About the book

The Cow Care Book

By Kenneth R. Valpey

Series: The Palgrave Macmillan Animal Ethics Series

The most pressing issue facing our world today is the climate crisis.

Factory farming – specifically the beef industry – is considered one of the main contributors to climate change, prompting many activists and conscientious citizens to rethink their consumption of beef and dairy entirely. But what if there was a more considerate way to interact with cows – one that met the needs of both humans and the planet? Kenneth Valpey’s COW CARE IN HINDU ANIMAL ETHICS examines how the welfare of human civilization is inextricably linked to the care and protection of the cow.

The book begins with a fascinating journey through India’s oldest texts in search of early references to the cow and its relation to human society – from the Rigveda to the Bhagavata Purana to medieval bhakti poetry.

From there, Valpey reviews ideas of prominent modern Indian thinkers, providing a penetrating glimpse into the country’s current cow care practices.

In the book’s most philosophical chapter, Valpey proposes an animal ethic that combines Western ethics-of-care and environmental thinking with India’s traditions of: dharma (the sense of duty toward all living beings), yoga (the fostering of virtues such as non-violence, culminating in liberation), and bhakti (the channeling of one’s devotion toward the supreme, leading to a deep sense of relationality with all creatures).

Drawing upon a rich blend of cultural studies, intellectual history, and original fieldwork, Valpey suggests the need for practical action to develop models of sustainable cow care communities – action energized by knowledge, inspiration, and the vision of a future society in which cows are protected, not slain.