LAHORE - In a unique move, Punjab Livestock Department has started to engage Islamic scholars and Imams (prayer leaders) at mosques to create awareness for animal rights among farmers.

The department has completed 60 per cent data of villages and mozas (towns) of the province with the help of Revenue Department and it is in process of sending letters to the imams urging them to create awareness among farmers at Friday sermons and other gatherings regarding animal right, an official of the department told TheNation on Friday.

Letters are being sent to the lumberdars of villages urging them to spread the message among the farmers for better treatment with animals.

Data of each village and moza will be completed in next month, said the officials.

A reference of Quranic verse has been mentioned in the letters, which urged the Muslims to treat animals in better way. The theme behind the move is to increase the meat and milk production from the animal and it is in the favour of the country and the farmers both, the official added.

“The Agriculture Sector contributes 21 per cent of GDP of Pakistan, which consumes 46pc of direct labour force, coming from 67pc of population. Out of Agriculture, the share of Livestock sector is 56pc: more than the total value of cash crops,” he said, adding the share could be further enhance if the proper awareness was created among the farmers.

He further said that the department, besides engaging religious scholars, was using other ways as well for brining improvement in livestock sector of Punjab.

“The department also aims to engage millions of livestock farmers across the province in its newly launched SMS service,” the official said, adding that the farmers would be able to get facilities regarding vaccination, reproduction, medicines, milking and other issues related to animals at their doorstep just by using their cell phones.

The farmers across the province could get registered via SMS with the Livestock department and would be able to get the services, he added. Sadiq said that the department aimed to digitize the date of farmers of every district within next few months.