LORD KRISHNA- The Supreme Lord, the source of all other incarnation and everything is inseparable from His Cows. He is a cowheard boy (GWALA). The Supreme Lord loves His cows so much that He is called Gopal (protector of the cows), Govinda (one who gives pleasure to the Cows). Lord appeared in this world at a place called Gokul. But unfortunately we see today that most Yadavs feel ashamed for being called a gwala. Also, I have come across many Yadav families who do not drink milk or curd. But in the great traditions of the world, people associated with milk & milk producing animals are considered to be holy & pious. Jesus Christ compared himself to a shepherd (one who tends sheeps). Prophet Mohammed was a shepherd. In American & European society, cowboys are very much respected and they are the symbol of courage & generosity.
There are so many gwala jokes and unfortunately today Yadavs themselves are not able to appreciate the glories and great fortune of being associated with the cows. Anyone who uses gwala as a derogatory word is a great offender at the Lotus feet of the Lord. The foundation of Hindu Dharma or Sanatan Dharma is Gomata or the cows. In earlier days the wealth of a person was measured by how many cows (gau-dhan) he had. According to Vastu-Shastra, all vastu dosh is corrected in a house where cow is living. Cow is considered to be the mother, most loving entity.
Krishna lives in Goloka Vrindavana. That is the biggest spiritual planet and it is lotus-shaped. Goloka Vrindavana is much, much bigger than all the Vaikuntha planets plus all the material universes put together. And Krishna lives there. But what is that place. It is the "planet of the cows." It is simply a huge pasturing ground for Krishna's cows.
So we can see how much Krishna likes & love the cows. And from this you can understand how many problems and how much suffering is being caused in this world because cow killing is going on such a huge scale. In United States, about 1, 00,000 cows are slaughtered daily. Even in India 40 thousand cows are slaughtered daily or 1 crore 40 lacs annually.
Less intelligent people underestimate the value of cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is also called gorasa, or the juice from the body of the cow. Milk is the most valuable form of gorasa, and from milk we can prepare many important and valuable foodstuffs for the upkeep of the human body. The killing of cows by human society is one of the grossest suicidal policies, and those who are anxious to cultivate the human spirit must turn their attention first toward the question of cow protection. Today's society is so foolish that they are ready to pay 45 Rupees for a liter of Coco Cola or Pepsi, but do not want to pay 20 Rupees for a liter of Milk. All these cold drinks are so much harmful for the body and causes many diseases. Wheres cow's milk not only is good for the mind and body but also for the soul.
Protection and grazing ground for the cows are among the essential needs for society and the welfare of people in general. The animal fat required for the human body can be well derived from cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is very important for human energy, and the economic development of society depends on sufficient food grains, sufficient milk, and sufficient transportation and distribution of these products. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, by His personal example, taught us the importance of cow protection, which is meant not only for the Indian climate but for all human beings all over the universe.
That everything in the Vedik Culture is centered around service to God - Krishna. What He requests or orders, that is what we do. We are His servants, and thus act accordingly serving His culture - that of Human Civilization, Daivi Varnashram Dharma. The Cow is very dear to Krishna, and as anything dear to Krishna it is dear to His devotees. Thus the Cow and the Bull are the emblems of Vedic life.
That the Cow is a very useful member of the community. She provides much more milk than her calf can healthily consume, and that excess can be used to help in preparing foodstuffs to offer to the Deity, which in turn are offered to the people in general to consume.
That the bull is by nature a hard working creature and is happiest in the working environment, tilling the fields, and pulling carts. As a useful member of society he is honoured and respected and given all facility for a healthy and happy long life.
Thus the Cow and the Bull are like the Mother and Father of Vedic society nourishing and providing for those who are dependent upon them.
When the Cow and Bull are shown affection, and given love and protection, they also interact with humans in a friendly manner.
That if the Cow and the Bull are allowed to increase in population, and are allowed freedom to not be slaughtered, that they will over-run society.
The unfortunate way that we see Cows and bulls in the world today, where these poor animals are fattened and artificially impregnated to produce calves for the slaughter, and to keep them milking for longer is not what we regard as Cow Protection, and is certainly not adhered to in the Vedik - Krishna conscious culture - this is total exploitation of animals' rights.
The idea that humans have dominion over these animals with the intention to exploit or harm them, is as wrong as it be in the case of a king who has dominion over his people to exploit or harm them.
That animals have some kind of "different soul" to that of humans, and thus can be exploited, abused, made the brunt of vicious sports, and even eaten.
Animals and humans, as well as other creatures of the land, sea, and air are ALL spirit souls; we are ALL sons and daughters of the same Father. Those who are a little soft-hearted and less exploitive, the innocent, and children can see that the human eats, the animal eats; the human sleeps, the animals sleeps; the human mates, the animal mates; the human defends, the animal defends - the same things are there, the similar bodies are there, neither want pain and suffering, both want to be happy with their families and friends. Neither WANT to die.
We are supposed to worship cows and feed them by "Go-grasa" everyday. If not atleast on this special day we are supposed to worship cows and feed them. But in this age, if we can think of poor cows and try to help them to have a peaceful life, that would be more than a worship. Let us all pray for the poor and disabled cows and try to help those who are trying to protect them.
It wouldbe more meaningful if we can support and help those "go-samrakshana Kendras" trying to protect the cows from the butchers' hand.
According to information compiled by the United States Department of Agriculture, over ninety percent of all grain produced in America is used for feeding live stock - cows, pigs, lambs and chickens - that wind up on dinner tables. Yet the process of using grain to produce meat is incredibly wasteful. For example, information from the USDA's Economic Research Service shows that we get back only one pound of beef for every sixteen pounds of grain.
In his book Proteins: Their Chemistry and Politics, Dr. Aaron Altshul notes that in terms of calorie units per acre, a diet of grains, vegetables, and beans will support twenty times more people than a diet of meat. As it stands now, about half the harvested acreage in America is used to feed animals. If the earth's arable land were used primarily for the production of vegetarian foods, the planet could easily support a human population of twenty billion and more.
Living Cows Are an Economic Asset
It is quite clear that a living cow yields society more food than a dead one - in the form of a continuing supply of milk, cheese, butter, yogurt and other high-protein foods. In 1971, Stewart Odend'hal of the University of Missouri conducted a detailed study of cows in Bengal and found that far from depriving humans of food, they ate only inedible remains of harvested crops (rice hulls, tops of sugarcane, etc.) and grass. "Basically," he said, "the cattle convert items of little direct human value into products of immediate utility."
This should put to rest the myth that people are starving in India because they will not kill their cows. Interestingly enough, India recently seems to have surmounted its food problems, which have always had more to do with occasional severe drought or political upheaval than with sacred cows. A panel of experts at the Agency for International Development, in a statement cited in the Congressional Record for December 2, 1980, concluded, "India produces enough to feed all its people."
