January 2009
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Horses, Cows and two Nations

The difference between USA and India



“Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.” – George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 1



(They also feel pain)



This news got me thinking:


Horse slaughter permanently banned in U.S.A.


May 2007. Illinois, the state with United States’ last operating horse slaughterhouse made it illegal to kill the animals for human consumption. Gov. Rod Blagojevich said he was proud to sign the law Thursday, calling it “past time to stop slaughtering horses in Illinois.”


American horse meat is sold mostly in France, Belgium and Japan, where it is considered a delicacy. The practice has outraged people who feel horses are more like pets than livestock.


Two other horse slaughter plants in Texas were shut down this year. Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, called on the federal government to ban the export of horses for slaughter. “Thousands of horses face gruelling trips to slaughter facilities in Canada and Mexico unless Congress acts now to protect them,” Pacelle said in a statement. He said federal statistics show that 100,800 horses were slaughtered in the United States in 2006. Another 30,000 were sent to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.


Illinois lawmakers passed the ban after an appeal from actress Bo Derek. In a statement today, she applauded the end of the “cruel, bloody trade in horsemeat.”


Opponents of the new law say there’s no reason to treat horses differently from cattle or other farm animals. They say that horses are killed humanely and that the slaughterhouse creates jobs.


Ref: Horse Slaughter Banned In U.S.; U.S House Passes Permanent Horse Slaughter Ban; Wiki on Horse slaughter


Now just compare the business of horse slaughter in the USA with that of cow slaughter in India. Are not these two cases exactly the same? Let us see…


The reason why Americans wanted horses to be treated differently than other animals and livestock was that “the horse is a pet and a companion”. Are not cows more than a pet or a companion for common Indian masses? Now see the reasons that the opponents of the ban mentioned: “1. there are no reasons to treat horses differently from other farm animals, 2. horses are killed humanely and 3. the slaughterhouse creates jobs. Are not these the very arguments made in opposition to any attempt banning cow slaughter in India? When the Americans can shrug off these reasons as unacceptable, what keeps our India from banning cow slaughter?


The only conflicting view that can come up is: the employment generated by cow slaughter in a developing country like India is more ‘valuable’ than for the economically superior Americans. For if this were the reason, the US would not have taken so long to ban it (horse slaughter was banned only in 2007). It proves that more than employment, there are other factors playing the role. Is it about economics? We know that there would be supporters of slaughterhouses operating in India even if our country became rich enough. And we know the reason: vote bank appeasement politics.


Today, I realise that our India is not truly a free nation as the United States is. We two nations can think alike, can reason alike, but we are not able to act alike. And our cows have to suffer because of our cowardice.



54 comments to Horses, Cows and two Nations

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  • r r

    why only cows? even chickens, goat, pigs, fishes, crabs, prawns are to face the adversities only to satisfy human taste buds….
    here we treat cows as our mother…but thts only in the books…tht knowledge isnt transfered into our brains…thts the reason u see most muslims eating cow meat…as opposed to pig meat..pork coz thts banned in their religion…
    we must excersice ban to stop killing harmless creatures….instead kill ur own baby if u want to eat but not others…..thts a hard statement i know…but those hands hav been cutting animals like we chop vegetables and not even a little pinch they feel in their soul..may b if the idea of killing their own baby brings them to senses…they will know wat it feels like to see their own babies taken to the slaughter houses….

  • I must say i enjoyed it, even if its a bit harsh!

  • ….This is why the Americans had banned horse slaughter – because horses are traditionally best pets and companions of majority of Americans. So what stops Indians put a similar ban for a similar animal? If I can”t send my point across even now, then perhaps I won”t be able to convince you ever. So let us stop here… (Rahul)

  • [[[Cows as special animal and special pet]]]

    Do you know that how many Indians are dependent on agriculture? Two thirds of population. Go see the “real India”. A country is made by its people and not by its money making institutions. Do farmers want their cows to be killed? Ask them…. You will become speechless after that. Come out of cities. Ask the farmers and those who take care of cows and those from the cow family. Just because they are poor, they have to see their cows slaughtered. What is the government doing for the people then? If you know the true India, you won”t support cow slaughter. The real India is agriculture based and in a village, cows are like family members. (I don”t know if you know even this or not..) So if our democracy would function properly, we would put a ban on cow-slaughter. (contd..)

