Posted May 6, 2004
I have read the recent letters regarding the mother cow website and would like to offer my view.
This cow "protection" project is clearly flawed because it is not in anyway focused on protecting the cows, but only on making money by selling milk. It is a milk selling venture that has nothing to do with cow protection. Otherwise how can they explain the fact that all of the bulls (which should number around 20 so far) have been "donated" to another goshalla?! Aren't they themselves supposed to be a goshalla?
In other words if the cow can make them money by producing milk, then it is fit to remain on their farm and be "protected", but if the cow fails to make them a profit, then they send it off never to hear of it again.
Please explain to me how this is cow protection? Cow protection means to take care of the wellfare of the animals regardless of the economic benefits to us. Unfortunately many ashrams run dairy farms because they are highly profitable and they can hide the business behind the popular name of "cow protection". But when they come to realize that the bull calves are an economic burden that eats up all the profit from the sale of milk, then they resort to dumping the bulls onto someone else. Some ashrams sell the bulls to farmers, and inevitably the bulls end up in slaughterhouses when they are no longer fit to work. In Hyderabad there is a mechanized slaughterhouse that kills thousands of cows a day (and exports the meat to the middle east). This is why you don't see many bulls wandering in the streets of india as compared to cows - they are sent for slaughter by the government.
Last week there was an article in the newspaper of a so-called cow protection "goshalla" (licensed by the government) which was actually a front for selling cows to the slaughterhouses. This goshala would approach temples and ask them to give them their old and useless cows so they could be maintained and protected, but they would actually sell the cows for slaughter. This is the factual situation in India, where honesty has been replaced by corruption.
In such an environment, can devotees honestly give away Krishna's personal cows and bulls to unknown people who promise they will take good care of the animals? Would we give our chidren away to strangers simply because they were expensive to raise? Then how can we give away the children of Krishna's cows whom we pretend to be "protecting"?
Add to this the fact that the "Mother Cow" project is earning a very big profit by selling the cows milk every day. Why can't this money be used to maintain the bulls of the project? If this project was really for cow protection, then this is what would be done. But it is clear it is just a business venture to profit from the cows while showing the popular banner of cow protection.
A second point to note is the fact that they have over 20 cows, but only 2 acres of land for them to graze on (most of which is taken up by their ashram and the crops the grow). I seriously doubt if there is even 1 acre of land for them to graze on. The ISKCON standard is that each cow should be provided with half an acre to one acre for grazing. Thus to have more than 20 cows to graze on 1 acre of land is insufficient if we are actually considering the welfare of the cows.
So what is the real point of this cow protection program? I think the following two photos from the Mother Cow website make this clear. They want to mass produce packet-milk to sell in the nearby cities and generate profits for their ashram. It is nothing but a business venture carried out at the expense of the bull calves.
The reply received from "Taradevi dasi" is very suspicious. I find it hard to believe that in a couple days some third party person would have found out so much detailed information about the project, especially since the website was launched recently. It is clear to me that it is just the devotees of the Mother Cow project writing in their own defense under a made up name, or it is a disciple of the guru who runs the project (BG Narsingha Swami).
Such a tactic certainly won't strengthen my faith in their project. Transparency and honesty is what is required to convince us of their proper intentions. When dealing with the lives of cows and bulls we cannot accept anything less than complete transparency.