There are other factors at play: increased mechanisation of agriculture and the use of threshing machines, disc ploughs and the replacement of ox carts with tractors means that bulls are no longer in high demand in the Tarai.
“Ten years ago I sold my bulls for Rs50,000 — now there are no buyers. I can’t even pay someone to take the bulls away,” says Biru Ram Chaudhari of Lalitpur village of Kailali.
Guy Jatra, The Ass
Kathmandu traffic FAQs, The Ass
The outmigration of Nepali youth to India, the Gulf and Malaysia has meant that agriculture in general has seen a downturn, and there are fewer households keeping water buffalos and cattle at home. The urban expansion of Dhangadi and Nepalganj municipalities has also forced households to abandon home dairies.
The stray cattle are now grazing in jungles by the highways, munching away at the undergrowth. Forests planted for flood control have also been affected. Sugarcane and paddy farmers have lost their entire crops as the cattle move through the fertile farms of the western Tarai.
Says local farmer Gayadin Chaudhari: “It used to be elephants and wild animals that destroyed our crops, now it is the cattle. In Mohanpur they lost 8 bigha (1.5 hectares) of sugarcane to stray cows.”
In Attariya, police say there has been an increase in highway accidents and fatalities because of collisions of vehicles with stray cows at night. They say the only solution is to tag cows so that they can be traced back to their owners, who will then be forced to be more responsible.