If allowed to live, cows produce high quality, protein rich foods in amounts that stagger the imagination. In America, there is a deliberate attempt to limit dairy production; nevertheless, Representative Sam Gibbons of Florida recently reported to Congress that the U.S. government was being forced to stockpile "mountains of butter, cheese, and nonfat dried milk." He told his colleagues, "We currently own about 440 million pounds of butter, 545 million pounds of cheese, and about 765 million pounds of nonfat dried milk." The supply grows by about 45 million pounds each week. In fact, the 10 million cows in American provide so much milk that the government periodically releases millions of pounds of dairy products for free distribution to the poor and hungry. It's abundantly clear that cows (living ones) are one of mankind's most valuable food resources.
Movements to save seals, dolphins, and whales from slaughter are flourishing - so why shouldn't there be a movement to save the cow? From the economic standpoint alone, it would seem to be a sound idea - unless you happen to be a part of the meat industry, which is increasingly worried about the growth of vegetarianism. In June 1977, a major trade magazine, Farm Journal, printed and editorial entitled, "Who Will Defend the Good Name of Beef?" The magazine urged the nation's beef-cattle raisers to chip in $40 million to finance publicity to keep beef consumption and prices sky high.
You're Paying More than You Think for Meat
The meat industry is a powerful economic and political force, and besides spending millions of its own dollars to promote meat-eating, it has also managed to grab an unfair share of tax dollars. Practically speaking, the meat production process is so wasteful and costly that the industry needs subsidies in order to survive. Most people are unaware of how heavily national governments support the meat industry by outright grants, favorable loan guarantees, and so forth. In 1977, for example, the USDA bought an extra $100 million of surplus beef for school lunch programs. That same year, the governments of Western Europe spent almost a half-billion dollars purchasing the farmers' overproduction of meat and spent additional millions for the cost of storing it.
More tax dollars go down the drain in the form of the millions of dollars the U.S. government spends each year to maintain a nationwide network of inspectors to monitor the little-publicized problem of animal diseases. When diseased animals are destroyed, the government pays the owners an indemnity, For instance, in 1978 the American government paid out $50 million of its citizens' tax money in indemnities for the control of burcellosis, a flulike disease that afflicts cattle and other animals. Under another program, the U.S. government guarantees loans up to $350,000 for meat producers. Other farmers receive guarantees only up to $20,000. A New York Times editorial called this subsidy bill "outrageous," characterizing it as "a scandalous steal out of the public treasury." Also, despite much evidence from government health agencies showing the link between meat-eating and cancer and heart disease, the USDA continues to spend millions promoting meat consumption through its publications and school lunch programs.
Another price we pay for meat-eating is degradation of the environment. The United States Agricultural Research Service calls the heavily contaminated runoff and sewage from America's thousands of slaughterhouses and feedlots a major source of pollution of the nation's rivers and streams. It is fast becoming apparent that the fresh water resources of this planet are not only becoming polluted but also depleted, and the meat industry is particularly wasteful. In their book Population, Resources, and Environment, Paul and Anne Ehrlich found that to grow one pound of wheat requires only 60 pounds of water, whereas production of a pound of meat requires anywhere from 2,500 to 6,000 pounds of water. And in 1973 the New York Post uncovered this shocking misuse of a valuable national resource - one large chicken slaughtering plant in America was found to be using 100 million gallons of water daily! This same volume would supply a city of 25,000 people.
The wasteful process of meat production, which requires far larger acreages of land than vegetable agriculture, has been a source of economic conflict in human society for thousands of years. A study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition reveals that an acre of grains produces five times more protein than an acre of pasture set aside for meat production. An acre of beans or peas produces ten times more, and an acre of spinach twenty-eight times more protein. Economic facts like these were known to the ancient Greeks. In Pato's Republic the great Greek philosopher Socrates recommended a vegetarian diet because it would allow a country to make the most intelligent use of its agricultural resources. He warned that if people began eating animals, there would be need for more pasturing land. "And the country which was enough to support the original inhabitants will be too small now, and not enough?" He asked Glaucon, who replied that this was indeed true. "An so we shall go to war, Glaucon, shall we not?" To which Glaucon replied, "Most certainly."
It is interesting to note that meat-eating played a role in many of the wars during the age of European colonial expansion. The spice trade with India and other countries of the East was an object of great contention. Europeans subsisted on a diet of meat preserved with salt. In order to disguise and vary the monotonous and unpleasant taste of their food, they eagerly purchased vast quantities of spices. So huge were the fortunes to be made in the spice trade that governments and merchants did not hesitate to use arms to secure sources.
In the present era there is still the possibility of mass conflict based on food. Back in August 1974, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) published a report warning that in the near future their may not be enough food for the world's population "unless the affluent nations make a quick and drastic cut in their consumption of grain-fed animals."
Saving Money with a Vegetarian Diet
But now let's turn from the world geopolitical situation, and get right down to our own pocketbooks. Although not widely known, grains, beans, and milk products are an excellent source of high-quality protein.
Pound for pound many vegetarian foods are better sources of this essential nutrient than meat. A 100-gram portion of meat contains only 20 grams of protein.(Another fact to consider: meat is more than 50% water by weight.) In comparison, a 100-gram portion of cheese or lentils yields 25 grams of protein, while 100 grams of soybeans yields 34 grams of protein. But although meat provides less protein, it costs much more. A spot check of supermarkets in Los Angeles in August 1983 showed sirloin steak costing $3.89 a pound, while staple ingredients for delicious vegetarian meals averaged less than 50 cents a pound. An eight-ounce container of cottage cheese costing 59 cents provides 60% of the minimum daily requirement of protein. Becoming a vegetarian could potentially save an individual shopper at least several hundred dollars each year, thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime. The savings to America's consumers as a whole would amount to billions of dollars annually. Considering all this, it's hard to see how anyone could afford not to become a vegetarian.
For any society Cows are the barometer of non-violence. One can tell by seeing how cows are treated in a particular society & can tell how peacefull is that society or nation. Unfortunately, in India, cows are being slaughtered. Even after its banned in almost all states of India, nobody cares to implement the law and save the mother cows. As a Yadav its prime duty of our community to do whatever they can do for saving cows. Love the cows, drink cow milk. Eat cow curd and cow milk products. This can be your first step towards loving the cows.
The Srimad Bhagavad-Gita
and the Sacredness of All Cows
Lord Krishna states in Srimad Bhagavad-Gita: chapter 10, verse 28
dhenunam asmi kamadhuk
dhenunam-among cows, asmi-I am, kamadhuk-the wish fulfilling cow
Among cows I am the wish fulfilling cow.
