Cows are one of the most controversial species in India with some attempting suicide for naming the cow as mother of the nation, Gau Rakshak’s beating up people for protecting cows and political parties banning beef to protect the animal that us worshiped in India.

But amid the chaos around the holy cow, few people truly care about what happens to the animals left to wander in the streets, falling victim to poisoning by consuming plastic waste.

The shocking consequences of such a situation were reflected in images doing the rounds on social media, which showed 45 Kg of plastic retrieved from a cow’s stomach by volunteers of an animal welfare organisation Blue Cross of India.

But as alarming as the discovery might look, it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Dawn Williams, General Manager of Blue Cross of India, told ScoopWhoop that, almost every cow grazing in the streets of Indian cities is consuming toxic polythene, and a minimum of 35 to 40 kilos of plastic is present in an average cow’s stomach. He said that while 45 kilos was a huge amount, it can go up to more than 50 kilos depending on the size and weight of the animal, and Blue Cross India finds one such cow every day. The organisation also rescued several animals during the devastating floods in Chennai last year. 

Pointing in the direction of a larger problem, Williams said that the breeding of cattle in India is done for milk and beef, and cows are injected with oxytocin in order to overlap the reproduction cycle in cows and increase milk production.

He said that while a cow is supposed to live for 18 years, it is rendered unproductive in four to five years, and are sent to slaughterhouses or are left to wander in the streets.

Here’s Blue Cross of India’s Dawn Williams explaining the vicious cycle:

Williams further added that due to a shortage of grass to graze on due to scarcity of water, cattle are forced to survive on food waste, and eventually end up ingesting polythene from garbage dumps, which is not only fatal to cows, but also ends up contaminating milk which causes health issues and even cancer among those consuming the toxic milk.

But plastic is not the only toxic material that cows end up consuming, a report by The Indian Express mentioned that vermilion and copper coins are also found inside cows, as in many cases plastic waste is removed through surgery, but with 60 cities in India are generating 15000 tonnes of plastic waste every day, the menace is still killing cows everyday.

b’Representational image | Source: Reuters’

The kind of treatment cattle receives for the sake of mere profit and the way they are left to survive on garbage in the streets clearly shows the blatant hypocrisy behind the agenda of cow protection, which is being used to cause communal tension, impose bans and even for lynching people. 

Even as people are being persecuted and killed on suspicion of consuming beef, there seems to be little effort to stop this open murder of the cow.

Just how is this right… 

Feature image source: AFP