Globally, the resource poor rural farmers rely on ancestral folk herbal knowledge to deal with the diseases of their livestock and poultry. Veterinarians show considerable interest in the medicinal plants, employed in traditional systems. Qualified Veterinary Physicians around the world require orientation on the traditional folk veterinary medicine systems. This emerging trend in favor of herbal medicine is partly due to the issues related to the antimicrobial drug resistance and drug residues in foods of animal origin (Food Safety Act 2006).
Preliminary work by the Centre for Ethno-veterinary Herbal Training and Research at VUTRC Thanjavur of TANUVAS, on the use of various fresh Ethno-veterinary management (EVM) herbal recipes is encouraging under field conditions. Yet, most of this knowledge exists in folklore. There is an urgent need to promote at least, the complementary use of EVM in livestock keeping on a wider scale for sustainable livestock production. This will help in the conservation of not only medicinal plants but also livestock resources.
Hundreds of farmers and field veterinarians have been trained in EVM at the centre. The TANUVAS has entered an MOU with Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (I-AIM) FRLHT, Bangalore for collaborative work in research and education on ethno-veterinary practices. Currently we run Government of Tamil Nadu Part II and Union Government of India (ICAR) network programme on EVM and work in the following areas.
- Empowering livestock holders on primary health care of livestock using local resources based on traditional herbal knowledge.
- Documentation, assessment and dissemination of EVM based knowledge.
- Conservation of EVM knowledge and resources especially medicinal plants.
- Mainstreaming EVP in veterinary curriculum to train qualified veterinarians.
Tamil Nadu University Veterinary and Animal Sciences (TANUVAS) will combine forces with the Dutch Animals & Herbs (Dier & Kruid) working group of NVF, in developing a 1 year Post-Graduate course for Dutch veterinarians on the use of medicinal plants. The course combines direct teaching with on-line course work. Plans are to start the combined course in 2016.