Monday, January 11, 2010
BEEF CAN KILL YOU!
The National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has conducted a study which examined the records of more than 500,000 persons aged 509 to 71, who filled out questionnaires about their diet and other health habits. The study concluded that the heaviest meat-eaters were more likely to die over the next ten years than the people who ate the least amount of meat. Rashmi Sinha and her colleagues wrote in the Archives of Internal Medicine: “Red and processed meat intakes were associated with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality, and cardio-vascular disease mortality.” In other words, if you eat beef and other red and processed meat, you would be more likely to die of cancer, heart disease and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s than vegetarians.
A lot of processed meat, such as that found in hamburgers, comes from slaughterhouse trimmings and a mash-like product derived from scraps that are ground together at a meat-rendering plant. These trimmings are usually ‘low-grade ingredients’ cut from a cow that are likely to have contact with faeces and urine, which lead to E. coli contamination. Indeed, E. coli poisoning via beef patties has paralysed and even killed many persons around the globe. In this connection, it ought to be remembered that, in India, almost all animals come into contact with faeces and urine during extremely stressful and cruel conditions of transport over long distances; and are therefore likely to carry E. coli contamination!
When you bite into a hamburger or chicken sandwich, what do you think that this grass- eating animal was eating before it died? Most likely it was a mixture of ground-up eyeballs, anuses, bones, feathers, and euthanised dogs . Most animals that we eat spend the entirety of their short lives in factories eating recycled meat and animal fat. These herbivores have been turned into carnivores thanks to our process of ‘waste removal’ better known as rendering.
Every day, thousands of pounds of slaughterhouse waste such as brains, eyeballs, spinal cords, intestines, bones, feathers or hooves as well as restaurant grease, road kill, cats and dogs are produced. From this need for large-scale waste disposal came the development of rendering plants. Rendering plants recycle the dead animals and their wastes into products known as bone meal, and animal fat. These products are sold to the companies that grow animals for meat or milch cattle, poultry, swine, and sheep, and put into their feed. Each slaughterhouse has a privately owned rendering plant nearby.
The process itself is very disturbing and those who have witnessed it have often sworn off meat for good. The rendering plant floor is piled high with 'raw product' - tonnes of feet, tails, feathers, bones, spinal cords, hooves, milk sacs, grease, intestines, stomachs and eyeballs of slaughtered animals.. In the heat, the piles of dead animals seem to have a life of their own as millions of maggots swarm over the carcasses. First the raw material is cut into small pieces and then transported to another machine for fine shredding. It is then cooked at 280 degrees for one hour, melting the meat away from bones in the hot 'soup.' This continuous batch-cooking process goes on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
During this cooking process, the soup produces yellow grease or tallow that rises to the top and is skimmed off. The cooked meat and bone are then sent to a hammer mill press, which squeezes out the remaining moisture and pulverises the product into a gritty powder. Shaker screens remove excess hair and large bone chips that are unsuitable for consumption. Now recycled meat, yellow grease, and bone meal are produced and used exclusively to feed vegetarian animals.
In India, no testing is done of these plants. In America and Europe, state agencies spot- check. Yet, testing for pesticides and other toxins in animal feeds is not done or is done incompletely with toxic wastes accompanying the dead animals – none of which is removed by the rendering plants. Poisoned cattle stomachs, animals that have been lying dead for weeks before being picked up, animals that have been run over by trucks, all their noxious parts, are part of this. The package includes euthanasia drugs given to pets, animals with flea collars containing organophosphate insecticides, fish oil laced with DDT, heavy metals from pet ID tags, and plastics from thrown away meats. Labour costs are rising; and therefore, many rendering plants refuse to hire extra hands to cut off flea collars or unwrap spoiled shopmeat. Every week, millions of packages of plastic-wrapped meat go through the rendering process and become one of the many unwanted ingredients in animal feed.
Even if some people do realise how animal feed is made and feel that it is still too far removed to be a concern to them, most of them do not know of the risks consumption of this meat entails. Perhaps the best-known health concern associated with rendering plants is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or Mad Cow Disease. In America, regulations mandate that brain and other nerve tissue be removed from cattle after they are slaughtered for human food. Yet these most infectious parts, the brain and spinal cord, are allowed to go to a rendering facility where they can be processed into pet and animal feed. This means it is possible that a cow with Mad Cow Disease can be ground up and fed to a pig or chicken that is, in turn, fed back to other cows that are eventually eaten by people. India has no regulations of any kind. Behind the scenes and out of public view, these practices are unfolding around the world, putting millions of people at risk for Mad Cow Disease.
