36 cattle heads found, poisoning likely

Water contamination is suspected to be behind the death of 36 heads of cattle that died at a grazing spot near Mandela Nagar in Madurai on Saturday night.
Investigating officers said around 1,000 bulls and cows were bred here for kidai maadu, a commercial system in which their dung is used as natural manure for farmlands. On Saturday, after returning from grazing, the cattle collapsed and died one after the other. All the sick bulls and cows were foaming at the mouth.
A team of veterinary doctors rushed to the spot and tried to save them. “We saved many cows by giving them antidotes; and initial investigations prove that a poisonous organic substance has caused this fatality,” a veterinary doctor said.
The cattle are jointly owned by eight people who live in Virudhunagar. The veterinary team has sent samples of water and grass for examination to ascertain the source of poisoning. Local people allege that as the area is secluded, lorries that clean septic tanks discharge the waste in the grazing field which could have led to water and land contamination.
The police say that further course of action can be decided only after seeing the sample examination report. All the owners have been called for inquiry but no complaint has been lodged so far.
Reports earlier Saturday night that suggested that 60 heads of cattle died all together triggered tension after locals alleged they had been poisoned.
According to an investigating officer, the cattle started dying at 7 pm.
“By 7 pm we received reports that the cattle are falling dead in large numbers in the field and hence we rushed to the spot”, he told this newspaper.

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