Intro: Let the ban be enacted throughout India as done in Maharashtra. With that cow would help generate wealth in abundance and will make economic and ecological balance.
The cow has been a symbol of wealth in India since ancient times. It provides various dairy products, manages tilling of the fields and provides dung for fuel and fertiliser. The cow is elevated to the divinity in the Rig Veda, Atharva Veda and many other revered books. BJP-Sena Government in Maharashtra has succeeded in seeking the pending approval from the President for the ban on slaughter of cow and its progeny in the State.
The dairy industry of India is considered to be one of the largest industry in the world. India produces 100 million tonnes of milk, 25 per cent more than that of the US and three times that of China. The Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu are the states which make major contribution in the milk production.
During the last decade, India has achieved spectacular production of dairy products. The value of 1.6 lakh tonnes for the exported products during the year 2013-14 was 3,318 crore and the countries where export was carried out were Bangladesh, Egypt, UAE, Algeria, Yemen and Pakistan.
India exports about 15,000 crore of casein to Europe and the US. It is used by them to make cheese and paint. India has 134 million cows and 125 million buffaloes. In the year 2, 000 milk cattle was 313 million and milk production was 78 million tonnes (80 per cent of cow’s) and the dairy related farmers were 78 million.
The Sena-BJP Government in Maharashtra moved an amendment for the inclusion of bulls, bullocks and calves under schedule 5 of Maharashtra Animal Preservation Act. It was pending for approval for almost 19 years at the Centre. President Pranab Mukherjee accorded nod on March 2 this year to the amendment of complete ban on the slaughter of cows, bulls, bullocks and calves.
Before the ban, the State had 338 official and 144 unofficial abattoirs. The complete ban was mooted by the government because butchers probably slaughtered milk-giving cattle and for their skin, bones, and horns for sale and utility purposes. Beef industry in India do a two lakh crore worth of business. Out of this beef of Rs 40,000 crore is exported. There are 3,600 municipal slaughterhouses in India and at least 30, 000 illegal slaughterhouses.
Several other State governments and Union Territories have enacted cattle preservation laws in one form or the other but some have no legislation regarding this matter.
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy writes in The Importance of the Cow in Vedic Culture that, “Our West-influenced intellectuals sneer at the mention of the cow. The same intellectuals first sneered at yoga.” Now it is a fashion to do pranayam at cocktail parties.
On the contrary, UN report of 2006 says, raising animals for meat generates more gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined. The beef with 22 per cent protein ranks below soybean (43 per cent), groundnut (31 per cent) and pulses (24 per cent). Other countries are making efforts to improve cow’s milk for its quality and utility. China has successfully introduced human genes into 300 cows to produce “human” milk containing lysozyme enzyme that protects babies. The US prepares organic milk by treating them with hormones.
Let the ban be enacted throughout India. With that cow would help generate wealth in abundance. The cow protection makes economic and ecological sense.
Achyut Railkar (The writer has worked as a Project Management Consultant locally and abroad)