The Holy Cow

The poor humble cow seems to be in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. The cow is worshipped by millions of devout Hindus in India. The very sight of a cow first thing in the morning is supposed to confer good fortune.

The mere thought of slaughtering cows or feeding on it is repugnant and alien to Indian culture. But we have to look at the issue calmly from all angles. At a time when planet earth is fighting the grave danger of global warming, consuming meat is not just a religious taboo but also a monumental environmental hazard as innumerable studies have shown. So it is better to pause and think from an environmental angle rather than just focus on religious taboos.

As land is being taken away for cultivating fodder for cattle which will be sold as meat, there are problems that are cropping up in many ways for the rest of the world. There is a huge land crunch and small farms are disappearing in many parts of the world. Fresh water supplies which are already dwindling are going dry as both man and beast compete for the limited supply. In Africa, the cost of maize which is used as livestock feed keeps increasing and it is also the staple diet of many Africans.

Animal carcasses and remains are further polluting the environment and causing environmental degradation. Many diseases are jumping from animals to humans in the modern world, Bird flu, Mad cow disease being a few. Another problem is that these cattle are fed with large doses of antibiotics to keep them disease free and all these end up in the consumer’s stomach. In the US alone 55% of antibiotics manufactured by pharmaceuticals are fed to animals. Just imagine the harm it can do to the health of those who consume the meat produced from these treated animals.

So in the interest of our health, it is best to focus on the practical implications rather than getting carried away by xenophobic hysteria.

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Published by Vaishali Shah

Vaishali Shah is the founder owner of Shrivedant Foundation in Kenya. She is an entrepreneur, writer, thinker, an avid reader, an activist, a social bug and a devotee who wants to do different things and do things differently. She has got few degrees like Masters in Commerce, Masters in International Business and Diploma in Web Technologies and many other certificate courses. She thinks that true knowledge and experience is gained from the real life, from our ancient scriptures, our elders and achievers of the society who actually can contribute to our overall growth on a large scale and can uplift our soul to a different level. She is associated with quite a few non-profit organisations in Kenya which are determined to bring awareness of ancient vedic lifestyle and the benefits to implement them into our lives. She also promotes vegetarianism through a club called Kenya Vegetarian Club to help locals to turn and remain vegetarian.

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