  • ……Btw, asking for statistics and survey is a good thing. Let the government do a poll on this and then put a ban on cow slaughter. Will you agree on this?

  • [[[Do majority of Indians want a cow slaughter ban?]]] Of course they do. On what basis, it doesn”t matter. Our democracy is based on number game. I don”t say that it gives the power to majority to harass the minority, but here is where my argument “Cow eaters won”t starve without beef” comes in. We have to care about everyone. If cow-eaters would starve without beef, I won’t ask for a cow slaughter ban. But it is not the case. And for your information, cow slaughter is banned in many Indian states. Its only a few states which don”t ban it, because Muslims are strong vote banks in these states, and it helps to please them. And this is why our secular nation has two sets of personal laws for Hindus and Muslims. (And these separate personal laws are also within the “secular preamble of our constitution”. Indian secularism has no meaning to restrict any such ban. (contd..)

  • [[[Do we have right to impose the bans on followers of other faith?]]]

    We can have a separate discussion on religion, but all that you say here is farce, because you missed my argument about why Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie was banned in India? I wanted to read it. Many Hindus, Christians, or may be Muslims too, wanted to read it. Did we need a ban on the book to stop Muslims reading it? (your argument) Let me know your take on this. And this is not the isolated case, there are many. Why the movie da Vinci Code was banned in many states if Hindus and Muslims wanted to watch it? Why does Indian Govt give subsidy to Muslim pilgrims, using tax-payers money collected from people of all faiths? Why such arguments come only to ague against a Hindu cause?

  • [[[Why cow slaughter is a national issue?]]]

    Because cow slaughter has been banned in many states and now the demand is to ban it at a “national level”. And hence the national issue. Plus, governments have been spending tax-payers money on establishing companies promoting beef export and even funds slaughter houses, which to many, is a violation of our democratic rights. There is a need to take a call on this issue by Govt of India.

  • @Jerome: The problem is that you are missing or straying from the central argument and then you go on to “more popular” reasons for which cow slaughter ban is demanded. (Let me shamelessly mention in the beginning, at this stage, that if you are Muslim by faith, may be you will never get the argument and I shouldn”t even try to argue, for my own peace. No argument can change the systematic streamlining of mass opinion (read conditioning of mind) that Islam bless its followers with. Anything said against their practices is called “bias”, even if it is for humanity. Sorry for this, but I will only say what I feel.) I have listed and structured your points as follows, addressing all of them:

  • 8) National issue?? I am sorry, but I fail to see how cow-slaughter is a national issue!! …. I hope this is not driven by “If Americans can achieve the ban, what should stop us? “

  • 7)) Religion?? Okay…… Will have to submit….. If an action hurts religious sentiments of a community, it is better avoided…. But, I would really wish if our decisions would be more secular in nature and the essence of the preamble and the constitution is preserved ….. Moreover, if religion is the grounds…. we do not require a ban to stop Hindus from eating cow-meat…. & we have no right to impose our religious practices on followers of other faiths…

  • 4) Cows are special in the rural economy… then I believe they must not be slaughtering them there…. why do we require the ban then? 5) Agree… Of course, cow-eaters won”t starve…but is that really an argument??? 6) You said, ” Doesn”t the majority of Indians want a ban on cow slaughter?” …. Well, Rahul, I really wonder about that… Are there any kind of statistics available?? ….I don”t justify it for Americans… I am just saying, if it is the opinion and the demand of the majority… let them have it… but, again, does the majority want it here??? (Can we claim that without bringing religion into the picture??)

  • 1) :))) No, Rahul… I read the post and then followed it by reading all the comments…… 2) I tried, but I still fail to see any rational reason for preferential treatment of cows… Banning the killing of endangered species makes sense but cows don”t figure in the list… Neither do I get the concept of “special pet” nor the argument… “since banning slaughter of all animals is not practical, at least ban cow-slaughter” Why the bias?? 3) I brought religion into it, because, as I just said, I could not comprehend any other reason for this demand of special treatment to cows ….. religious grounds, undeniably, give this cause some kind of justfication…but, again India is not just Hindus…and let us make our decisons keeping that in perspective all the time… .