In this verse Lord Krishna reveals that among cows He is manifested as the kamadhuk meaning kamadhenu the original wish fulfilling cows known as the surabhi cows. Just who and what are the surabhi cows and how the surabhi cows attained such an elevated and exalted position that they are able to represent a portion of the energy of the supreme Lord Krishna will be revealed in the following information given in the Anusasana Parva of the Mahabharata by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasa.
The surabhi cow descended from the spiritual worlds and manifested herself in the heavenly spheres from the aroma of celestial nectar for the benefit of all created beings. The direct descendants of the surabhi cows are the sacred cows from the continent India which are uniquely distinguished the same as the surabhi by the beautiful hump on their backs and the wonderfully soft folds of skin under their necks. Since all cows in existence in the world today are factual descendants of the sacred cows of India they are all holy as well and should always be lovingly cared for and protected with the highest esteem and greatest respect. One should never cause harm to cows in any way even in a dream and one should never ever even think of eating the flesh of cows as there is no action more sinful in all of creation then cow killing.
Cows are the mothers of all creatures. Cows are verily the mothers of the 33 crores of demigods that administrate creation in the material existence throughout all the universes. Cows are the goddesses of the gods and the refuge of all auspiciousness. Cows bestow every kind of happiness and for these reason they always are worshippable. Cows are the support of all the worlds for by their milk they nourish terrestrials beings and by their ghee offered in sacrifice they nourish the denziens of the celestial realms. Nothing superior to cows.
A cow should not be owned by one who is a killer of cows or a seller to killers of cows, by one who is unrighteous, by one who is sinful, by one who is untruthful in speech, and by one who is outside of the Vedic culture nor should cows ever be given to one such as these. Gifts of cows should be made after ascertaining and determining the qualification of the receiver. Cows should never be given unto those whose residence they are likely to suffer from fire or sun. Cows should always be given away accompanied by their calves. Those cows who have been rescued from situations of distress or have been received from humble farmers unable to continue to take care of them properly are considered to be most auspicious.
One should never show disrepect for cows in any way nor should one feel any repugnance towards the urine and dung of a cow because these things are also pure. When cows are grazing or laying down relaxing one should never disturb or annoy them in any way. Cows should never be killed in any type of sacrifice or slaughtered in any way for food as the killing of cows constitutes the most heinous of all sins in existence.
Cows are the foremost of all creatures in all the worlds. It is from cows that the means for sustaining the worlds has established. Cows are auspicious and sacred and the bequeathers of every blessing. Cows benefit humans with milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter and ghee. The Vedas have stated that the milk of a cow is equivalent to ambrosial nectar and that ghee derived from cows milk is the best of all libations poured onto the sacred fires of brahmins.
Cows of various kinds and diverse colors are always worshippable. They are the foremost of all creatures existing in all of creation. Morning and evening one should bow ones head in reverence to cows. One should never show any disregard to cows in any way but should always show them respect. When one awakes in the morning one should always remember cows. Before falling to sleep at night one should always remember cows. Cows are always auspicious. Cows are also fragrant. The wonderful scent of the amytis agallochum emantes from out of their sacred bodies.
Cows are the great refuge of all creatures. Cows constitute the greatest source of blessings for all creatures. Cows are the past. Cows are the future. Cows are the source of evolution and eternal growth. Cows are the root of prosperity. Whatever is given to cows always produces good fortune and is never in vain. It is solely and exclusively from the ghee of cows that the sacred rituals prescribed and authorised in the Vedas are empowered and able to be performed. Without the presence of cows ghee there is no possibiity of performing sacred rituals that will gratify the 33 million demigods who are responsible for universal management. Neither will the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna be pleased and satisfied. Ghee comes exclusively only from cows from whom flow offerings of milk and milk products. Thus cows verily establish the purity of all sacred rituals and constitute the very essence of performing all sacred activities being the very source of sacred activities.
Cows represent sacred acts themselves and without cows there can be no performance of any sacred act. This is the pure, sublime and supremely exalted position and pre-eminence of cows above all creatures in all the worlds. One who knows the pre-eminence of cows and the selfless service cows render to all creatures and does not protect them affectionately is a sinner and offender and their destination is certainly hell. Cows are equal to the rays of the sun that travel through the universe giving light, warmth and nourishment.
In previous yugas the Vedic injunction was given jiyaite pare yadi tabe mare prani veda-purane ache hena ajna vane that means in the Vedic scriptures known as Puranas there are injunctions declaring that one can take the life of a living being only if they are able to revive it back to life again by chanting Vedic mantras. But we find that this injunction has been terminated in todays age of kali yuga by the Brahma-Vaivarta Purana where it is stated that in the present age of kali yuga it is forbidden to kill cows under any circumstances.
Cows are equivalent to our mothers for when the mothers milk has dried up the cow gives her milk unselfishly to noursih and strengthen us. How can one who has ever drunk cows milk justify the killing and eating of such a mother as the sacred cow. One should never even in one's mind do injury to a cow or ever think of harming cows as well as bulls. One should show all respect and compassion for cows and sincere reverence should be offered unto them all without reservation.
Those who fail to give cows reverence and protection and choose to foolishly oppose and whimsically ignore the injunctions of the Vedic scriptures by selling a cow for slaughter, by killing a cow, by eating cows flesh and by permittings the slaughter of cows will all rot in the darkest regions of hell for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of each cow slain. There is no atonement for the killing of a cow.
In Sri Caitanya Caritamrita adi lila, chapter 17 verse 166 Caitanya Mahaprabhu confirms:
go-ange yata loma tata sahasra vatsara
go-vadhi raurava-madhye pace nirantar
Cow killers and cow eaters are condemned to rot in hell for as many thousands of years as there are for each hair on the body of every cow they eat from.
In comparison to the contrary, sanctified living beings with purified souls that make gifts of cows to worthy twice born in the three higher ashrams established in the Vedas attain celestial realms for as many years as there are hairs upon the body of the cows given away in charity. There is no gift higher in merit than the gift of cows to a Vaisnava or duly initiated brahmana of the Vedic culture in one of the four authorised sampradayas.
Cows constitute the highest good. Cows are the root of great blessing for all living beings.. Cows are the source of eternal growth. Cows are the past and the furure. Evolution itself depends upon cows. The mantras used for Vedic rituals such as Swaha and Vashat without which no Vedic rites are complete are eternally establishe d in cows. Cows verily are the fruit of all Vedic rituals because all Vedic rituals are dependent upon the ghee from cows for the performance of sacred rituals which benefit all of creation. Thus the protection of cows is the greatest dharma or eternal duty for all living beings.