Other diseases that can be contracted from rendering plant product feed include tuberculosis, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), and Alzheimer’s. All of these diseases, except Alzheimer’s, are transmissible spongiform encephalopathy diseases (TSEs), which means that they is are infectious diseases that leave the brain resembling a sponge. The process by rendering plants makes chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, cows and buffaloes into cannibals: a factor that has been cited as a cause of Alzheimer’s disease, which did not exist in the world until this practice started. Millions of people are affected by Alzheimer’s making it one of the leading causes of death among the elderly across the globe. Scientific evidence shows that people eating meat more than four times a week for a prolonged period have a three times higher chance of suffering from dementia than vegetarians. A preliminary 1989 study at the University of Pennsylvania showed that over 5% of patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s were actually dying from human spongiform encephalopathy. That means that as many as 200,000 people in the United States may already be dying from mad cow disease each year. God knows how many in India, but certainly thousands more are at risk since 2001.
In 2001 in India, the BJP-led government prepared a secret position paper on the “Utilisation of Slaughter House Waste for the Preparation of Animal Feed”. This is what the report said: “India ranks topmost in the world in livestock holding and has the potential to utilize slaughterhouse by products to partly meet the growing requirement of animal feeds. The total availability of offal/bones in the country generated from large slaughterhouses is estimated to be more than 21 lakh tonnes/annum. It can also be used for the preparation of animal feeds”. The report goes on to explain that “Presently in India, livestock feed production is cereal-based. This results in livestock, especially poultry, pig and fish, competing with humans for grains and cereals which can easily be replaced with slaughterhouse waste.”
The Office International des Epizooties (OIE World Organisation for Animal Health) had surveyed the risk of CJD/BSE in Asia . The report revealed that no attention had been paid to any risk analysis on bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in China, India, Pakistan and seven other countries. According to OIE, significant quantities of animal feed of meat origin have been imported into Asia, which may mean that the BSE agent could have reached domestic cattle in these countries. The Report noted that ‘the spread of BSE through rendering plants cannot be excluded in some countries such as China, India, Japan, Pakistan and Taiwan. Therefore, much more stringent management at slaughterhouses and rendering plants, as well as extensive surveillance programmes, are required in those countries. “
The Indian companies on the Internet advertise their rendered meal as having been made from "spray-dry" machines that turn blood into a fine, brown powder (gardeners know it as blood meal); gigantic kettles that boil fat to make tallow; grinders that crush bones into minuscule fragments.. Millions of tonnes are supplied to the dairy industry, poultry farms, cattle feed-lots, pig farms, fish-feed plants, and pet-food manufacturers. Leading manufacturers of “Meal”, as they call it, are Standard Agro Vet (P) Ltd., Allanasons Ltd., Hind Agro Ltd., Al Kabeer in Hyderabad – also being the four largest private slaughterhouses in the country.
All animal feed manufacturers use meat and bone meal in their feeds. Recent reports state most domestic animals are fed such rendered animal tissues. A 1991 United States Department of agriculture report states that approximately 7.9 billion pounds of meat, bone meal, blood meal, and feather meal was produced by rendering plants in 1983. Of that amount: 12 %percent was used in dairy and beef-cattle-feed, 34% in pet food, 34% in poultry-feed and 20 % in pig food . This has doubled by 2006. So has the use of animal protein in commercial dairy-feed since 1987 all over the globe. Grass- or cereal-fed cattle and other animals are nonexistent abroad and lessening in India. BSE expert Richard Lacey states “The time bomb of the twentieth century equivalent of the bubonic plague ticks away.” Would Nature forgive us for a baby chick is eating what's left of her mother after she's been stripped down, a calf being fed on her mother’s slaughtered remains, a pig being reared on a diet of dead pigs, a goat being fed on a goat’s leftovers? Should Indians copy Americans in feeding this obnoxious and toxic ‘meal’ to vegetarian cattle, even chicken and other species?