  • … (4) Just to think about it: If we do see it as a Hindu or non-Hindu case, then you think that just because “only” Hindus want a ban, so India should never have such a ban. Whereas India should expel Tasleema Nasreen and ban Satanic Verses, even if it is “only” one community which demands it? Why, banning and pampering reserved for “only” non-Hindus? Why this double standards? Think about it…. The post is very clear about “Why only Cows”… and “Why only Horses”… Try to see it as a national issue rather than Hindu or non-Hindu issue and you will get the point… (Rahul)

  • Cows are special to India (think about our rural economy, think beyond cities). India does have a ban on killing of many endangered species of animals and even for peacock (because it is our national bird). Will the cow eaters starve to death if they don”t get cows to eat? A ban on slaughter of a “special” animal is nothing unusual. It was not unusual for Americans, and it is not unusual for India too.

    (3) Now let us read what you said for the US, “The laws are made for the people and by the people… if the majority wants it that ways, let it be so.” This is a good point. Doesn”t the majority of Indians want a ban on cow slaughter? Then why can”t India have a ban, while you justify the same for the Americans? Why this double standard?

  • @jerome: (1) You started by commenting on the comments :) The point, “why just cows?” was the core of this post. Ask the Americans: “Why only horses?”. The answer lies in the third para from the bottom of the post. First try to understand why the Americans wanted a ban on “only” horse slaughter. If you can get that, just extend the same to India.

    (2) About cows being worshipped “only” by Hindus while non-Hindus feast on them: why bring religion here? This post never talked about Hindus worshiping cows and hence demanded a ban. It just mentioned how cows are to Indians what horses are to Americans: a special pet. Since we can”t “ban” all animals from getting killed for food because it is not practical, why not put a ban on some “special” animals?

  • good post Rahul… you said ,Today, I realise that our India is not truly a free nation as the United States is. We two nations can think alike, can reason alike, but we are not able to act alike…it is absolutely true ,not only in this case..while there r hundreds of other thing wc we r helpless

  • I do agree with your answer to the food chain comment… but not with your argument “keeping them captive, and feed them, only in order to kill them afterwards as only ”our food”…” Why don’t you wish to extend this to poultry, goats and other animals as well??? Why restrict to cows only? If that is an abuse to animal rights, it sure is for all others animals as well!!! If you were advocating for vegetarianism, it would have made more sense, but saying “don’t eat cows, but its okay with other animals” ….is kind of difficult to understand….(Except on religious grounds!)….But, of course, India is not just Hindus…so, before we demand a ban like that, shouldn’t we think a little more about it?

  • Well Rahul, Cow is worshipped by Hindus in India…but there are many other people (and I am not using the word communities) who eat cow meat….& what also holds true is that the reasons given for not banning cow slaughter are also convincing enough… Because, the same reasons didn’t seem valid enough to the one’s supporting horse slaughter in USA, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make sense to us either… By this, I don’t mean to say that we are smarter, but only that the majority wanted a ban there (for whatever reasons), so they had it. The laws are made for the people and by the people… if the majority wants it that ways, let it be so.

    Moreover, if people can have chicken, goat & pork in India, they can have beef too. If someone worships cow, you are free not to eat beef…but, that doesn’t mean you are going to stop all others from having it too!!!

  • Don”t really agree with this post…and neither with most of the comments…..But, find what Pradeep said made more sense to me….also agree with Budha, why just cows?

  • your last para sums it up all very well rahul…. and like u said somewhere in your blog.. many of the things happen here because of vote bank politics… if we keep listing all that is wrong because of vote bank politics.. i”d come to a conclusion that democracy is no better than other forms of governance… it is as bad and useless as the others…

  • i agree there is a lot of diffrence between us & them …i.e the reason they are developed & we are developing

  • If Indians really worship Cows there is no need to ban Cow slaughtering. Each God fearing , cow worshipping family can adopt a cow and provide it a shelter in a “GOSHALA”. But the truth is that Hindus (including me) hate Cow slaughtering, but would do nothing about it. They want cows to be safe somewhere and be available for worship whenever they want. They can not keep cows in apartments. They won”t have them even in their Bungalows to avoid mosquito menace. If “GOSHALAS” offer better price for old cows, which milk farmer will sell it to a slaughterhouse? Banning things is not a solution. Smoking in public is banned. How many cities strictly implement it?

