India: a Cow’s Paradise?

Dear Reader,

If you think about it, the life of a cow is something incredible to describe.
If you’re in the American continent, central and southern Europe, then I would say ‘poor cow!’… Inevitably, beef is part of our delicious diet. Go to Argentina and you will find that eating beef is a religion just as important as soccer.
Good for us but sad for them. Short life, lived in a farm if lucky, fed with chemicals most times and then slaughtered for our pleasure on a plate.
Now imagine for one second, dear Reader, as a cow going from this…

At Parrilladas El Gaucho you will find a beautiful map of a cow’s body. Each part of the cow has its special taste and obvious difference in price. I came here for lunch with my colleagues few years ago.

… to this

A woman worshipping a decorated cow during a Jainist festivity.

You’d probably think the second option is best for a cow.
In Hindu tradition, a cow is honoured and worshipped for many reasons: due their agricultural uses like tilling and fertilising the fields, due to their gentle nature, because they are a major source of dairy products. In a way, cows represent a form of caretaker and maternal figure for Hindus.

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As a result, cows are found literally everywhere you walk in India, ambling unmolested in traffic-choked streets, stationed at crossroads, stationed in front of markets and stores completely undisturbed.

In case of car accidents resulting in a injured cow, normally the latter should be taken to a hospital if a vet is not nearby. Truth is, most times they are left to die or starve.

Fond of this pond. Water buffalos enjoy just as much pleasure as their bovine cousins.


Calves, cows and bullocks may enjoy similar privileges but only the cow is sacred.
For example, bullocks are a minority and they are fed well because of that and used for agriculture purposes and mating as well as to preserve their inferior number. However important calves will be at some point, they are not useful until they reach maturity.
Healthy cows have to starve or feed on rubbish. Bullocks, not so sacred, are fed because India has too many cows and not enough bullocks.

However sacred these animals are, there are times where you really question it.

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These are cows I saw eating garbage. Most of cows in Rajasthan, i.e., are owned by dairy farmers who let them loose in the streets to look for free food instead of feeding them regularly. Some family can afford feeding their cattle only once a day. This way they ingest plastic bags, rotten food and garbage, resulting in a potential reduction in their milk production ability, poisoning and even death.

This is the reality. Can we really call it paradise?




16 thoughts on “India: a Cow’s Paradise?

    1. Hello Heidi,
      sad it is. Those who can afford to keep them neat they do, you can see their cattle in a fenced garden eating all day. Unfortunately that is a minority.

    2. Hi Heidi, it is indeed very sad. Thing is it comes down to desperation in the end as most of them truly can’t afford to feed them so they hope on the streets cows can find, if lucky, good things to chew.

  1. So Darcee & I just raced in a Rickshaw race from Ft. Kochin for two weeks all the way up to Jaiselmer and when we were getting our driving instructions, the first thing they told us was the higher archy of the road..Cows were #1 and untouchable. We laughed since darcee is from Wyoming and there are plenty of cows in cowboy country. But then you see them freakin everywhere! To be honest, Darcee didn’t like seeing them because most were starved and like your pics show eating trash and garbage. It was kind of sad

    1. Eric, you had a rickshaw race?? How cool is that? 😀 sounds like a lot of fun.

      Oh yes, I can imagine the different mentality of a Wyoming cow compared to an Indian one. Indian cows just don’t fear humans or anything…
      True that most cows you see are very skinny to the point that you can count their bones. Unfortunately it’s a reality of India and its farmers, unable to sustain their cattle properly.

      Thank you and Darcee for visiting my blog and I hope I can read more comments from you on my coming posts 🙂

        1. Absolutely true. And how about cows in the middle of cross roads?? That for me was the most impressive part. Indian drivers use the honk a lot, even excessively if you will, and cows seemed undisturbed by the chaos surrounding them. Incredible.

          1. Trust me I know about the insanity of the horns. They honk for everything…we tuned them out after the 2ND day of driving the Tuk Tuks. I saw many cows just chilling in the middle of the streets and we would have to not only swerve but also pay attention because they would just get up and clobber your car whenever. Not the smartest of animals

    1. Hi Shambhu, thanks for the discussion.
      The article is written from a Western perspective, in fact it’s very common to think that cows roam freely and live happily in India, that is why the “paradise” association is with a “?”

        1. It’s not about being shallow, it’s about cultural differences. People are free to pose questions and my post merely represented one of those questions 😉

  2. Whites HAVE to judge everything and everyone.
    This is due to two reasons:
    1) That they may feel better than others
    2) They may hide their own shortcomings
    If you were white, perhaps you would do so too.

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