(Source: Mrs. Maneka Gandhi, Member of Parliament, Bharatiya Janata Party, New Delhi; and Kindness Trust, Melbourne, Australia)
Here is a report on conditions that obtain in some American slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants:
“It takes 25 minutes to turn a live steer into steak at the modern slaughterhouse where Ramon Moreno works….
“The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too often they weren’t.
“’They blink. They make noises’, he said softly. ‘The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around.’
“Still Moreno would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller.
“’They die’, said Moreno, ‘piece by piece.’”
(Source: “Modern Meat: A Brutal Harvest” – ‘The Washington Post’, 4/10/01)
Should successive Indian governments, then, yield to pressure from lobbies comprising butchers, meat-packers, meat exporters and so on and thus legalise meat rendering plants in India?
CRUELTY INVOLVED IN CATTLE TRANSPORT AND SLAUGHTER
In general, animal agriculture, which involves the rearing and maintenance of large numbers of animals, leads to environmental degradation. Mechanised means of cramped and cruel housing, as well as mechanised mass slaughter, severely damages the earth and its resources.
In India, in particular, cattle are walked unconscionable distances without food or water, in all kinds of weather, to slaughterhouses; if they collapse along the way, they are further maltreated and tortured in the most brutal manner, such as having chilli powder rubbed into their eyes to make them get up, and so on.
Their tails are broken, segment by segment, to force them to move out of sheer pain. If they are transported by lorry, they are packed close to one another without any room to move at all. Their necks are jerked tightly upward and tethered to the roof of the lorry at a painful angle. The weak amongst them are trampled by those able to stand up. Calves and sick cows are often crushed to death or gored by the horns of other animals.
When the survivors arrive at the slaughterhouses confused, exhausted, terrified and in dreadful pain, they are killed in full view of one another. More often than not, because of time constraints, cattle which have had their throats slit are skinned alive in most Indian slaughterhouses, where the practice of stunning is either not used at all or else is used incorrectly so that the poor animal remains conscious and live during the entire process of slaughter and skinning.
(Source: Undercover video taken by ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or PETA)
PETA India says that the world is already growing enough crops to feed every human being, but food that could be used to nourish starving people is instead fed to billions of chickens, pigs, and cows which are slaughtered for their flesh.
PETA adds: “In addition to being extremely cruel to animals, meat production is also staggeringly inefficient: It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat; 4 pounds of grain to produce a pound of chicken.”
An acre cultivated in spinach yields 26 times more protein than it does for beef.
Beef production further depletes the earth's precious and dwindling aquifers, leads to topsoil erosion and the systematic destruction of the earth's vitally important rainforests. In order to produce just one pound of beef, it takes approximately 2500 gallons of water. To produce just one hamburger, animals are raised on rainforest land.
Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the U.N. Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, has declared that people around the globe must reduce or give up eating meat in order to combat climate change. Thus, educated and responsible persons holding high office have pointed out an unmistakable connection between climate change and the consumption of meat. Thus, there can be little doubt among right-thinking persons that beef production contributes directly to the depletion of the planet’s aquifers at a time when water shortage is already a major global problem. Meat production progressively results in the desertification of our planet. It is equally clear that beef-eating contributes to all manner of disease and hastens a person’s death.
Researchers at the ‘Center for Food-borne Illness Research and Prevention’ in Pennyslvania, U.S.A., studied the five most common food-borne illnesses and found that these can cause life-long complications including kidney failure, paralysis, seizures, hearing or visual impairments and mental retardation.
For the report, the team studied campylobacter infection, E.coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and Toxoplasma gondii. The E.coli infection, which can cause hemolytic uremic syndrome, the leading cause of kidney failure in children, was found to be linked to ground beef.
(Source: ‘The Times of India’, 14 November 2009)
Non-vegetarian families run a greater risk of suffering from chronic diseases than their vegetarian counterparts, suggests a survey conducted by Lucknow University (LU) students.
The survey covered 1,000 upper-middle class families of Lucknow in which it was observed that the non-vegetarians are more prone to diabetes, cancer, asthma, arthritis and other chronic diseases,” said LU's Institute for Public Health and Affairs (IPHA) director Manoj Dixit.
Referring to the survey conducted by his students, Dixit said: “We observed that the rate of chronic diseases in non-vegetarian families was over 11 percent while in vegetarian families it was nearly seven percent.”
Significantly, the survey also observed that out of 1,000 families, there were 180 such non-vegetarian families whose every member was affected by a chronic disease, said Sanjeev Pandey, IPHA faculty member.
