IAR team to the rescue of a bull in India
On 24th September a very concerned volunteer (Jan) turned up at the IAR centre in Goa to report an injured bull in the town of Candolim. She explained that the bull needed seeing to urgently so a team consisting of a vet (Nikhil) a nurse (Maruti) and a driver (Tanja) set out to investigate the situation.
When the team reached the reported location the first thing that hit them was the stomach-turning smell of rotting meat. Next it was the horrific sight of a bull lying in the grass with the flesh exposed on virtually the whole of the left side of its body. The skin was severely damaged and peeling off and where it had disappeared altogether crows were nibbling at the exposed flesh. On the right side of the body there was a deep maggot wound and the skin was furthermore severely damaged on the bull's face and neck.
One can only guess when his condition had begun but judging by the rotting state of the wound it had been left like that for quite some time. What is even more horrifying is that the case was not reported by the owner of the bull but by a family living near to where it was lying. They simply couldn't stand the smell any longer!
There are several things that could have caused the condition. It is not uncommon for local residents to throw boiling water, oil or even acid on cattle if the animals enter their property. This results in enormous patches of burnt or damaged skin which will eventually fall off and expose the flesh leaving the animal in terrible pain. With no treatment the wound will become infected, in some cases leading to a slow lingering death. In this instance it could have been one of these cases, however it is also possible that the bull had developed an internal infection, which caused for the skin to break and peel.
The team immediately began the dangerous task of treating the bull. First it had to be restrained so Nikhil could safely approach it and inject it with a sedative to allow him to treat the wound. With the assistance of a few local residents Maruti managed to tie the bull tightly to a tree to prevent him from kicking or lashing out with his horns. He was then sedated and Nikhil could get to work.
The wound was cleaned and dressed and the bull was given some strong antibiotic to stop the infection from worsening. He was also given plenty of fluids through a drip as he had become weak from the agony he was experiencing. The owner (who had been tracked down and brought to the site) was given a prescription and instructed to keep the bull safely tied up on his own property to allow him some peace and quiet during recovery.
It was agreed that periodically Tanja would stop by the house to check on the bull's condition and report back to the centre. Normally it is the responsibility of owners to bring their animals to IAR for treatment. However in cases like this where the owner clearly has no intention of doing so, thus leaving the animal to die slowly, IAR staff do not hesitate to go and try to save it. The owner proved to be more decent than first expected and he made a donation of RS200 towards the work that had been done for his bull. A donation of RS100 was also made by Jan towards the work.
IAR Goa would like to thank Jan and all others involved in helping us rescue this bull for their efforts. It was of great help to us and we always appreciate all the help we get.
The bull is on the way to recovery. Tanja checked on it last week and already the wounds are healing although it will take a long time before the bull will have fully recovered. Antibiotic treatment has to continue and the onus is now on the owner of the bull to ensure that the treatment is given.
Sadly the above case is only one out of many similar cases. In cases where the owner cannot be found cattle are brought to the IAR centre for treatment by one of the ambulances. It is a tragic fact that the attitude towards animal life in India is far less compassionate than in many other parts of the world. This leads to actions which sometimes are beyond the imagination of any animal loving person.
Apart from the rescue work that is done by IAR a big but equally important task for our organisation is to educate the public in becoming more tolerant towards animals. It is a big challenge because it is a cultural issue, which we are attempting to change but it is evident that the general attitude towards animals has already come a long way in the last decade and more. Hopefully things will continue to develop in the right direction so we see fewer and fewer cases like this in years to come.