Cattle farmers need to protect their stocks from consumption of plastic materials and other dangerous objects because it results into huge financial loses.
The dairy and cattle farmers are responsible for the cows welfare, after milking and grazing them,they are allowed the cows scavenge or find food available in dumps of debris lying in the urban areas.
Cows are usually seen on the roadsides eating away the plastic bags and their contents in search of food items. The ingested polythene hinders the process of fermentation and mixing of contents leading to indigestion. They also obstruct the orifice between reticulum and omasum. Plastic bags cannot be digested or passed as such through faeces by an animal and stay permanently in the gut causing pain and death.
Globally, billions of dollars are post annually by cattle farmers to ingestion of hard plastic, nylon, broken needle, wire, nails etc.
There is no symptoms that reveal that they have invested waste but only seen at the point of slaughter in the abattoir and cows that are severely affected suffer weight loss, low milk production, poor appetite and fever.
Robin Hood a french environmental protection NGO reported that over 60,000 cow suffer from tumors and infection caused by accumulation of waste in their rumens.
The following are the effects of plastic and polythene ingestion to cows:
Cows with polythenes in their stomach also suffer from immunosuppression which is as a result of perpetual discomfort the their systems leading to increased sensitivity to various infections particularly of haemorrhagic septicemia.
- Rumen Impaction:
Rumen is impacted as a result of large quantities of polythene bags/plastics in rumen accumulated over a period of time which results into rumenatony and decrease in rumen motility.
Plastic materials and polythene do not degrade in rumen/reticulum causing blockage in the orifice and. affects the rumen microflora leading to indigestion of feed. . The blockage come as a result of ruminal movements thereby trapping feed in between polythenes which becomes tight due to ruminal movements.
- Gas Accumulation in the GIT
Plastics/Polythene injestion can cause accumulation of gases in rumen which can lead to bloat or tympany which becomes fatal, if the gases are not properly removed. It can lead to dyspnoea and death.
- Inflammation of the Rumen
Formation of stones in digestive tract and around polythenes may also be observed and the hard mass may hinder food passage causing pain and inflammation of rumen.