Meat and dairy product centered diets are linked to many types of cancer as well as heart ailments, diabetes, obesity, gallbladder disease, hypertension and more deadly diseases and disorders.
(Source: Swami Avdhutananda, Ex-Acharya, Chinmaya Mission, Sikkim, Sikkim Chamber of Commerce E Newsletter)
‘IIlegal catte trade funding terror: UP govt’
What has for past several years appeared an innocuous even if an illegal side “business”, namely cattle trade, could be a source of terror funding, say top UP government officials. A substantial part of the Rs. 15,000 crore illegal trade is being funnelled to fund terror, officials said.
The connection between cattle smuggling and big crime first came to light when one Mizanur Rehman turned out to be the key accused in the kidnapping of Kolkata-based proprietor of Khadim Shoes, Partho Burman. Mizanur’s younger brother, Azizur Rehman Sardar, 22, was found to be a Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HuJI) activist serving time in Lucknow jail.
Mizanur was also known to be the trusted aide of HuJI area commander Jalaluddin, alias Babu Bhai, who too is in Lucknow jail. A part of the Rs. 4 crore ransom in the Burman abduction case was suspected to have been diverted to Omar Sheikh, one of the alleged killers of US journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan.
Azizur Rehman is in the slammer for ferrying arms and explosives from Bangladesh to India (his last cache included 2 kg RDX, 10 grenades and 10 detonators). Before that, however, this West Bengal resident operated as a cattle smuggler along the India-Bangladesh border. So do his other three associates arrested with him in June 2007. Azizur is one of the hundreds of foot soldiers in cross border terror network who engages in cattle smuggling during “lean period”.
Unlike fake Indian currency notes (FICN), narcotics and arms peddling, cattle smuggling is the least known and supposedly least glamorous terror funding tactic, largely below the intelligence scanner. It’s also a highly dependable means of sustaining “peripherals” and recruits who form the most active chain in the terror link. The thriving racket through, as a source puts it, “68 smuggling corridors and 149 sensitive villages dotting the West Bengal border along the 1,485 km long India-Bangladesh border” has been worrying UP and West Bengal governments for over a decade.
The point was brought home by the animal welfare division of the ministry of environment and forest. In a letter forwarded to the ministry of home affairs, the department highlighted “serious problem of hawala transactions in lieu of smuggled cattle in Chittagong area”. The money, the letter emphasised, “funds Islamic terror groups and their sleeper agents in the country….National security demands that cattle smuggling to Bangladesh end at once.” Based on these inputs, MHA has alerted state governments.
UP government had shown similar concern over the issue two years ago. On August 26, 2006, then director-general of police Bua Singh quoting secretary, border management, MHA, had claimed in a circular that “animals smuggled from West Bengal border number as high as 50 lakh to 60 lakh a year”. It also noted that “officers in Bangladesh regularize this illegal smuggling of cattle by levying 500 to 1,000 takas of penalty per animal and thereafter hand over its formal possession to smugglers.”
The trade, sources claim, could be generating Rs. 14,000 crore to Rs. 15,000 crore per annum. The operations involve a strong funnel-shaped network running through Rajasthan, Punjab, HP, Haryana, Uttarkhand and parts of MP. UP forms neck of the funnel and Bihar its stem which finally opens into West Bengal.
Lucknow - Manjari Mishra, TIMES NEWS NETWORK, ‘The Times of India’, Friday, 3 October 2008
Mohammed Irshad & Imran Choudhary filed a writ before the Supreme Court in September 2009 against the Union Of India and the States of Kerala, Sikkim, Maharashtra & West Bengal . The case was to bring about legislation in the 4 states against the slaughter of the cow and its progeny.The prayers were:
(a) Directions or orders requiring the respondents either jointly or singly to take effective , efficacious and appropriate legislative and executive measures for bringing about a total ban on the slaughter (Qurbani) of the cow and its progeny.
(b) Declare that the respondents have a non-optional, mandatory obligation to exercise its power under the Constitution to bring about such a legislation and its non-performance to be considered ultra vires and violative of its constitutional obligation.
(c) Pass any order or further orders as this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstances of the case.
