine the correct amount of feed an animal can get.
- To avoid underfeeding or overfeeding.
- To determine the possible values of the live animals in relation to the market price.
- To determine weaning time in animals.
Apart from weighing of animals another regular activity in livestock farming is “Transportation of animals”. This is necessary to locate animals to their respective destination (Eg. abattoir, farms, hospital etc). Rough handling of animals during loading reduces the meat quality as the animal is stressed. Animal carcass show conditions like PSE (Pale, soft, exudative meat) and DFD (Dried, Firm and Dry meat) which reduce their economic value. There is a high demand for safe and humane handling of injured animals.
Animals can feel pain, distress, fear, anxiety, pleasure, boredom, happiness and other morally relevant modalities of mentation. For this reason, farm animal welfare research should not consist solely of the sorts of things traditionally done.The current scenario of livestock farming practices, particularly in rural areas, on observation violates Prevention of cruelty to animals act 1960- Chapter III stating to avoid unnecessary pain or suffering to animals. They also violate the Animal Welfare Board of India Principles – The Humane manner of transport
Innovation oriented towards the well- being of animals in regards to current economic context, especially to ameliorate their discomfort, fear and stress – Portable Humane Versatile Apparatus has been designed.
Portable Weighing Balance
Working Principle of Portable Humane Versatile Apparatus
- Fix either spring or digital balance with the apparatus on a sturdy overhang.
- Buckle the animal into the Belt.
- Wrap the belt around the abdomen and fit it into the hook on the apparatus. (Make sure the animal is properly fixed)
- Now lift the pulley up slowly and check the weight.
- For transportation, follow the steps as above and lift the animal to the destined location
Comparative study between different weighing methods of livestock
|Sl.no.||Electronic platform weighing scale||Portable Weighing Balance attached with||Body weight measurement by means of sacks attached with spring/digital balance||Body weight measurement by using Formula|
|2||Accurate and reliable||Less accuracy||Less accuracy||Underestimates weight of very young, and very heavy animals|
|3||Requires electricity||No electricity||No electricity||No electricity|
|5||Applicable for both large and small animals||Mainly small animals||Mainly small animals||Applicable for both large and small animals|
|6||No injuries to animals||No injuries to animals||Stress and discomfort to animals and animal handlers||No injuries to animals|
|7||Does not violates Animal welfare||Does not violates Animal welfare||Violates Animal welfare||Does not violates Animal welfare|
|8||Easy to use by farmers||Easy to use by farmers||Easy to use by farmers||It is difficult for illiterate farmers to use|
|9||No extra labours required||Extra labours required to lift the animals||Extra labours required to lift the animals||Extra labours required to measure animal’s body conformation|
|10||Manually lifting of animals is not required||Humane handling and transportation of pregnant animals in any emergency cases||Manually lifting for lighter animals but prone to cause injuries||Manually lifting of animals is not required|
- Humane method of weighing.
- It does not violate any law against Animal Cruelty Act 1960.
- Economic friendly- made of affordable materials.
- Widely and easily accessible even to farmers in remote areas.
- Aims to be widely accepted by illiterate farmers.
- Aim to help Field Veterinarians who have to visit different farms as it is portable.
- Transportation of animals with fractures, recumbency, injured back, cuts, or bruises
- The disadvantage in this method of weighing is difficulty in lifting heavy animal. This method of weighing animal is specially designed for small animals
Humane-Portable Weighing Balance is a cheap, portable livestock weighing technique specially designed for poor illiterate farmers. This technique is eco-friendly and very easy to use and understood by farmers. The technique is not only used to measure the body weight of animals in humane manner but also to lift and transport small animals for any emergency purposes. New techniques is required to be installed in this weighing balance so as to make weighing of animals easy and accurate.
T. Gyaneshori Devi1and K. Merina Devi2