`Scientific reasons also plead against cow slaughter'

CHENNAI AUG. 10. The proposed ban on slaughter can save 20 crore cows and their calves, says Guman Mal Lodha, Chairman of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) and former acting chairman of the National Commission on Cattle.

Addressing a press conference here, he said the scientific reason (religious sentiments aside) behind banning cow slaughter was that 90 per cent of the population was primarily dependent on agriculture in the country. The backbone of agriculture was the cow. In small land holdings, bullocks are used for ploughing.

"Besides, the cow is the main supplier of `Pancha Kavya' — milk, ghee, curd, urine and dung — which finds its use in day-to-day life," he said.

"Cow dung was recognised the world over as the best input for organic farming. Darjeeling tea produced with organic manure fetched thrice the price in the international market compared with the tea grown with chemical fertilizers. Scientific studies revealed that building walls that had a coating of cow dung kept out harmful radiation. Cow dung was also used as incense in Japan for people practising meditation," said Mr. Lodha.

Somesh Banik, secretary, AWBI, said a high-power delegation from Rwanda, Africa came to the country to import Indian breeds of cows and bullocks, as indiscriminate slaughter there had depleted cattle breeds.

Referring to a presentation made to a team of officials from the Ministry of Environment and Forests that visited Chennai, he said just like preservation of heritage buildings such as the Taj Mahal, it was necessary to protect the 40 indigenous cattle breeds including Kangeyam, Hallikar, Gir and Ongole.

Mr. Lodha said the bill to prevent cow slaughter would come under Article 246 of the Constitution read with Schedule VII so that it became imperative and mandatory for all States to apply the Central law. Though some States had banned the killing, the Northeastern States, Kerala and West Bengal permitted it and all the cows were being taken there for slaughter, he said.