Islam provides options to Muslims in offering ‘Qurbani’ or Abrahamic sacrifice of goats, sheep, (‘Menda’) and so on; therefore, it is not mandatory to offer Qurbani of cows, bulls, bullocks, buffaloes and such bovines. There are several FATWAS (decrees) issued by authorities of Islamic world regarding the inclusion of cows as sacrifice on the occasion of Edi-ul-Zuha being optional.
EXCERPTS FROM A LEGAL PETITION FILED BY MOHAMMAD HANIF QURESHI
Since the beginning of the Hindu religion in hoary past when the Vedic Samhitas were compiled recording its fundamental tenets, the word ‘cow’ has always been used and understood in a comprehensive and generic sense and includes within its scope and admit the female cow as also bulls and bullocks and in fact the entire progeny of the cow. The cow, understood in this wide and generic sense, has been accorded a prominent position by the religion of the petitioners as compared with its position in other religious and also with regard to other domesticated animals in the Hindu Society itself. It is treated as inviolable and un-killable and a paramount religious duty is cast on every Hindu to protect a cow from being done to unnatural and premature death by anybody industries the one not belonging to the Hindu religion. To the ancient Indian cow was never an economic commodity but a divine entity, which, by its grace, showers material and spiritual benefits and wealth on its votaries. Hence the long historical tradition of India has never included the cow as falling under a mercantile commodity with respect to which the right to slaughter it can be claimed as a trade, business or occupation. The cow is an integral, inseverable and fundamental part of the Hindu religion and its cites from the time immemorial and the Vedas, the oldest extant written record of the human race, merely record the spiritual and religious significance of the cow to Hindus. Thus being an integral part of the Hindu religion and enjoying a divine status therein, the cow forms a class by itself for the protection of which express injunctions have been made throughout the religious literature of Hindus: casting a heavy, imperative and paramount duty on them to protect it from being slaughtered or even maltreated.
Even the concept of secularism as enshrined in the Indian Constitution is founded on the age old Indian tradition of equal respect to all religions and the essential unity and indivisibility of humankind and of apparently separate religions. In order to transform this concepts of secularism into a living organism permeating the body politic of India and upon the foundation of which to build a truly multi-religious society which is informed with a unifying outlook, attitude and goal and which genuinely understands and respects the deep-rooted religious sentiments and spiritual ideals and vision, goal and aspiration, methods and means of their realization of each of the sections comprising it, requites that merely temporal affairs are separated from a community’s genuinely fundamental religious tenets and beliefs and affairs and adjust the former with the religion tenets, faith, sentiments, ideals and beliefs of another community in such a manner as never to permit the temporal to hurt, violate and disregard the activities and affairs which are undertaken in the course of discharging the peremptory religious injunctions for the realisation of their religious goal. Indian concept of secularism requires even to curb such temporal affairs and beliefs if they are antagonistic and opposed to and irreconcilable with the fundamental concepts and values and injunctions of another religion. They submit that secularism in India and the inherent requirement for its due and proper observance and regard thereto render it incumbent and obligatory on the part of the respondents to take all the necessary and appropriate legislative and executive measures so as to balance the competing interests of various religious communities which arise from the diversity of their beliefs and to curb those temporal affairs and practice which are though permissible under their respective religion in conflict with and derogatory and antagonistic to the fundamental and inseverable religious tenets, beliefs and injunctions of other religions. The petitioner further submits that only such a policy on the part of the Indian States, of which the respondents are integral parts, is conducive to the effective realisation of the Indian concept of secularism and is efficacious in protecting the fundamental right guaranteed by Article 25 of Constitution of India to a person if it is violated or is in danger of violation by any activity which may be merely permissible by but not an essential, inseverable, integral and fundamental part of religion of another.
In this connection, it is worth recalling that one Das C.J. referred to the historical background regarding cow slaughtering from the times of Mughal
emperors. Mughal Emperor Babur saw the wisdom of prohibiting the slaughter of cows by way of religious sacrifice and directed his son Humayun to follow this.
Similarly, Emperors Akbar, Jehangir and Ahmad Shah, it is said, prohibited cow slaughter. In the light of this historical background, it was held that a total ban on cow slaughter did not offend Article 25(1) of the Constitution.
In view of this settled legal position, it becomes obvious that if there is no fundamental right on the part of a Muslim to insist upon slaughter of a healthy cow on BakrI’d day; it cannot be valid grounds for exemption by the State under Section 12, which would in turn enable slaughtering of such cows on BakrI’d.
