The Plastic Cow
In India, one of the most striking images is the cow wandering on the road. In cities, towns and villages numerous cows and bulls sit or wander peacefully, settling down to chew the cud. It gives the impression of a society living together peacefully with animals. The holy cow, the Mother of India is revered by all and, in most states, is not allowed to be slaughtered.
What is The Plastic Cow?
India has an open garbage system, which means open garbage bins on the roads overflowing with stinking waste.
Dogs, monkeys, pigs, rats and cows eat whatever they can find to survive. The numbers of stray dogs, rats and monkeys are equal to the amount of garbage on which they feed and multiply.
In cities and towns, large numbers of cows on the roads eat from garbage bins, foraging for fruit and vegetable leftovers, anything edible and smelling like food.
Since plastic bags have invaded our lives, almost all garbage and food waste is disposed in plastic bags. These bags spill out either on the road or from municipality dustbins. Since the plastic bags are knotted at the mouth, cows, unable to undo the knot, eat food leftovers including the plastic. Slowly, over time, they build up a huge amount of plastic inside their stomachs. It gets entangled with different materials and it becomes hard like cement inside their rumens, which is the first belly of the cow.
These cattle, owned or stray, often obstruct traffic and cause accidents. The municipality removes the animals from the road to be sent to go-downs, goshalas (shelters designed for cows), temples or they are simply dumped at the garbage landfills on the outskirts of the city. From there they “disappear” into trucks for transport to slaughter.
There are many small “urban” dairy farms in cities and big towns. Dairy owners send their animals out on the road to forage for food as there is no green grass and little or no space to keep the animals at home. Still the owner milks his cows. These cows share the roads with abandoned calves, young and old bulls, old and dry cows. They scavenge between the garbage bins, the vegetable markets and hotels and finally end up on the municipality garbage landfills outside the town.
In places where there are cattle markets, there is one more “owner”. These owners (brokers) buy the animals from farmers or cattle markets for very little money. The new “owner” simply leaves them on the road to fend for themselves. They mark the animals as their property. Whenever it suits them and the animal “looks fat”, they sell them off for a lot of money to an unsuspecting real farmer or for slaughter. When the farmer feeds the cow natural food and grass, the animal, having eaten garbage all its life, dies from indigestion and the farmer and the cow are both victims of a cruel and immoral practice.
The Holy Cow reduced to a dying scavenger
There have been anti-plastic campaigns in India. At present there is a ban on plastic bags up to 40 microns in many states. But no one has focused on the hazardous effects of plastic on the animals and their right to live a life free of plastics. It is the basic right of the cow to live and graze on natural food and not have to eat garbage tied up in plastic bags. This is an acute form of cruelty. The noble cow has become a scavenger.
The above text is an excerpt taken from the website of 'Karuna Society for Animals and Nature'. To read the entire article, including pictures, please click here!
'The Plastic Cow' is a 34-minute documentary about animal rights. The film looks at the impact of our almost complete dependence on plastic bags, which we use and discard carelessly every day, often to dispose our garbage and kitchen waste.
Not only are these bags a huge environmental threat, they end-up in the stomachs of cows, who, either because they've been discarded because they're not milking at the time or because the dairy owner is unwilling to look after them, have to fend for themselves and forage for food, which, like other scavengers, they find in community garbage dumps. Owing to their complex digestive systems, these bags, which they consume whole for the food they contain, get trapped inside their stomachs forever and, eventually, lead to painful death.
The film is also a comment on the religious hypocrisy of the cult of the holy cow.
For questions, information and solutions, please get in touch with Karuna Society for Animals & Nature on +91 8555 200174 and +91 8555 289737 or visit their web site www.karunasociety.org
The Unobserved Disaster - The Plastic Effect on Wildlife
Along India’s rivers, there are thousands of temples, villages and towns, where untreated sewage and garbage flows in the water. Hundreds of kilometers away, garbage and plastic are deposited at places where wildlife feeds and drinks. Many animals die a painful and unobserved death.
An elephant was found dead with 750 kg plastic inside its stomach. Turtles, fish, birds, wild pigs—no animal can escape!
Forest land and wild animals are under threat in Haryana as garbage is being constantly dumped in the area. The garbage dump on the road connecting Delhi and Haryana border has become a virtual death trap for the wild species.
Other pages about India:
India is the world's biggest milk producer and all set to become the world's leading beef exporter in 2012
India is one of the largest leather manufacturers in the world
Cow slaughter in India
Animal sacrifice in India
Kerala tourist information
Stray dogs - send them to China, Mizoram or Nagaland for whatever they do to them