In view of the deep feeling about the cow in Hinduism, what way have you thought bringing about an end to cow slaughter?
In the first instance you have to remember that in this country of ours where cow slaughter is so much discussed and where milk is respected, the cows and cattle are in the worst condition. They are not so badly off in Europe, America or in other countries of Asia. What does this mean? It is not only because our country India is poor, though it is so to a certain extent. But that is not the only reason. We do not take proper care of any animal whatsoever. We would not kill it, but we would starve it to death. If an animal like the horse is hurt and lies in the street, very few passers-by min our country would look at it. It would lie there and the people would pass on. This would never happen in Europe. Immediately passers-by and neighbours would come there, lift it and provide whatever help they can give. There is no feeling of worship for the animal, but a sense of being helpful. And whenever this sentiment of worship enters, we find that even common is not present.
Economic point of view:
Secondly, we may look at this problem of ending cow slaughter from the economic point of view. Economically speaking, leaving aside religion, it means that cow should be protected, should be well fed and should give a good quality of milk. We are not doing this adequately. At some places, of course, efforts may be going on. But the mere talk of stopping cow slaughter has resulted in lesser number of good milch cows. The standard keeps going down. Further, we know that in the Punjab and the Uttar Pradesh wild cows have formed herds which have gone out of control and damage the crops. So whatever our programme in this connection, it should take these points into consideration. I feel it is necessary to protect the cow and look after it properly for economic reasons. I have no religious feeling in this matter. But when I said so, people were displeased with me. I love animals too, but I love horses as much as cows. I mean I love all animals alike. I do not approve of ill-treating them. We have to think about the method of doing these things. Simply, getting excited about the slaughter of cows and asking for its stoppage would mean closing the door on ourselves and keeping no way out of our progress. The ultimate logic of this view implies that we have to turn our country into a cattle farm. I can understand that in our country India, the people have a special feeling for the cow. I respect it, but I feel it should be practiced intelligently.
There are many general remedies, but there are of the same type. First we have to see what our objective in this connection is. It should be that the cow should be in better health and the number of healthy milch cows should increase in the country. The greater quantity of milk it give the more valuable it would be. But the type of cows being helped by the agitation are the useless type and after all the people have to forsake such cows.
When I was in Bangalore for visiting in 1992 there was a cow giving 78 lbs. of milk. But I had heard that this cow gave at least 80 lbs. of milk. They gave it to me and I sent it also to Bangalore as the climate here did not suit it. It was used to a cold climate, so I had to think about where should send it. Ultimately I send it to Bangalore. In Switzerland, England and America also there are many cows giving, if not 80 lbs. of milk, at least 70 to 75 lbs.
Scientific point of view:
Even from the scientific point of view there should be no objection in this matter. What in your opinion would be the best way to protect such useful animal. I have said just now, we should look at it from the economic point of view and take care of it in order to improve its quality. nowadays we talk very much about birth control and I feel that such birth control is necessary even in the cases of cows. Particularly scrub bulls should not be encouraged.
There is also insemination nowadays....
There should be insemination and undesirable bulls should be rendered sterile through a simple operation so that no inferior cattle would be produced and there would be no necessity to destroy them.
Some people think those cows which no longer give milk or of being destroyed, be kept in jungles where there maintenance is possible without any particular expenditure. Their manure and their hide, bones, flesh and intestines after death should be put to scientific use so that the owner of such a cow may not be compelled to sell it to the butcher. For I might agree from sentimental point of view but I do not know how far it is possible. Are there any jungles left where we can leave such cows? Who will move about in search of such a jungle? If there is such jungle it might be a hundred miles a away. And secondly, as I have said, these cattle come out of the jungle and damage the crops. There are many difficulties in abandoning them in this way. There is no speedy solution to this problem. But the right way is to improve the breed the cow and lessen the production of the inferior cattle. Of course, we may look after useless cattle as far as possible.
"But the important point is that the proportion of good cows should increase."
If we agree with this, what steps is the Government taking in this direction?
The greatest effort is the setting up of milk colonies, as in Mumbai and Bengal, where the cows are well cared for and their quality is improved. Secondly, keeping them in such dairies has the benefit of preventing illness min the cities which can be caused by maintaining cattle within the city. It is all right of human beings and animals are together in the villages, but in the cities it is not good for both to live together. It creates too much congestion and harms both. This means that even in the cities there should be dairies organized at suitable places. Even you have your own cow you may put it in the dairy and not where you please. This method has been adopted in the milk colony at Mumbai. Similar methods are used in the world.
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