(Source: Founder chairman of the People for Animals Haryana Mr. Naresh Kadyan, Representative of the International Organisation for Animal Protection - OIPA in India, C-38, Rose Apartment, Prashant Vihar, Sector-14, Rohini, Delhi - 110085 and Mrs. Brindha Nandakumar, Advocate, Bangalore)
In the interests of communal harmony and respect for the age-old customs and beliefs of Indian culture, we see that protection of the cow and her progeny forms an integral part of Indian national unity and peace.
For those of us who grew up in villages, mention of the cow evokes nostalgia. Our dawn broke through the cowshed beside the house. Milking cows was a welcome early morning ritual for the mothers.
Our mother would enter the shed with a shining pot, lovingly stroke the cow on its back, calling it by its favourite name. The milk that the cow spared for the household nourished the whole family, especially the children, even as it nurtured its own calf.
The cow is a moving temple, being the abode of thirty- three crore gods of the Hindu pantheon. She has been giving us the sacred ‘Panchagavya’ with its immense medicinal value, being a moving hospital, as it were.
The cow is the mother of the universe (Gavo Vishwasya Matharaha). She is invaluable in agriculture, transportation, food, medicine, industry, sports, religious functions, emotional stability, economy, etc. From time immemorial, the cow has had a special place in Indian society.
Being part of farming, food, and medicine, and industry, the cow also contributes to the health of the environment.
· Ancient scriptures state that “Suryaketu” nerve on cow’s back absorbs harmful radiations and cleanses the atmosphere. The mere presence of cows is a great contribution to the environment.
· India has approximately 30 crore cattle. Using their dung to produce bio-gas, we can save 6.0 crore ton of firewood every year. This would arrest deforestation to that extent.
· Cowdung has an important role in preserving the environment.
· When we burn cowdung, it balances atmospheric temperature and kills germs in the air.
· Cowdung has antiseptic, anti-radioactive and anti-thermal properties. When we coat the walls and clean the floors of a house with cowdung, it protects the dwellers. In 1984, a gas leak in Bhopal killed more than 20,000 people. Those living in houses with cowdung- coated walls were not affected. Atomic power centres in India and Russia even today use cowdung to shield personnel from radiation.
· African deserts were made fertile using cowdung.
· We can reduce the acid content in water by treating it with cowdung.
· When we offer ghee in fire as part of ritualistic sacrifices, it strengthens the ozone layer and shields the earth from harmful radiations from Sun.
· Serious researchers have sought to establish an irrefutable link between the frequency of earthquakes and a concentration of large and increasing number of slaughterhouses.
The Joys of Cow-Based Farming
Indian agriculture has variety. There is no farm-product that we do not cultivate. Our land grows all kinds of grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits, flowers, cotton and silk. About 70% of our population has embraced agriculture as profession. Majority of them are small farmers, owning one or two acres of land. Our agricultural landscape is diverse and vivid – in land topology, soil type and quality, irrigation method and frequency of harvesting. Cattle are integral part of this huge canvas of agriculture. We use oxen to plough, to pick and move harvested crops, in irrigation, cow manure as fertiliser, and cow urine as insecticide.
Unique Role of the Cow in Agriculture:
· In our country with small holdings and small-scale farming, there is no better alternative to employing cattle in farming.
· While ploughing, the oxen stride with gentle gait, not harming the surface of the earth, unlike tractors.
· Even as they plough the land, the oxen defecate and urinate, fertilising the land.
· Cattle Manure: organic manure, green leaf manure, earth-worms, and slurry manure with cattle manure bond with the nature and make the land fertile. They do not create the challenge of chemical waste.
· 99% of the insects in nature are beneficial to the system. Insecticides prepared from cow urine or well fermented butter milk does not affect these helpful insects.
· Dung from one cow is adequate to fertilise 5 acres of land and its urine is can protect 10 acres of crop from insects.
· As per the Supreme Court, cow dung produced by one ox can support a family for 4 years.
· Oxen do not pollute the atmosphere.
Cattle in Transportation
India has more than 600,000 villages, many which do not have asphalted motorable roads. In hilly regions where even a horse cannot tread, oxen can pull their carts with ease.
· Boasting the largest railway network in the world, the Indian Railways transported 55.7 core tonnes of goods in 2004-05.
