Travelling through the thickly packed roads in urban Bangalooru has always made me wonder if it’s a blessing for the livestock that strays throughout the city.
Karnataka, the southern state of India, still values and respects cows, as its religious beliefs and laws are quite entwined. The cows are considered as holy animals and therefore worshipped by the Hindu community.
According to THE KARNATAKA PREVENTION OF COW SLAUGHTER AND CATTLE PREVENTION ACT, 1964 (ACT 35) slaughtering cows, calves and she-buffaloes are prohibited in the state of Karnataka unless they are diseased.
On December 13th 2012, the Karnataka legislative assembly passed another new bill on anti-cow slaughter called the ‘Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter and Preservation Bill 2012’. As stated in the bill, any animal falling into the category of bovine will not be slaughtered. High punishment is to be charged to those who slaughter any cow, bull or buffalo.
I have never seen an urban city that has such liberal views. These animals are totally free to go anywhere they want. Even if they parked themselves right in the middle of the road, every vehicle has to make way for them. Oh, that’s good! Know why? Because pedestrians are always annoyingly honked out of their way and trying to cross a road is like a life or death mission.
Every animal lover will be delighted to know it’s a heavenly place for these animals. A huge relief against animal cruelty too. However, it is doubtful if it has actually helped the four-legged animals to survive.
In search of Banquet
In the streets, you can see small herds of cattle moving along the side of the roads (at times even in the middle of the road!) to their grazing spot. It is a common sight in the city, one that is hardly noticed anymore.
They usually move one after another, where the mother or the older animal takes the front, leading the rest of the herd in search of any patch of green. But they usually have to be content with the leftovers the thoughtful street vendors provide them with or the garbage pile in the corner of a road. Seriously, finding even a square inch of green is quite a task when compared to stumbling into a garbage pile.
Apart from the problem that the cattle do not get enough fresh fodder for consumption, there comes the challenge of shelter and care, which is equally important. Even though it doesn’t snow in Southern India, it can get very chilly in the winter. It’s upsetting to see how the new born calves lie near the dumps and freeze.
Most of the cattle do not have any loving owners or homes. But some domesticated cattle that do have real owners are let loose to roam around the city for food. Usually, small scale farmers resort to such things because of the increasing value of packaged animal fodder and lack of fresh green. At least they take back the animals in the night.
It is indeed commendable on the part of the government to bring about such laws and the society to support them, but not much has been done to care for these animals in terms of nourishment, shelter or nurture.
Note: This post does not intend to discuss any religion. However, it bears some slight reference in order to acquaint the reader.