Are There Lessons from India about the Management of Cattle? A Review of ‘Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics’ by Kenneth R. Valpey
By: Clive J. C. Phillips
Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute, Curtin University, Kent St.,
Bentley, WA 6102, Australia; firstname.lastname@example.org
Simple Summary: Cattle production has received significant criticism, particularly in Western countries, on account of its contribution to environmental pollution; the ethics of practices such as premature slaughter, particularly of male calves, and invasive procedures to control reproduction and dock tails and horns; and the poor welfare of cows in industrialised farming systems. However, in the country with the largest cattle population in the world, and one of the largest human populations, India, there is a culture of respect for cows, which has a long historical tradition. This culture is now growing to ensure that all cows are treated ethically. In his recent book, ‘Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics’, Kenneth Valpey describes the widespread advantages of such an approach, including a recognition that all beings are equal under a divine presence. The adoption of the Indian approach to cow care on a broader scale is considered, and it is recognised that whilst it generally provides for cow welfare and ethics better than Western farming systems, the adverse effects on the environment would be potentially magnified.
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