· In the same year, the humble ox carts transported 278.5 crore tonnes!
· In that year, trains moved 511.2 crore passengers while ox carts had 2044.8 crore customers!
· Oxen have carried up to 14 tonnes of goods non-stop for 24 hours, without water and food.
· Most importantly, the carts do not produce air or noise pollution. How important is it, then, that these hardworking and patient oxen ought to be given adequate food, water and rest for all of their invaluable contribution!
· Food from the cow is consumed from the start to the end of a meal.
A mother nursing her infant depends on cow’s milk for her own nourishment. A mother feeds her child for a year or two; thus the cow is a lifelong refuge for us all. The cow feeds its own calf and spares plenty for us, too.
Uses of cow products:
· Different popular beverages like coffee, tea, etc. require milk as an important ingredient.
· Scores of sweet dishes are milk-based.
· Curds, butter and ghee are an essential part of Indian meal. The taste of items deep-fried in ghee is unmatched.
· Buttermilk quenches thirst in addition to being a base for many popular dishes in our cooking.
Cow Products as Medicine
World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a combination of physical, mental, spiritual and social wholeness. WHO has also predicted that bacteria will become immune to antibiotics by the year 2020. That does not scare us!
We can depend on Panchagavya – milk, curd, ghee, cow urine and cow dung. These have excellent medical qualities individually as well as a concoction, without any adverse side-effect. In addition, if we are already under some other medication, consumption of panchagavya acts as a catalyst.
Ancient books on Ayurveda state that consumption of cow urine increases resistance to diseases by up to 104%. Note: increase to 104% is an increase of 4%. What do we mean?
Health from ‘Panchagavya’:
· Milk : The ‘Charaka Samhita’ states, “Milk is the best life strengthener.” While Casin protein in milk helps growth of infants, calcium and sulphur strengthen our bones. Milk is also rich in vitamins D and B-complex.
· Curd arrests diarrhoea, controls fat, and resists cancer.
· Ghee improves intelligence and beauty. It is used to treat eye diseases.
· Distilled cow urine is effective in treatment of flu, arthritis, bacterial diseases, food poisoning, indigestion, oedema, and leprosy.
· Panchagavya Mix: Various medical formulations like Panchagavya Ghrita, Amritasara, Ghanavati, Ksharavati, Netrasara etc. are invaluable medicines in the Ayurvedic system.
The Cow in Industry
Milk and milk products from the cow are used in preparing wholesome dishes and food products. Cow products are effective in treatment for cancer, hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, neurological problems, psychological problems, skin diseases, ENT problems, fever, cold, hair loss, etc. They can also be used in cosmetic products like soap, shampoo and beauty aids. They help in farming and provide manure and insecticides. We can get cooking gas and electricity from cowdung. The cow industry makes for practical good sense, good health and sound economy.
· India leads the world in milk production. In 1998 – 99, India produced 7.5 crore tonnes of milk. 70% of this produce is from small farmers.
· South India has more than 75,000 ‘gobar’ gas installations, achieved by the S.K.G. Society of Kolar.
· A scientist named Bug Jones established the Inland Energy Corporation in California. They collect 1500 tonnes of cowdung a day from the neighbourhood and produce 50 MW of electricity.
· The Gujarat State Government purchases cow urine at Rs. 3 per kg and cow dung at Rs. 2 per kg.
The Cow’s Role in Economy
· 70% of our people depend on agriculture. 98% of them depend on cattle-based agriculture.
· India produces more milk than all other countries.
· Goods carried by ox carts are 4 to 5 times as much as by trains. This saves considerable foreign exchange. E.g., Transportation worth Rs. 50,000 crore was effected by ox carts in 2005. If we expand our cow-based industry, the cow would have a defining stature in our economy. Sadly, its already important position in Indian society, culture, tradition and economy is neither understood nor appeciated by certain sections of persons residing in India.
(Source: Mr. Satbir Bedi, ‘You The Journalist’, 12/10/09)
Another journalist, Mrs. Roopashree Nagaraj, writes thus:
At the time of the Partition, our country's most fertile fields went to Pakistan. The same happened when Bangladesh came into existence. Due to this, the agricultural facilities for Indians experienced a shortfall. This was accompanied by mass migration to cities, especially among the younger generation. This resulted in famine in rural areas as there was no one to look after the fields there. Quality seeds and all the conditions needed for agricultural prosperity all disappeared. In order to survive, farmers started selling their cows for a price. The ancient picture of the Kamadhenu, the mythical cow which never dried up in dispensing milk and other cow products, and which was honoured in every home in those olden days, started fading. As a result, the various breeds of the cow, which were 70 in number, have decreased to 33.