There is no wealth that is equal to cows. To talk about cows, to hear others speak about cows, to offer gifts of cows to worthy people and to see cows are all auspicious activities. There is never any inauspiciousness in cows. On Earth cows represent high energy and are endued with the elements of strength and energetic exertion. There are also elements of great wisdom in cows and they are bestowers of great happiness upon all creatures. The country or nation where cows are protected and live without fear of slaughter becomes exalted and the sins of that country are evaporated. Cows constitute the stairs that lead to heaven. Cows are adored in heaven. Cows are goddesses competent to grant every righteous wish and desire. Verily there is nothing in the worlds more elevated or superior to cows.
Cows are superior to all yogis and ascetics and because of this liberated divine being perform their austerities in the company and presence of cows. Cows do not feel cold or heat nor can rain afflict. Cows are never to be sacrificed they are to be given as gifts to worthy brahmanas. The ruler who gives gifts of cows to the foremost of brahmanas is sure to overcome every calamity he encounters. It is ordained in the eternal Vedas that ghee from the cow is the best of all ingredients offered as libations into the sacrificial fire. For this reason one who makes a gift of a cow to worthy brahmanas who will then use the ghee from this cow to perform Vedic ceremonies, that fortunate gifter is regarded as making a gift of a libation for sacrifice. A bovine bull is considered to be the embodiment of heaven. One who offers a bovine bull to an accomplished brahmana has factually reserved themselves a place in heaven. Cows that have been rescued and protected and cared for in distress give even more merit as well as cows received from persons in distress due to an inability to properly take care of their cows.
A cow must never be given to a tiller of soil. Only a bovine bull may be given to a tiller of soil but never a cow. Neither a cow or a bull should ever be given unto one who will kill them. Nor should a cow or a bull be given unto an atheist or one who makes a business selling or trading cows. The Vedas have stated that one who gives away cows or bulls to such sinful persons suffers interminably in a hellish condition.
There is no gift that is higher in merit than the gift of cows. A cow lawfully acquired if given away in charity protects the whole dynasty of the giver. Cows are the source of that immortality which Vedic sacrifices prescribe. They have within them the nature of both the sun and the moon. Cows verily constitute and determine the eternal destiny of creation.
Cows are the life breath of all living creatures therefore one who makes a gift of a cow is said to be making a gift of life breath to all living creatures. Cows are also constituted as the great refuge of all living creatures thus one who makes a gift of a cow is said to be making a gift of that which is the great refuge of all living creatures.
When the surabhi cows first manifested from the aroma of ambrosial nectar they performed severe penance for 100,000 years for the purpose of acquiring the spiritual merit to be the foremost of all things needed for the performance of Vedic rituals and ceremonies; thus only from cow milk exclusively is sanctified ghee produced for the performance of Vedic rituals. Whatever is produced from any and all other types of milk is not authorised by Vedic scriptures and thus not being sanctioned by the Vedas can never be used in any Vedic rituals or ceremonies.
At the conclusion of the surabhi cows austerities Brahma himself appeared before them and granted their wishes blessing them with the benediction that cows would eternally be the sustainers of all creatures. This is why cows are sacred and most holy and the foremost of all creatures in creation and verily the refuge of all the worlds.
The cow is extremely important regarding the destiny of the total human species in all the worlds and creation itself that her value is impossible to overestimate. The name for cow in the Vedas is known as aghyna which means invioable. Another name is ahi which means not to be killed and another is aditi which means never to be cut into pieces.
Some scholars and indologists in India as well as from western countries without having ever experienced the Vedic culture as a way of life have speculated that cows and other animals were sacrificed in Vedic ceremonies. They take unorthodox interpretations of obscure verses in the Vedas, out of context to postulate this point of view. Two examples of this we are giving as follows.
First in the Satapatha Brahmana, 184.108.40.206 there is a gross interpolation from western scholars echoed by indolologists around the world that the great sage Yajnavalkya would eat the tender meat of cows and bulls. The word dhenu which they translated as cow factually refers to the milk products of the cow only and not the cow herself and the sanskrit word anaduh factually refers to the grains produced by the bull from ploughing the fields. What exactly Yajnavalkya has stated in this verse is that he can eat what is amsala. The interpolators, some being ignorant and some not so ignorant of the rules of Panini have translated amsala as being tender flesh. Panini is the authority on all matters concerning the rules of Sanskrit grammar and according to sutra 5.2.8 of Panini the word amsala can only mean nourishing and strength bestowing. Also in the Amarakosa 2.6.44 it states that amsala is mamsala which never applies to flesh tender or otherwise. Mamsala specifically aplies to cream and sweets made from milk products as well as fresh and dried fruits. So there is no basis according to sastra for translating amsala as flesh.
Secondly some scholars with an extremely limited fund of knowledge want to postulate that meat was an essential ingreient of madhuparka because of one verse in the Rig Veda VI.44.21 which equates Indra as having the strength of a bull and also mentions the sweet drink madhupeya. So they then interpolated the translation to say that bull meat was a part of madhuparka. In this way due to their academic status they are able to mislead the public. The root word madhu means sweet and is sometimes even referred to honey. In the Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary page 780 the meaning of madhuparka is offerrings of honey and milk also sometimes containing equal parts of curds and ghee to a respected guest. No where in the Vedas can be found any reference to meat being an ingredient of madhuparka.
So other examples like the previous two interpolators have found useful for their obscure translations; but the clear, direct, unequivocal statements found throughout the Vedas against cow killing they ignore. We will give a few relevant examples now.
In the Rig Veda X.87.16 we find: One who partakes of human flesh, the flesh of a horse or of another animal and deprives others from milk by slaughtering cows ; if such a fiend does not desist then even cut off their heads by your powers Oh king.
In the Atharva Veda VIII.6.23 we find: Those who eat cooked or uncooked flesh, who eat eggs and embryos are following an evil addiction that must be put to an end
In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 11, chapter 5, verse 14 we find: Those who are ignorant of the absolute truth and believe they are virtuous although wicked and arrogant who kill animals without any feeling of remorse or fear of punishment are devoured by those very same animals in their next birth.
In the Mahabharata, Anusasana-parva, 115.43 -116.45 we find: That wretch among men who pretending to follow the path of righteousness prescribed in the Vedas, would kill living creatures from greed of flesh would certainly go to hellish regions.
In the Manu-samhita, chapter 4, verse 162 we find: A guru, a teacher, a father, a mother, a brahmana, a cow and a yogi all should never be killed.
Even in the Old Testament of the Bible which applies to both Christians and Jews in Issaih, chapter 66 verse 3 we find: He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man. He that sacrifices a lamb is as if he slit a dogs neck, he that offereth it as an oblation is as if he offered swines blood, he that burneth it as incense as if he blessed an idol. Yea they have chosen their way and their soul delighteth in their abominations.
In the Mahabharata, Anusasana-parva, 114.6, 115.6 it states: As the footprints of all moving, living beings are engulfed in those of the elephant, even thus all religions are to be understood by ahimsa which is non-violence to any living being by thought, words or actions.
