Sheep are thought to be the oldest species of domesticated animals and are believed to have evolved in dry and mountainous regions of southwest and central Asia.
Development in Sheep Husbandry sector
- Pre-Independence Period
Dominant population of rural and tribal belts of state possessed with them a sheep of diversified make up for their livelihood and this animal has sustained the life of Nomads for centuries with no alternative for economic sustenance.
The state rulers in 1920 sought technical know how from British Government to effect improvement in local sheep. Professor Alfred Barker of Leeds University arrived in state in year 1928 and after surveying submitted his report in early thirties titled “Prospective Development of Kashmir as Sheep Breeding and Wool Growing Country” In pursuance to the recommendations, Sheep Breeding Company named “Kashmir Sheep Farm Pvt. Ltd.” came into existence at Banihal in early 1937 with establishment of Sheep Breeding and Research Farm Reasi /Banihal and a scientific breeding plan was implemented. Mr.R.C.Haksar was made officer In charge of the farm who was later made Managing Director of “Kashmir Sheep Farm LTD”
The sheep population of the state in the year 1942 was about 11.34 Lacs and it produced about 9.0 lacs Kg of wool.
- Post Independence period
The process of winding up of Kashmir Sheep Farm Pvt.Ltd. had already been initiated prior to 1947 and its liquidation took place finally in 1949. Sheep Development witnessed a revision of breeding plan. Importation of new exotic fine wool breeds materialized in 1951 and onwards and fresh ICAR scheme of improvement of Sheep and wool on regional basis got initiated from 1952.
With the exit of Mr. Haksar the onus of running the Sheep breeding was shouldered by Dr.D.N.Koul and Dr.G.A.Bandey. On the recommendation of ICAR, it was decided to switch over to breeding of Rambouillet breed of sheep on pure lines with sole objective of producing rams of higher genetic potential for further propagation of indigenous sheep in private sector.
The sheep breeding activity got a boost in 1968 when a separate department of Sheep Husbandry was created in the state and further expansion took place in early seventies with creation of Divisional level Migratory Project, Disease Investigation Laboratory and establishment of different farms in the state.
In 1982 the department was re-organized with creation of posts of Directors at Provincial level and District Officers at District level, Sheep & Wool Dev.Officers at Tehsil level and Veterinary Assistant Surgeons at block level.