Farmer Puran Singh from Ganganagar in Rajasthan is proud of his cow that gives 34 kg milk daily and would easily have been one of the star attractions at the Eighth National Livestock Championship to be held at Muktsar in Punjab from January 8 to 12. “But I have decided against participating this time,“ he said. “I would not prefer to risk my limbs and my cow.“The fear of vigilante cow protection groups that randomly attack vehicles trans porting cattle has cast a dark shadow over the premier event where prize money is worth over Rs 1 crore. Given that many cattleowners fear transporting cattle from one district to another within Punjab, travelling between states is a major concern. `Gau Rakshaks’ in Punjab and Haryana are especially violent going by the videos that they have uploaded on YouTube. On November 29, an alleged cattle smuggler got into a gunfight with police near Thanesar in Haryana and was shot dead.

“We normally get many entries from Haryana, Rajasthan and even Gujarat in the competition category of milk ing and upkeep of cows,“ said an animal husbandry official.“We fear there will be very few entries this time.” Jind-resident Jagdev Ram, who had taken part in the competition last year with his Sahiwal cows, said, “We will be extra cautious this time. You never know who will attack you for smuggling cattle to abattoirs.“

Punjab animal husbandry department director H S Sandha said they will ask people coming from outside to get certification from authorities or from veterinary doctors.