  • Thanks… And this is more on the food chain: What would happen if no one ate these animals? I think people would stop keeping them as pets, they would stop multiplying them through artifial methods and their population would decrease naturally. The cost of keeping pets would increase since one would have to keep them till their death and not till they give milk or till they become old enough to be culled. Their population would diminish since people would get discouraged to keep them as pets. And we humans have disturbed all the natural cycles, not only food cycle…

  • @Pradeep: I dont think any violence or riot happened in the US before or after they banned horse slaughter…. It was pure humanity which made them say that horses are their best friends, so let us at least spare them…

  • hi rahul .this post of ur”s is really good. i agree with each n every line n specially the one where u say we can think alike,reason alike but can”t act alike. i personally feel we all (including me)needs to change our attitude. anyways post is really good n ur answer to food chain comment stands strong.

  • Rahulji,aapane punah hamare sanskaro ki jadon se jude mudde ko uthaya hai.hamara durbhagya ye hai ki bahut se log Gau-Mata ke sambandh mein, na to upayogita aur na hi usake dharmik/samajik mahatw ke bare mein jante sirf jiwha lipsa ke karan use bhi anya mansahar ki tarah lete hain.unhe hamari sanskriti ki thodi bhi jankari hoti to ye baate na karate.hamare rishiyo,muniyo ke jnan par hum na to gambhir adhyan karate na usaki hamein utsukta hai.bina jaane apani dharanaye bana lete phir es desh ki sanskriti par aise dag to lagane hi hain.aap es madhyam kaa prayog kar,janjagaran kaa bada kaam kar rahe hain.Gau-Mata ki tulna anya pashuo se karana nadani hi nahi es desh ke sanskaro ki jankari na hone ke saman hai.vo to pujya hai,aradhya hai,man vanchhit phal dene vali hai aur hamari poshak bhi.aapako es vishay ko bar-bar layen ye naaj kaa vishay hai,jitana logo ko mathenge vo utana hi jaagenge.aapako es pavitra abhiyan ki bahut bahut badhai………….Sadar,kim.

  • As a biologist by training, I have never been been able to argue that one animal is different from another or plants are less ”living creatures” than animals; or eating one thing is ”natural” and other thing ”unnatural”. I have also not been able to understand why some people want to force their likes and dislikes on everyone else. Such people usually get so worked up about it that they start resorting to creating grand verbal models about religion, moral, ethics, aesthetics etc. etc. to confusion and awe others into submission; and failing these start violence, starting with emotional violence and ending with pure and naked physical violence.

  • What you are talking about is the “natural food chain”. The case with cows or horses is not the same. Ever seen tigers keeping goats as their pets? Or lions keeping an out-cave to grow chicken so as to eat when required? We humans keep these animals captive, and feed them, only in order to kill them afterwards as only ”our food”. This is an abuse to the animals” rights of having born into this world. This is not the natural food chain.

  • DM

    You will agree that the life forms/animals which exist in large in numbers form base of the food chain / pyramid. By natural law, if they don”t end up being eaten by those above them in the food chain, Mother Earth won”t have more space for anything else and there would be no natural balance. So cattle – cows, buffalos, goat, chicken are slaughtered by beasts in/from the woods (and cities alike….)….to maintain the natural balance. Then you would ask, humans also procreate in large numbers, where are we on the food chain & if there are regulators for humans….God has his ways….Earth quakes, Tsunamis, epidemics, floods, wars….

    India ke Socio-eco-politico environment ke baare mein jitna kam bole utna accha hoga.

  • “cows have to suffer because of our cowardice”…Wahh really gr8 rahul..

  • di

    “our cows have to suffer because of our cowardice”…kya baat hai. Hit the nail on its head. Bahut Khoob

  • Hmm..nice comparison. But you should not compare India with USA. A lots of difference. They too faced racial apartheid, but see a half negro is voted as president. I ownder when this will happen in India. No mater how snooty americans are, in a way they are more liberal and action oriented than we are.