So from these examples it can be clearly understood that cow killing and cow eating were definitely not sanctioned by the Vedic scriptures to the contrary they were condemned; and also according to the authority of the Bible cow killing is not sanctioned in the Christian religion either.
Just recently in the year 2000 the publication Scientific America reported a complete Cow Human Genome comparison had been completed. Among the 768 genes on the cattle RH map, 687 genes or 89.5% had putative human orthologs. Among the 687 mapped genes, 548 genes had human GB4 RH mapping information. 22 were mapped exclusively on the G3 panel and 68 had human cytogenetic assignments exclusively.
All cow chromosomes with the possible exception of BTA9 and BTA23 have centromere repositioning relative to human chromosomes. Four cattle chromsomes show complete conservation of syntegy with their human homologs. The four are: BTA12 and HSA13, BTA19 and HSA17, BTA24 and HSA18, BTAX and HSAX . For all of these chromosomes multiple rearrangements were observed. BTA3 was the only cow chromosome that showed no internal rearrangments when compared with the homologous segment on HSA1. Fifteen cattle chromosomes are seen to be comprised of genes found on only one human chromosome.
Cow milk is the most compatible with human mothers milk then any other species in existence. This is because the DNA of the cow was specifically constructeds to be harmonious with mammalian human DNA. So it can be clearly understood that cow DNA was designed so humans could benefit from cows products being milk, cheese, butter, cream and yoghurt.
We will end our treatise now as we do not want this discourse to be to voluminous.
This knowledge is highly esoteric and confidential and incomprehensible to those outside the purview of the Vedic culture. It can only be known by that segment of society that is spiritually developed enough to completely abstain from all animal killing and flesh eating while understanding that the soul is eternal and exists in all living beings.
India is the world’s largest producer of milk. But in 10 years, we will be forced to start importing it. And the Indian cow will no longer exist.Jay Mazoomdaar investigates a looming disaster
Photo: Vijay Pandey
MILK IN INDIA, is not just a drink, it is an elixir. For almost every Indian — rich or poor — the idea of a daily glass of milk holds a potent and emotional charge. It speaks of parental devotion, well-being and health. This faith in the power of milk is well-grounded: it is the primary nutrient for the young and the old. Nearly 63 percent of animal protein in the Indian diet comes from dairy products. For vegetarians, there is simply no alternative.
The idea of the cow, of course, is also emotively charged because of its mythical place in Hindu iconography, religion and culture: it is quite literally worshipped as goddess Kamdhenu: the cow of plenty. Premchand famously captured its centrality to Indian village life with his memorable tableau of grazing herds returning home at dusk in a cloud of dust, creating the magic hour of “godhuli”.
Again, this veneration is founded in hard pragmatics. Traditionally, India has been home to some of the most varied stock of cows in the world: the red-skinned Sahiwal that milks through droughts, the mighty Amrit Mahal with swords for horns or the tiny Vechur that stands no taller than a dog. Different breeds to suit different climatic conditions. These cows have been the most crucial backbone of India’s rural economy. Low on maintenance costs, their milk yield has not only been a succor and source of nutrition for otherwise impoverished families, their surplus has been sold by small farmers to State-run cooperatives and private companies, which further package and sell them to urban households under brands such as Amul, Vijaya, Verka, Saras, Nestle and Britannia.
The importance of cows to India’s economy, therefore, just cannot be overestimated. India is the world’s largest producer of milk. A whopping 68 percent of these milch animals are owned by small and landless farmers; their produce is distributed through over one lakh village milk cooperatives, which have more than 1.1 crore members. These arteries interconnect every strata of the country. In fact, milk is a bigger driving force for India’s agro-economy than paddy, wheat or sugar.
But in a mere 10 years, all of this could disappear. India is at the precipice of a disaster that no one seems to be trying to avert. In the run up to India’s 66th Republic Day, here’s a really sobering thought: the indigenous Indian cow — one of the country’s biggest assets — will soon cease to exist and we will be forced to import milk within a decade. This is going to have catastrophic and unimagined impact on lakhs of people.
Predictably, an almost criminal lack of government planning and foresight is responsible for this. India does possess the world’s biggest cattle herd, but typically, the individual yield of these malnourished cows is very low. Merely helping small farmers increase their cows’ food and water intake could have had miraculous results. (Indian cows, for instance, are doing really well in Brazil. In 2011, a pure Gir named Quimbanda Cal broke its own 2010 record of delivering 10,230 kilolitres of milk a year, with a daily yield of 56.17 kilolitres.) But instead of focussing on — and improving — the reasons why the yield of these cows was low in India, the government in the 1960s started crossbreeding Indian cows with imported bulls and semen.
This practice was followed more indiscriminately with every passing decade. Over time, it’s triggered a two-pronged crisis. On the one hand, it has set off a systemic destruction of the indigenous Indian cow, which includes precious breeds developed over a millennium. On the other hand, the new exotic crossbreeds have not adapted to Indian conditions yet. In theory, these crossbreeds are capable of very high milk yields, but their capacity suffers drastically as the cows are very vulnerable to tropical weather and diseases. Unlike the indigenous cow, they also need to be kept in very high-cost, air-cooled, all-weather shelters, and require expensive stall feeding and medical care.
Clearly, the small farmer is not equipped to bear these costs of rearing exotic crossbreeds. But because of official negligence, the low-maintenance, weather-resistant local breeds are continuing to deteriorate. Rearing cattle, therefore, is fast becoming unviable for small farmers. Lakhs of them are facing a loss of livelihood; soon their families will not have access to their basic daily glass of milk — unless they can afford to buy it from big dairies with deep pockets.
But the brewing crisis does not end there. The obliteration of the desi cow will impact urban consumers too. In the next 10 years, as the new order of industrial dairy production begins to dominate, from being self-sufficient, India will not only have to import a large percentage of its milk demand, but will also become heavily dependent on importing everything from exotic semen to cattle feed for the exotic crossbreeds reared within the country. By controlling these key inputs, foreign markets will eventually decide the price we pay for exotic milk. Incidentally, unlike the milk from desi breeds, this milk is unsuitable for those susceptible to diabetes and cardiovascular problems.
The advantages of the exotic crossbreeds are also extremely shortlived: their yield may be higher in the short term but they also run dry much quicker. Even exotic bulls are not nearly as hardy as the desi ones. This is triggering a separate crisis. Millions of these crossbreeds are being abandoned by owners the moment they run dry as they cannot afford their high-nutrition diet and costly healthcare. Not only are feral cattle a civic nuisance, supporting these unproductive animals is stretching the country’s already limited resources. According to a recent survey by the Punjab Gausewa Board (PGB), 80 percent of the state’s nearly one lakh stray cattle are exotic crossbreeds. Alarmed, the PGB Chairman Kimti Bhagat is leading an agitation against the state’s pro-exotic policy.
