By Prerna Tyagi:
Now you would think what is wrong with the cows? Neither are they an endangered species nor is their skin any valuable; it is the tiger, the lion, the deer which need an immediate attention, not cows! Maybe cows do not need an immediate attention but they do need a slight change in our attitude and habits.
It is a common sight in the not-so-posh localities of most Indian cities, a cow or a herd of them feeding on the waste materials in an open public dustbin or wherever we wish to throw our garbage, on the roadsides, on the empty plots, etc. On witnessing such a sight, I feel very helpless and appalled; whatever we may have achieved, the technology or the infrastructure, somewhere in the process we have either unknowingly or deliberately given rise to such circumstances where a cow, a herbivorous animal which grazes on grass, is left to feed on our garbage, our waste. The waste materials range from leftovers to glass materials to extremely toxic matter, but it is the plastic tops it all. It is very saddening to see cows feed on it. There the fact that cow is revered as a mother in Hinduism loses its significance.
A few years back I read in a newspaper that a cow’s dead body was sent for post-mortem examination and the results were very shocking- the cow had died of ‘plastic ingestion’ and around 40 Kgs of polythene was found in its stomach! Another abysmal sight is that of a cow or a herd of cows either standing or lying down in the middle of a congested road. The speechless creature doesn’t know where to go; have we left any place for it to go? To graze? NO! Not a place in the concrete jungles that we have created and if there are green areas, they are for us not for them. The worst part is that the ever busy people try different ways to make a way to get across the bovine; some try blowing horns and some others without much thought hit the cows to get them aside. They don’t even care to get out of the car and shove it, but who has the time! On doing this, most of the time, the cows get hurt, they can be seen limping or bleeding and around one in every four cows is injured because of getting hit in the road traffic.
There are two kinds of people; one who are indifferent and the others who are not. The following is for the latter.
Seeing all this helplessness around, we mustn’t succumb to the idea of What Can I Possibly Do? I would say you can do a great amount of substantial work just by altering your attitude and some habits. At a community level, you could always be a part of an NGO catering to animal needs, an animal helpline or an awareness drive but apart from this there is a lot more that we all can do at an individual level.
Small things can make a huge difference; we could make sure that the leftovers are not thrown wrapped in polythene as the leftovers lure the cows to end up eating the wrapped-up polythene with them. You could collect polythene in your house and simply make an effort to hand them over to the rag-pickers monthly or at an interval or directly dispose them off at the recycling units. The efforts could demand your time and energy but it should not be a problem for ‘the others’.
Secondly you could make it a point not to hit a cow on the way to get across and if you see someone else doing it you could try sparing some time to get across the message without causing any fights. If you see an injured cow, you could call the animal helpline or simply get in touch with the owner. In most cases it is the owners who let the cattle loose, so you could complain about them at a nearest public office or you could talk them into stop doing this by making them aware.
I heard it somewhere that cows unlike other bovine come to their owners on their own in the evenings when they have to be milked. What an example of animal behaviour! But what about our human behaviour? Why have we become so indifferent and consequently cruel and selfish? First let’s fight our indifference and the answers are sure to pour in and so would the good deeds.
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