Want to save the cow? The 7 things we can do

At the moment, as an animal, the cow might be the most controversial animal in the world. Alleged murders are being carried out in the name of protecting the cow. Cries of human rights violation are being raised in the name of not being allowed to eat the cow.

The situation has reached such a state that whether you are communal or secular depends on whether you say “I love cows” or “I love eating cows”, respectively. Love cows? Shame on you! Go to the communal side. Love eating cows? Welcome to the secular club!

I belong to the “I love cows” camp, so there, no secular club for me, but I’m not going to lose my sleep over it. I love cows not in the sense I love dogs (dogs are adorable and cuddly) but I love cows because firstly, I like to believe I love all animals, and secondly, historically our culture and tradition considers them holy. Though, our historic love and veneration for cows doesn’t get much reaffirmation when you see the sorry state of the emaciated cows munching on garbage or the oxen being tortured to make them pull some cart faster.

Our society is full of contradictions but it doesn’t mean if we want to revere the cow we stop doing it because certain people ill-treat the cow or couldn’t care less whether you eat it or turn it into a carry bag. It would be like repealing all the laws that protect the minorities just because some members of the minority communities misuse these laws. We have to weigh the greater good against aberrations.

Various governments at their various stages of clarity and obfuscation have assured protection for the cow, but just like the Ram temple in Ayodha, in most of the cases the cow is used as an emotive issue to polarise people. If some serious effort is made, it is mostly made by voluntary organisations and private individuals.

But if people really want to save the cows it needs to be an all-out effort. Simply telling people not to eat cows, especially due to religious beliefs, isn’t going to be very fruitful. My suggestion would be, instead of lecturing people or forcing them, conducive conditions for cow-preservation must be created. Here are the 7 things that come to my mind:

1. Target the school curriculum books

Essay competitions can be organized on the benefits of keeping cows.

Schools should be encouraged to keep a cow or two and students should be given the responsibility of taking care of them and this activity should give them extra marks.

2. Encourage books and movies on cows

Munshi Premchand wrote Heera aur Moti -the story of two oxen who loved their owner and wouldn’t part with him. We should have more such stories.

3. Have cow parks in the cities

4. Create cow gift shelters

The same concept can be applied on cows. When a cow is gifted, the person who receives the cow doesn’t have to take the animal home. He or she can keep the animal in a shelter. For a monthly fee or a one-time fee the cow can be kept in the shelter and people can visit their cow whenever they want to.

5. Start an “Adopt a Cow Campaign”

6. Extra tax benefits for people running cow-based dairies

7. Declare cow the national animal

These are a few steps different state governments and private resident organisations and associations can take to save the cow.

I don’t care much about being politically correct. Things are just right or wrong and yes, sometimes there are grey areas in this is why we write, don’t we?