  • ” yes….We can think alike, can reason alike, but we are not able to act alike ! (wat is the purpose of discussin whn we as a citizen cnt do anythin ! though thnx 4 the info.)
    hv a gr8 time ahead…..

  • Hey, why just cow????? We should ban all animal slaughter and turn vegetarian.What say???

  • Oh, Animal farm was the first novel i read, thanks, i would like to read it once again, thanks for reminding…:)

  • BJP had banned cow slaughter when coming to power in MP and Chhattisgarh. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivaraj Singh Chauvan had said that the smuggling out of cows to slaughter houses had been banned in Madhya Pradesh and that if the cows were found while being transported to the slaughter houses, they would be kept under the Government”s care until they were shifted to the goshalas (cow sheds). Mr. Chauvan said that there were more than 9,000 “goshalas” in Madhya Pradesh to take care of stray cows. He also asked, “When my Government could do it, there should not be any problem for other States to follow suit”. Ref: report on Go sammelana held in 2007: (

  • At present, Kerala, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura are the states that permit cow slaughter. (Ref: Apart from this, I read a news about cow slaughter ban being demanded in Karnataka. ( When NDA/BJP were in power, they had tried to ban cow slaughter across the country. ( When Gujarat had banned cow slaughter in 2005, S.C. had upheld its validity (

  • Hello, The difference between USA and India is in the mentality of common man. In India democracy means only counting head; whereas in USA it is not only laying heads together but also election is done by literate peple who thinks positively for the welfare of the country. Govt. in USA has to be a responsible govt and answerable to opposition”s valid question. Whereas in our country opposition is there for the sake of opposition and not as the watch dog of democracy to control the govt. and support in the right issues. Regionalism and Casteism has made it more salty too. … Thank you for raising such a national problem when we consider Cow as Mother…

  • gaey humari mata hai,,bachpun mein pada karety thay….!!!

  • many questions n answer crop out but prefer to mum…..
    cow in india n horse in america !!

  • Destination Infinity

    The quote which you gave in the beginning of the post was very good… Keep writing.

    Destination Infinity

  • what do i say …it pains to see the state we are in…… polarised India…and we have to bear the brunt of what they say …secularized India

  • very hardhitting post indeed…. in a country where a poor man”s life has no value, what can you expect? i agree with you that whatever the politicians do or say are done only with an eye on the vote bank…all the major institutions are being made pawns in this power game…jahan insaanon ki koi keemat nahi,wahan cows ko kaun puuchhnewala!

  • Rahul, main aapki baat se puri tarah sahmat hun. humara desh aaj
    bhi kai mamlon me dushron ka muh takta rahta hai.
    gaay ko mata kahte hain ,uska dudh pite hain ,puja karte hain
    par uska maans khane se bhi parhez nahin karte,
    keep it up ………

  • Rahul………dear this is very very true and I do agree with your last three lines.

  • aBSOLUTELY True!!! We are surely not free wholly as we are tuned to be dependent (may be)!!! and more over we, Indians take decision emotionally (whr not required) so…………

  • nice post Rahul. Cow slaughter is already banned in all but 2 states of India, W. Bengal and i think kerala. In fact other states like Gujarat already have a ban on slaughter of bulls also.

  • rahul hamere desh me bahut si baton per bas rajniti hi hoti hai… aur kiya kuchh nahi jata………us me se ek ye bhi hai…………. kiya kya jaye.hum bas aankhein band kar ke dekhte rahte hain. bahut hi samvedansheel mudda……………. nice post…..have a good day n tc.

  • Vaise to Gaay hamari maata hai…..par Jab vo katne jaati hai, koi kuchh nahi kar pata hai…..Indians indians hi rahenge….Hum kuchh nahi seekh sakte…..very nice topic Rahul, keep writing.

  • Democracy does not exist – not even in Switzerland – on the other hand – regarding our brothers and sisters – the animals – we still have to go a long and painful way… – yet at least we all have to go that way – there is only one animal i cannot really happily live after: the mosquito… Thank you for having posted this Rahul!

  • we have to blame ourselves;bcoz for some cow is “GOMATA” or another form of godess,for somebody it is a delicacy.for political reasons we are not able to take firm stand.poor cows have to suffer…….

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