The cow enjoys pride of place in Indian culture and heritage. Tradition has it that the Indian cow is the abode of 33 crore deities! Every portion of the physical cow is said to be the dwelling place of some divinity. The very syllable ‘GOU’ signifies the VEDAS. Thus, one who understands the Vedas and also understands the real and hidden value of the cow, is called GOVINDA.
In Indian tradition, when a cow is bestowed as a gift, man attains peace in both earthly and heavenly life. ‘Gou Daana’ is treated as the most sacred and beneficial gift. In southern India, on occasions such as ‘Pongal’ (a harvest festival), Deepavali or the Festival of Lights in the Hindu calendar, cows are specially decorated and offered worship because the cow is looked upon as representing the Goddess Lakshmi, giver of abundance. Even at the time of house- warming in traditional families, a cow is first made to enter the new house, the families following.
Ponwar, Kerighara, Vechora, Gangathiri, Gir, Devani, Kankrej, Nagori, Tharparkar, Namari, Kenkatha, Malavi, Dangi, Khilari, Amrithmahal, Krishna, Malenadugidda, Jawari, Hallikaru, Ongol, Kangayam, Amblacheri, Baraguru, Kasaragodu, Hariyana, Lalkandari, Goulava,Sahivala, Sindhi, Raati - these are some of the names, musical and resonant, of Indian cow breeds.
The five cow products, which are of immense health benefits, are too well-known to bear repetition. They are beneficial not only to human health but also to the environment and atmosphere.
Despite all the benefits that accrue to human beings from the cow, 20 cows are slaughtered in just one minute these days! Under the aegis of Robert Clive, the first slaughterhouse for cows was started in Calcutta in 1760. In 1947, the number of meat shops and slaughterhouses across India was said to number about 300; and now, they are estimated to be around 35,000!
Eating dry grass and drinking water from ponds, the cow yet yields forth milk and other products for the benefit of humankind. Should we not, therefore, protect the cow, which functions like a mother to the entire world? We ought to look upon her as a mother and even a divinity. She is a veritable treasure who must be saved even like Indian heritage and tradition. We must join hands in this noble endeavour.
(Source: Mrs. Roopashree Nagaraj, ‘Vijaya Karnataka’, 22 September 2009)
Ultimately, it is not so much what one believes, as how one acts, that is important. If you believe that the cow and her progeny are meant to be transported and killed in hideous agony only on account of your own personal and dubious ‘pleasure’ and ‘profit’, then you will think of these defenceless, placid and noble creatures merely as ‘brisket’, ‘shank’, ‘rib’ and so on: as cuts of meat to be eaten and disposed of via the sewage system.
If, on the other hand, the cow--the giver of abundance--and her progeny be viewed as the precious lives which indeed they are, you would not so readily be complicit in the deplorable cruelty which reduces them all to slabs of dead flesh to be traded off for filthy lucre and physical appetite.
Choose your viewpoint and mode of action wisely, for this is a matter of life and death: not merely for the cow and her progeny but for yourselves and our entire earth, our common home. For the flesh-eating habits of meat-eaters put all our lives and the planet itself at grave risk.
The last word on this topic must come from a great theologian of the 20th century, the Reverend Teilhard de Chardin, who said: “The earth is a sacred vessel; and nothing is profane to those who know how to see.”
The earth is indeed a sacred vessel, a gift beyond compare, beyond price. So, too, are her florae and faunae: our threatened and indispensable green cover; and the myriad wonderful living creatures, our fellow pilgrims on the voyage from birth to death, among whom we name, with respect, love and gratitude, the cow and her progeny.
N.B. The editor gratefully acknowledges the contribution of Founder chairman of the People for Animals Haryana Mr. Naresh Kadyan, Representative of the International Organisation for Animal Protection - OIPA in India, C-38, Rose Apartment, Prashant Vihar, Sector-14, Rohini, Delhi - 110085 , Mrs. Brindha Nandakumar, Mrs. M. R. Soundaryavalli and Mr. Sai Sanjay Pranesh.