Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics. Kenneth R. Valpey. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020
By: Supratik Sen
Drawing upon a wide range of Hindu textual resources and thinkers, Valpey’s work explores our moral obligation to animals, and by extension, the non-human world. Valpey approaches the subject by focusing on a “constructive” approach to the ethics of what he terms “cow care”, the practice of keeping and caring for cows throughout their natural lives (Valpey, 2020, p. xvi). He uses the term bovinity to capture the pan-Hindu notion that cows are more than animals and are, in an important sense, privileged beings and therefore worthy of special reverence, care, and protection. Valpey writes that his treatise primarily functions as “an extended commentary” to the Bhagavad Gītā’s (5.18) characterization of a wise or well-educated person as one who sees all living beings with “equal vision”, and through his multi-faceted scriptural exegesis, he endeavours to highlight the implications of this worldview for animal ethics (Valpey, 2020, p. 3). Admittedly, Valpey’s book is a “wide-ranging overview” (Valpey, 2020, p. 5) of a sprawling topic; nonetheless, it makes a significant contribution to the burgeoning discipline of Hindu animal ethics (and Hindu ethics) for four reasons.
Read the whole Review [PDF]: Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics. Kenneth R. Valpey. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020