Slow mooving traffic

I’ve mentioned earlier how crazy the traffic is in India. Aside from the bonkers car and rickshaw drivers, the roads have to contend with beggars, street hawkers, families piled onto motorbikes and, most randomly, cattle.

Cows are bloomin’ everywhere. They’re grazing on the motorway verges, they’re having baths in the canals where people are doing their washing and they’re hanging out on street corners like naughty teenagers who should be given asbos.

cow in road

I’d initially thought the gals were wandering around because they’d managed to become untethered from their farm stalls, but it turns out these are vagabonds on a religious basis.

You see, cows are sacred animals in the Hindu faith. I went to a Ghandi museum back in Delhi which had a quote from him about just how special they are in the religion (I can’t be bothrered to type it out, if you click on the photo you’ll be able to read it more clearly):

why cows are special
In a nutshell, this means cows can’t be slaughtered and they definitely can’t be eaten.

So if they can’t be culled because of reglious beliefs, what happens when a cow becomes too old to be productive anymore? Does a farmer just carry on feeding old Daisy, putting her into retirement as a thank you for being a smashing milk-producing machine over the years?

Erm, no. Daisy is surreptitiously turfed out onto the streets and left to look after herself. It might not be legal, but everyone does it and everyone turns a blind eye to it.

The cows eat anything they can get their hooves on, rifling through rubbish for food, often ingesting plastic bags and often suffering slow deaths as no one bothers to fetch the vets out for an ill ‘wild’ bovine. I was told that men with trucks patrol the roads so that, once they’ve popped their clogs, the cows are taken to a feed mill where they’re incinerated, made into chicken feed, are eaten by poultry and eventually – in a roundabout way – make it into the human food chain anyway.

According to another chap I spoke to, there is some shipment of cull cows closer to the Indian border to non-Hindu countries and states, but that practice is fairly limited. Some farmers even dare to risk a Hindu god’s wrath by running undercover slaughter houses, but apparently no one really acknowledges the practice is going on.

Even cows at big dairies will be let loose after they’ve stopped being useful, which means as European genetics start becoming more widespread, there could well soon be a load of friesians strolling down the streets.

Let’s just hope Indian farmers don’t get any ideas about Nocton-esque super dairies. I don’t think the roads could cope with that many cows being turfed out onto them.

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