Maneka Ghandi is an active environmentalist and speaks out for the rights of animals in India. In the following article (from www.freefromharm.org) , she gives an insight into the state of the illegal cow slaughter in India and its long term implications:
I have over two hundred letters on my table complaining about illegal cow slaughter. Many of these complainants are groups who have stopped trucks stuffed with cows and calves, many of them dead of suffocation and injuries, only to have the police take a bribe and let the animals go.
Government looks the other way and boasts that we have the largest leather and meat export in the world. The fact that the entire leather industry is made from the skins of illegally killed cows or that the meat has come from young milch cows and their babies is irrelevant to them. The police are delighted with this crime – each truck pays the chungies and each policeman takes home thousands of bribe rupees every day from this killing. Every time we stop a truck, it is the policeman who defends and release the truck with its suffering cargo of squashed animals. Every week there is a cow selling fair in each district, supposedly for farmers. No farmer goes there to buy. The slaughter mafia brings their trucks and pick up hundreds of animals. One person who tried to stop this in Haryana was arrested by the police on the complaint of criminals, that she was stopping their work.
Go to Bihar – most villages have no cows in them. In Andhra Pradesh rustling is a major crime – people who hold up villagers at gunpoint and take their animals for slaughter. One old woman who tried to stop a cattle truck in Gorantla, Anantapur was beaten up in full sight of the village and the police. No one intervened as the men had guns. Within ten years we will have no cows. The story of the tiger is being repeated. The government kept giving false figures to the world – we have 9000 tigers or more. When an actual headcount was done, we have less than 300 and the killing continues. We have more tigers in the zoos than in the wild, the same with the cows. Government has convinced itself that we have the largest cattle population in the world with one crore cows. Do a headcount there will be less than 20 lakh left. Anybody in rural India can tell you that. Find me a cow in Punjab or Rajasthan or even Madhya Pradesh.
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