Finally, as the gene pool of the indigenous Indian cow is allowed to fade away, if some epidemic triggers a population slide in our cattle — already made vulnerable by its high percentage of exotic strains — there will be no scope for corrective intervention.
So here we are, heading with suicidal speed towards jeopardising our food security, ruining the backbone of our agro-economy and handing the control of our dairy industry to foreign markets. There are many reasons why India is poised on the edge of this disaster: each of them reads like a novella of frustration.
ONE OF the main reasons for India’s looming milk crisis — and the disappearance of India’s desi cows — is a faulty premise in official thinking about exotic crossbreeds (which no government has tried to revise despite contrary facts on ground). Add to this, a deliberate misrepresentation of the viability of desi cows and you have a window into why India will soon become an import-dependent nation.
Here’s how the story unfolds. Since 1951, milk production in India has jumped from 17 to 122 million tonnes. This might seem a positive figure, but the number is deceptively misleading because India also has the highest number of cattle in the world — 200 million — which brings the average yield in milk per animal down to only 3.23 kg. The global average is 6.68 kg.
In the next 10 years, the projected demand for milk in India will touch 180 million tones. The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) warns that if India cannot keep pace, it will have to start importing milk, leading to higher consumer prices.
Unfortunately, the response to this warning is completely knee-jerk. Governments across the country are racing to replace the desi cow even faster with exotic crossbreeds. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is planning an advanced institute of dairy farming in Mohali, in collaboration with an Israeli firm. Earlier, the state had roped in an American company to source high-quality semen. In Kerala, the animal husbandry department wants to import improved cattle breeds from Denmark to crossbreed with local cows. The NDDB itself is planning to import 100 high-yield Holstein Friesian and 300 Jersey bulls in the next five years.
At a surface glance, this might seem a great option. Rajbir Singh, a middle-range farmer, who owns a large dairy farm in a village near Karnal in Haryana might certainly think so. In 2009, two of his Friesian crossbred cows — Ganga and Yamuna — were showcased by the National Dairy Research Institute in Karnal as India’s highest ever milk yielders at 51.5 and 59.5 kg a day.
Last year, Yamuna, the younger of the two, died of reasons still unidentified. But Ganga remains the most remarkable of many success stories in the region where 30-35 kg milk from exotic crossbreeds is commonplace. Governments across the decades too have routinely bought into this idea that imported exotics would achieve a daily yield of 30 kg and above. Unfortunately, the facts on ground prove otherwise. Success stories like Ganga are rare: despite the huge costs in rearing them, the national average yield from exotic crossbreed cows in India stands at 6.62kg.
Contrast this with Israel. In just four decades, a dairy-deprived Israel has developed its own Friesian crossbreed cattle that have consistently started giving 26 kg of milk daily. After five decades of expensive effort, the exotic crossbreeds in India produce only one-fourth that quantity. Despite this, governments insist on pursuing this policy. Their defence is that even at 6.62 kg, the average yield of exotic crossbreeds in India is still thrice that of desi cows, which averages at 2.2 kg.
It would’ve been a relief if even that fig leaf had been true. Unfortunately, it is not. A crucial defect in India’s myopic milk policy is an over-valuation of the benefits of exotic crossbreeds and an undervaluation of the robustness of desi cows.
INDIAN COW breeds are a crucial part of the country’s ecological heritage. Since ancient times, different breeds were developed in different parts of the subcontinent by selecting the best animals for preferred traits such as their milking capacity, draught power, feeding requirements, capacity to adapt to local weather, immunity, etc. The purity of such breeds was maintained with great discipline and wisdom in each geographical pocket known as a breeding tract.
Over time, unfortunately, this social rigour was lost. Indiscriminate mating between different breeds and inferior animals within the same breed resulted in a high number of cattle of poor genetic quality. These non-descript animals today accounts for 80 percent of India’s cattle. At no point, in the past 65 years, did any government think of stepping in to preserve the careful science of crossbreeding.
But this dismal scenario is still not an accurate picture of the desi cow. India has 37 pure cattle breeds. Five of these — Sahiwal, Gir, Red Sindhi, Tharparkar and Rathi — are known for their milking prowess. A few others, such as Kankrej, Ongole and Hariana, belong to dual breeds that have both milch and draught qualities; ie, they are good plough animals. The rest are pure draught breeds.
But when official data records the average yield of indigenous cows as 2.2 kg daily, it clubs these dual breeds and non-dairy draught breeds together with the five top milch breeds. This deliberately undermines the performance of India’s best milch cows — such as Girs and Rathis — to establish the supremacy of the exotic cattle.
“Over the years, this has justified a policy that discards Indian milch breeds to promote exotic crossbreed animals. Due to this neglect, quality desi cows have become rare. So dairy farmers are easily lured to exotic cattle that start milking at a younger age but often trip soon after,” explains a senior official in the Department of Animal Husbandry, Union Ministry of Agriculture, on condition of anonymity.
Echoing this official’s views, a senior veterinarian at a government hospital in Mumbai says ruefully, “First we blame our cows for low milk yield without considering the field constraints. Then we replace those cows with exotic breeds that are more vulnerable to the same constraints. Meanwhile, our desi breeds keep setting new records abroad.”
But it’s not just Quimbanda Cal — the Gir wonder in Brazil — that is proof of how desi cows can perform with adequate support and care. There are enough examples back home.
Satyajit Khachar, for instance, has a Gir farm at Jasdan in Gujarat; he also exports bulls to Brazil. His best cows produce milk in excess of 30 kg daily; his farm average is between 18-20 kg per cow. Khachar’s farm does not necessarily have to be a startling exception. Every year, the government’s own Central Herd Registration Scheme records a number of Girs with 10-14 kg daily yield. In Rajasthan, the Urmul Trust promotes the indigenous Rathi cow in 10 villages each in Bikaner and Ganganagar districts. The average daily yield of these Rathis is between 8-10 kg, while the best produce up to 25 kg a day.
Clearly, some focussed thinking on how to rejuvenate and maximise these indigenous breeds — with all their added advantages of lower maintenance cost and greater adaptability — would have stood India in great stead. But shockingly, even after five decades of promoting exotic semen and expensive imported crossbreeds, government institutes have no comparative data on the maintenance cost of different breeds. It is only in 2012 that the central ministry of animal husbandry finally commissioned a two-year project to NDRI, Karnal, to develop methodologies for estimating the cost of milk production.
This is a step that should have been taken urgently several decades ago. The sheer fatality of exclusively promoting exotic cattle over desi cattle would have become evident much earlier. The story of Ammo, a small dairy farmer in the Gautam Budh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh, is profoundly telling. Ammo recently lost two exotic crossbreds that had cost her a staggering Rs 70,000 each, to foot and mouth disease after spending Rs 5,000 on their treatment. Close to her house stood tethered another “American cow” bought for just Rs 7,000. “The previous owner did not get any milk from it. I hope a local bull will perform some miracle,” says Ammo’s neighbour Sheesh Pal, explaining why he’d bought the cow.
