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How Cows are Treated in India

We’re having a stimulating discussion about our relationship with animals in Lindsay’s recent ‘Meet Red‘ post. One side thought amidst the discussion prompted me to take the opportunity to share what may well be a little known fact about the treatment of India’s supposedly sacred cows.

Many people think that in India cows are almost universally worshipped, and treated better than your pampered collie or russian blue. But, the reality is that although killing cows is illegal in all but two states in the country, these laws are poorly enforced, and local officials are often bribed to turn a blind eye to both the cruelty and slaughter of these animals. And where they aren’t killed in states where it’s illegal, they’re forced to walk vast distances until they reach the states where killing is legal, or they’re crammed like sardines into trucks and train carriages in stifling hot conditions and taken there. Because of the distances involved, the herders often have to resort to extreme acts of cruelty to ‘encourage’ the animals to continue their trek – like breaking their tails and rubbing hot spices into their eyes, and worse. An example of ‘worse’ is making them drink water laced with copper sulphate. It destroys their kidneys so they can’t urinate, so while in agony upon arrival they are also heavier and fetch a better price.

This article gives you a bit of a start on the topic, and the video below is well worth a watch. Warning – extreme animal cruelty footage:


For me, scale is always the source of our problems – be they environmental, ethical or otherwise.


  1. Thanks for that excellent link. Don’t worry, I wasn’t saying India was any worse than other places – was just trying to clear up a misconception about it NOT happening there. Yes, a horrible activity. The cruel factory farming of animals goes on in many countries, including Australia.

  2. I know this isnt quite the right spot to mention Peak oil and its impact on the live export of cattle and sheep from Australia but is anyone thinking about what the middle east will eat when it cant have our livestock anymore and what the hell we are going to do with all that surplus stock. Food for thought.

  3. Please lets help these poor lil guys (cows) – this is so so cruel – these people need to be punished to the fullest – how can people do these hanous crimes to innocent animals – something needs to be done – where is a link or a petition to help stop this cruelty towards these poor cows.

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