Holy Cows!

Hindus consider the cow holy. Their highest-ranking god (out of 30 million), Shiva, used the mighty bull as his mode of transportation. Worship the god, worship his vehicle.

The streets of Delhi are said to have 40,000 cows roaming about, and we saw many of them. Quite docile compared to Wisconsin’s farm-locked cows, they stand alongside traffic-clogged streets, munching away on piles of garbage. Yes, the animal whose sole diet should be grass can be found chewing meat bones, plastic bags and their favorite: cardboard boxes.

Those Hindus looking to improve their merit for reincarnation can be found approaching the street cows and feeding them various grasses and weeds. And while most Indians drive like maniacs, they will do everything they can to never hit a cow. Those who do could face jail time, not to mention a screwed-up reincarnation assignment.

One scholar argues that the cow was never holy and should not be. Considering the poor treatment most receive, I too think it may be best to lower their status and start feeding the masses who are starving in India.

Holy or not, the waste from cows is a widely-used resource: cow patties are dried for use as fuel.

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5 Responses to Holy Cows!

  1. Dongjin says:

    From the perspective of microbiologist, this topic is very interesting. Cattle intestins are considered a major reservoir of pathogenic E. coli O157 causing serious food born illnesses. Cow feces are full of that type of bacteria. It is very interesting how people who are persistently exposed in this bacteria do not get sick and immun to it. One of big epidemic puzzle is that E. coli o157 isolated from cattle and one from human patients are very different in many genetic makeups. My current research is focusing on getting evidence that when bacteria are passing through cattle system, the bacteria loose important virulence properties that are essential for causing human sickness. If this is true, cattle are truly ‘holly cow’ for human health. Sorry for too much science.

  2. Dongjin says:

    Oops, I meant ‘Holy cow’.

    By the way, would it be okay to use one of your cow photos for my presentation slide (with its source indicated)? Dongjin

    • Ken says:

      Sure Dongjin, please feel free to use a cow photo. And keep us posted on the science of our scientifically-useful cows (our blog just became much more erudite).

  3. Dongjin says:

    This Friday is the presentation day. Thank you for letting me use your photos. I am putting the first and the last in the last slide for my conclusion. I am even stealing your title; Holy cows as my study conclusion, haha. I will update you how it goes. Dongjin

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