The story of Ammo and Sheesh Pal succinctly captures the short-termism of investing in expensive crossbreeds. But the costliness of these cows or their vulnerability to disease is only one part of the picture. The argument for crossbreeds over desi cows is always presented through data skewed in other ways.
It is true that, maintained well, crossbreeds often produce milk in excess of 30 kg per day. But as their average yield in India is stuck at 6.63 kg, it’s clear that the majority of this cattle, in the care of resource-strapped farmers, is not delivering to potential. In such a scenario, quality desi cows with an average yield of 8-20 kg would be a far more lucrative option. Again, it’s true exotic crossbreeds can produce 4,500 kg per annual lactation. Desi cows, on the other hand, rarely cross 2,500 kg per lactation in standard home conditions. But, crossbreeds rarely lactate more than four times; while desis lactate 10-12 times. In effect, this means a crossbreed can only produce 18,000 kg of milk in a lifetime, while a desi can give up to 25-30,000 kg.
Unfortunately, thanks to government policy, such robust desi cows are hardly available any longer. We are witnessing the end of the Indian cow.
Such is the callousness, even a reliable breed-wise census has never been conducted in India, says Sosamma Iype, who taught at Kerala Agricultural University and revived India’s “zero-maintenance” Vechur breed, the smallest milch cattle in the world. Despite this shocking absence of official data, every piece of anecdotal evidence suggests that, except for the Gir, indigenous milch breeds in India have become extremely vulnerable.
In Uttar Pradesh, for example, there are 1.8 million exotic cows and 1.4 million desis. More than a million of these pure desis are made up of the local Hariana cattle. But, inexplicably, the state also counts some 1.51 lakh Sahiwals, a top milch breed from Punjab, and 75,000 Tharparkars, the hardy desert milcher of Rajasthan.
A district veterinary officer in western UP dismisses these figures as hallucinatory. “We do have some Sahiwals — but one and a half lakh?! And if you find me a Tharparkar here, I will felicitate the owner at my own expense,” he guffaws.
While a number of prime desi breeds such as the Red Sindhi, Sahiwal and Tharparkar are facing extinction in India today, not one exotic crossbred has been able to take their place. There is no answer from the NDRI on the field performance of Karan Fries and Karan Swiss breeds. The silence over the success of Sunandini being developed since 1965, the Friesian-Sahiwal or Sindhi-Jersey cattle is equally intriguing.
“In general, crossbreeding has not been successful,” says Dr Iype. “No exotic crossbred has stabilised till now. As long as import and use of pure exotic bulls continues, no stabilisation can be expected.”
THINGS NEED not have gone so badly wrong. Back in 1965, when an expert group was asked to formulate a cattle-breeding policy, they came up with a scientifically robust, multi-pronged approach: selective breeding of quality indigenous cows in their breeding tracts; using these improved breeds to upgrade the non-descript stock; and the use of exotic semen to upgrade non-descript cattle into exotic crossbreeds only near urban centres where dairy owners could afford to support such high-maintenance herds.
The policy was firmly against introducing exotic semen in the breeding tracts of indigenous milch breeds. So were our dairy farmers. When the NDDB was launched under Verghese Kurien, the proud Gir herders of Gujarat resisted the exotic cattle for years. One story has it that a group of local dairy farmers contemptuously dragged a few exotic crossbreeds to Kurien’s house on the day of his daughter’s marriage to give away in dowry.
But once artificial insemination became popular, the floodgates were thrown open. Like almost everything in India, the looming milk crisis is the result of a colossal planning mess.
According to Gujarat government data from Rajkot district for 2002-05, for instance, the high yield Gir was callously edged out by exotic crossbreeds in its own core breeding tract: 62,095 Gir semen straws were produced for artificial insemination in those three years. The number for exotic crossbreeds was more than double at 1,63,435.
There were many warning signs from the beginning, but unfortunately, few took heed of them. In the 1980s, a herd of Holstein Friesians capable of 8,000-kg per lactation was bought from Israel. But once they landed in Bengaluru, the animals refused to eat. So their feed too had to be imported from Israel. When the cows were finally milked, the yield was a sad 2,200 kg. Same was the story with Danish Jerseys brought around the same time to Koraput in Odisha.
“Yet,” says a retired bureaucrat, who was part of the Operation Flood team, “policy-makers trained in the West persisted with their love of European breeds. Frequent foreign sojourns to procure cattle kept the babus happy. We wanted to emulate Israel’s success story without imbibing the Israelis’ rigour. India is a vast country; we could have singled out one district for a disciplined experiment. But we did not bother.”
The country will have to pay a high price for that callousness. The practice of cross breeding ought to be very exact and carefully monitored. But unlike Israel, no records of herds and their mating patterns have been maintained in India. So, though the first generation of exotic crossbreeds showed encouraging results, as they were randomly mated, the whole thing began to backfire.
Two years ago, the NDDB finally developed its own software — Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH) — to maintain live field data on pedigrees and the selection of the right bulls for breeding. So far, around 12 lakh animals have been registered in eight states. This, of course, is a very small percentage of India’s cattle. And the programme’s field success is yet to be established.
But proof of indiscretions lies everywhere. The 11th Five-Year Plan set a target to produce a mind-boggling 40 million doses of semen every year. Less than one-fifth of the lot was indigenous. The focus on quantity also compromised the semen’s sanitary, biological and genetic quality. The overwhelming emphasis on exotic strains also lowered the conception rate. A NABARD report for Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh, quoted in the 11th Plan, put India’s overall cattle conception rate at 35 percent: the international standard is 50 percent.
A high level of inbreeding due to the massive global use of Holstein- Friesian semen from an original population of less than 100 breeding bulls has weakened the gene further. Tropical conditions make conception even more difficult and increases embryo deaths.
In 2011, an article in Farmers’ Forum by Dr OP Dhanda and Dr KML Pathak cautioned that crossbreeding had led to “higher incidences of reproductive disorders like anoestrous and repeat breeding, poor libido and lower freezability of semen… leading to a very high culling rate in bulls”.
These are not alarmist voices. Dr Dhanda was the assistant director general (animal science) at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). Dr Pathak is the serving deputy director general at ICAR.
There are other factors that make crossbreeds unfeasible in India. An average exotic crossbreed, says Dr Sagari Ramdas, a veterinarian and director of NGO Anthra at Hyderabad, requires at least four times the water a local breed does. “In Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, for example, water is being literally mined to keep the exotic crossbreeds in business.”
THE THREAT of extinction is not an empty one. India’s rush for exotic semen has had other major fallouts: there are few quality desi bulls left for natural mating. If a climatic upheaval or epidemic trips India’s already tottering exotic crossbreeds in the future, only infusion of indigenous genes can save the day. But, most of our pure desi breeds are likely to disappear within this decade.
This shift to exotic blood has not only damaged the domestic milk cows but also the draught breeds. The Ninth Plan had underlined the importance of animal carts for their huge employment potential in the rural economy. But many states such as Kerala have almost wiped off their sturdy draught breeds.
The fate of exotic crossbreed bulls is even worse. Vulnerable to Indian weather conditions, they are useless as draught animals. Unless they are selected as breeders, these bulls are either killed immediately after birth or starved to death. Those who escape join the long, brutal march to slaughterhouses both In India and abroad as illegal consignments. The Indian beef trade is worth 6,000-10,000 crore a year. Many believe the ineffective ban on cow slaughter has only ended up creating a revenue loss to the State and magnifying the unthinkable cruelty these animals face in transit. But even to suggest lifting the ban is anathema. India’s holy cows must be kept safe. At least on paper.
WHEN VERGHESE Kurien set up Amul, he did not envision mass production of milk but “milk production by the masses”.
“But the trend is moving towards industrialisation of dairying and this will eventually force the rural poor and small players out of business,” warns Dr Iype. The Tamil Nadu government distributed 12,000 Jersey and HF crossbreeds among the poor during 2011-12. Once the lactation cycle is done, what will the poor do with these white elephants tethered to their backyards?
“Our state policies are pushing us in a suicidal direction,” says Dr Ramdas. “Two companies have already taken control of the genetics of broiler poultry all over the world — from Brazil to Malaysia, including India. If we allow this to happen in agriculture and dairy, the sovereignty of our farmers will be at stake.”
A dramatic turnaround is still possible. A timely policy shift and public investment in local breeds can revive our precious bio-diversity in 25-35 years — which amounts to four to five cattle generations. “We still have the local breeds, frozen semen and the knowledge owned by farmers,” Ramdas continues. “But once lost and diluted, knowledge and breeds takes generations to revive.”
Unfortunately, though we can still turn things around, the signs are not encouraging. Free Trade Agreements with and duty exemptions to the European Union, Australia and New Zealand are likely to flood our markets with subsidised dairy products. While dairy processors in India will welcome cheap skimmed milk and butter fat and convert these into milk, the already struggling small dairy farmers may not be able to cope with the still lower procurement price.
A1 versus A2
Milk of European breeds is addictive, triggers schizophrenia,diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
In July 2007, Dr Keith Woodford, a professor of farmmanagement at New Zealand’s Lincoln Universitypublished a paper titled A2 Milk, Farmer Decisions, and Risk Management that reported how “approximately 500 New Zealand dairy farmers are converting their herds to eliminate production of A1 beta-casein within the milk” responsible for “Type 1 diabetes, heart disease and autism”.
Dr Woodford went on to explain: “The alternative (to A1) is A2 beta-casein, and the associated milk is known as A2 milk. Originally all cow milk was of the A2 type. However, a genetic mutation, probably between 5000 and 10,000 years ago, has resulted in a proportion ofcows of European breeds producing a casein variant called A1 beta-casein. A1 beta-casein is absent in the milk of pure Asian and African cattle.”
He offered “eight strands to the evidence” to the ill-effects of A1 beta-casein: countries with high intakes of A1 beta-casein are the countries with high levels of Type 1 diabetes and heart disease; A1 and A2 beta-caseindigest differently and only A1 beta-casein releases beta-casomorphin7 (BCM7) which is a powerful opioid(addictive) and causes arterial plaque; rabbits fed A1 beta-casein develop considerably more plaque on their aorta and rats show higher incidence of Type 1 diabetes;evidence from American and European investigationsshow that autistic and schizophrenic persons typically excrete large quantities of BCM7 in their urine; and many who are intolerant to milk are able to drink A2 milk.
Dr Woodford was worried that most consumers and dairy farmers worldwide remained unaware of the issues surrounding A1 and A2 milk. Within four years, Indian scientists at the National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) came up with their own study. “The A2 allele gene in Indian milk breeds of cows and buffalos are 100 per cent, while in foreign breeds, it is around 60 per cent,” it said in 2011.
NBAGR screened the status of the A2 allele of the beta-casein gene in 22 indigenous breeds and the twodominant foreign breeds Holstein Friesian and Jersey. While the A2 allele was 100 per cent in the top five indigenous milch breeds –Red Sindhi, Sahiwal,Tharparkar, Gir and Rathi – and around 94 per cent in other indigenous dual and draught breeds, its status was merely 60 per cent in Holstein Friesian and Jersey.
According to Dr Woodford, the major consumer market for A2 milk is in Australia where it is available in some 800 supermarkets and 200 convenience stores.However, overall market share is probably less than 1% because of limited publicity. In an increasingly health conscious world, this creates a huge potential for global demand for the A2 milk of our indigenous breeds. For now, we must rethink our strategy of flooding the domestic markets with A1 milk by aggressively pushing exotic breeds at home and opening up the dairy sector toforeign brands.
Indian industry, of course, already has its strategies in place. As a former Amul executive explains: “Indian brands will always be competitive thanks to low cost inputs such as labour. Farmers who can’t maintain exotic crossbreds can be absorbed as farm hands in large dairies. For rural consumers who cannot afford milk cartons, we will introduce small sachets good enough for whitening a few cups of tea.”
In the emerging order, it seems that is all the traditional keepers of the Kamadhenu apparently deserve. And that is all they will get.
Photo: Courtesy Vechur Conservation Trust
The tiny Vechur is the world’s smallest cattle breed. No taller than 90 cm, this native of Kerala daily produces 2.5-3.5 kg of milk, which has a high fat content of 5-8 percent. Its low feed requirement and resilience to diseases have earned it the fame of ‘zero-maintenance’ cow.
Under the Livestock Improvement Act of 1961, any licencing officer in Kerala could order castration of bulls of indigenous species and a farmer had to comply within 30 days. The practice took its toll on local breeds, including the Vechur, which by 2000 figured on the FAO’s Critical-maintained Breeds List (to qualify, the number of breeding females has to be less than 100 or the number of breeding males less than five, or the overall count less than 120).
Dr Sosamma Iype, then a professor at the Kerala Agricultural University, started looking for Vechur cattle in 1988 to save the breed from extinction. With the help of a group of students under the leadership of Anil Zachariah, she founded the Vechur Conservation Trust (later Association) in 1998. Today, the Vechur is a highly sought after breed in Kerala and commands a price of Rs 1 lakh and above.
COWS IN DIFFERENT CULTURE
INDIAN COW BREEDS
Characteristics of Cow
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INDIAN COW BREEDS PHOTO
(BEAUTIFUL COW PICTUERS)