This Ain't No Bull

In the sprawling yard of a three-storey beige stucco building in a village in northern India, a large buffalo ambles around on yoga mats, his dark eyes sizing up the new visitors wearily. 

Yuvraj is a handsome animal with oiled backward-curving horns, a smooth grey-black coat and a slim, bushy tail. He weighs 450kg (990lbs), is 10ft long and 5ft 8in tall. He is also used to attention - and slightly disdainful of his latest admirers. 

"Every day somebody or the other comes to see him. He's not just another bull, he's a brand," says his proud owner, Karamveer Singh, a 47-year-old third generation farmer in Haryana state.

Singh lives in the village of Sunarion in a district - Kurukshetra - renowned as the place where a mythical battle was fought in India's best-known epic, the Mahabharata. 

In real life, it is among the many villages in India where boundaries between city and countryside are blurring fast: prosperous farmers reside in large, well-appointed homes. Many of their children, first-generation college students, are enrolled in foreign universities. 

The hard-working farmer Singh owns a herd of two dozen cows and buffaloes, runs a business and deals in property. 

He lives with his wife, half a dozen cars and tractors and a retinue of household servants. One of his sons is studying for an MBA in Australia; the other is studying computer science in Rajasthan.

His semen is now possibly the most expensive in India, costing up to 350 rupees ($5.65; £3.75) a dose - possibly more than 10 times the average.

A single ejaculation, triggered with the help of a teaser animal and collected in an artificial vagina, provides 500 to 600 sperm "doses", each containing 20 million sperm. 

The upshot is that Singh earns anything between three and five million rupees every year selling the stuff, which he stores at home in thin frozen strips, preserved at -196C in 50-litre containers of liquid nitrogen.

No comments: