“Today this bovine goddess is being abused, exploited and butchered mercilessly. She is crammed into filthy spaces devoid of fresh air, feeds on garbage dumps, is impregnated with steroids and antibiotics and eventually slain to give us meat. All faiths emphasise the law of karma (action and reaction)—what you sow so shall you reap. One can only imagine what we are calling upon ourselves by abusing the cow that nourishes and nurtures us.” – Yogi Ashwini
Back in 1993, the spread of the mad cow disease took a toll of many across the globe. As a result, many stopped consuming beef products. However, not eating beef does not guarantee an escape from the disease and infection that comes with abusing the cow. Cattle by-products today find their way into almost everything around us. Gelatine is made by treating the bones of a cow with acid and finds its way into gel capsules, food products such as jellybeans, marshmallows and instant gelatine; as a setting agent for ice-creams and cheesecakes; as a coat on tablets and even to bind photo film. Fat from the dead cow is used in making soap, toothpaste as well as automobile tyres and also in asphalt. Glycerin derived from cow fat is used in manufacturing cosmetics. In war-time, it’s used in the explosive nitroglycerine. Its hooves and horns adorn our shirts as buttons and also make up the foam of fire extinguishers. Its blood goes into making plywood and fertilisers. Its hide becomes leather shoes or sporting goods while the foot oil obtained by boiling dead cows’ feet is used to dress the leather. The root gland of the tongue yields pregastric lipase, which is used in cheese-making. Tissue from its small intestines is used for tennis racket strings and also as surgical sutures. Its nasal septum goes into making medicine for arthritis; from its lungs and intestines the anticoagulant drug heparin is made, and the cow’s adrenal gland gives epinephrine. Catalase from its liver is used in lens-care products. The cholesterol, which is used to make artificial male sex hormones, comes from the cow’s spinal cord, a tissue that contains prions—the rogue protein that causes mad cow disease. Ironically, vaccines are grown in foetal calf serum.
So, whether you are a vegetarian or non-vegetarian, a Hindu, a Muslim or a Christian, the hands of all are stained with the blood of the cow. It is said that what goes around, comes around. Abusing the cow is coming back to us not just as mad cow disease, but also as a plethora of other health risks posed by cattle products. Beef is heavy on the heart, reproductive system, immunity, progeny and even on the chance of your survival! Beef sold in the market is saturated with Omega 6 fats that promote heart disease. It is implanted with heavy doses of diet supplements, hormones, drugs and antibiotics that play havoc with your immune system and are often responsible for cancer, premature puberty and falling sperm counts. Beef is irradiated many times, exposing you and your progeny to radioactive material and harmful gamma rays. This beef has also been found to contain significant quantities of dioxin that is linked to diseases such as cancer and reproductive defects. E. coli O157:H7 that resides in the intestines of healthy cattle foster acute hemorrhagic diarrhoea and abdominal cramps in humans. Beef and other cattle by-products are often contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and chemicals used in cattle farming. One look at any local garbage dump is enough to convince anyone of the various deadly wastes that fill the stomachs of the animals that forage around. These deadly wastes find their way through the above mentioned products into your homes and your body.
These days there is a misconception among people that cow meat promotes physical strength and muscle power. There is not one Indian wrestler who consumes beef. In fact, Dara Singh who was a champion of his times was largely a vegetarian. The only thing you can gain from meat is the bad karma of inflicting pain on an evolved being. Research suggests that frequent meat eaters are twice as likely to get colon cancer and nine times more likely to be obese compared to non-beef eaters. It has also been found that at the age of 65, the average eater of meat suffers twice the bone loss of their vegetarian counterparts.
Alongside the dangers that traditionally raised beef pose to your health are the dangers they pose to your environment. A UN report places meat production at top two or three contributors to serious environmental problems. It accounts for about 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. It takes around 20 times more fossil fuel to grow meat compared to the equivalent weight of vegetables. An astounding amount of water is used to raise meat adding to the problems of water scarcity. The vast amounts of petrochemicals, pesticides and chemical fertilisers used in meat production find their way into waterways, threatening aquatic life. The over-grazing of beef cattle and usage of land to grow animal feed contribute to soil erosion, food shortages (as the land and grains used to feed cattle that feed the affluent competes with the grains meant for men), and global warming (from the loss of plant life that would otherwise absorb CO2). Cattle-farming is also the primary reason for widespread deforestation and the resultant biodiversity loss in most countries—the forests of Brazil and China being perfect examples.
Our ancients were masters of creation, and they were well aware of the significance of the cow and the consequences of exploiting and abusing it. They called it the fountainhead of all bounties. (Dhenu sadanam rayeenaam—Atharva Veda 11.1.34). It is the cow which endows us with the bounties of milk and dairy products; it is her dung that gives us fuel and manure and it is her urine that provides us with medicine and fertilisers. When we wish to interact with the gods and goddesses, we make use of her ghee and upla to perform a yajna. When she licked Kabir on the forehead, he was blessed with extraordinary poetic abilities. It’s no wonder that the cow was revered across cultures and faiths—be it as the Egyptian goddess Hathor, the Gallic divine cow Damona, the primeval cow Audhumbla who the Nordic people believed brought mankind into existence, the Greek goddess Io, Lord Shiva’s favorite Nandi or the cow of plenty, Kamadhenu.
Today this bovine goddess is being abused, exploited and butchered mercilessly. She is crammed into filthy spaces devoid of fresh air, feeds on garbage dumps, is impregnated with steroids and antibiotics and eventually slain to give us meat. All faiths emphasise the law of karma (action and reaction)—what you sow so shall you reap. One can only imagine what we are calling upon ourselves by abusing the cow that nourishes and nurtures us. While the effects on our bodies are immediate, the effects on our lives would take a few years to manifest. The pain that human civilisation is going through today, possibly, is the effect of this cause. – The New Indian Express, 17 March 2013
Those who permit slaying of animals; those who bring animals for slaughter; those who slaughter; those who sell meat; those who purchase meat; those who prepare dishes out of meat; those who serve that meat and those who eat it are all murderers. – Manusmrithi 5.51
- Cow is a sacred asset of the nation – Subramanian Swamy
- India has become a large slaughter house for cows – Maneka Gandhi
- The principle of vegetarianism in Sanatana Dharma – Sri Acharyaji
- Buddhism and its dubious ‘pure meat’ teaching – Sandhya Jain
- Osmania Beef Festival: A mouthful of controversies – Swapan Dasgupta
- Growing beef trade hits India’s sacred cow – Arezou Rezvani, Benjamin Gottlieb & Elise Hennigan
Filed under: cow, cow protection, culture, devatas, devi, ethics, goddess, hindu, hinduism, india, mythology, polytheism, religion, science | Tagged: audhumbla, beef, bull, cow, cow beef, damona, goddess, hathor, health, hindu goddess, holy cow, hooves and horns, io, kabir, kamadhenu, mad cow disease, nandi |