Holy Cow! Stray Cows on Roads Put the Lives of Theirs & Everyone Else’s at Risk
Mangaluru: Moo! Not just traffic, motorists have to deal with stray cows that roam around on a few of the City’s busy streets and Highways. The menace of stray cows on the roads is not new to Mangaluru. But despite attempts to curb it, it only seems to be growing once again. On Wednesday, a two-wheeler almost crashed because of a cow that came across the road all of a sudden in front of MCF-Panambur. Luckily the rider suffered only bruises on his palm and hands. The cow suddenly started walking from the footpath to the divider to feed on the grass. It completely disrupted the flow of traffic and caused everyone to change directions. No doubt, cows are a huge hindrance on the road and put the lives of theirs and everyone else’s at risk.
In April 2021, Mangalore Port Trust started sending stray cows roaming around on the port premises in Panambur to Go Swarga Goshala of Ramachandrapur Mutt near Hosanagar. The first batch of four head of cattle was sent to the Go Shala in the presence of Vishwa Hindu Parishat leader M.B. Puranik and others on the NMPT premises. With the port witnessing business growth, it was also endowed with responsibilities and the safety and sustenance of stray cattle roaming around the premises was one of its concerns. Cattle have been present on the port premises since its inception and there were possibilities of cattle getting injured or killed due to movement of heavy vehicles inside the premises.
They used to roam freely in the middle of the dock area where a large number of trucks enter to load and unload cargo. Besides affecting port operations, cattle expose themselves to danger too. They also roam around National Highway 66 passing along the port undeterred by heavy traffic. As such, the Port a few months ago launched a project to shift stray cattle from the port area to cattle care centres as per the Animal Protection Act and has made arrangements with the Ramachandrapur Mutt for the purpose. The shifting work was taken care of by the port officials with the help of veterinarians from the Animal Husbandry Department. Meanwhile, the issue of stray cattle at Panambur was also discussed in the council of the Mangaluru City Corporation sometime ago with some members urging the Mayor to take up the matter with NMPT. Seems like nothing has been done since then, and once again cattle are seen in the vicinity of Panambur and near Baikampady Industrial area.
….AND AFTER THE COW WAS HEALED IN SURATHKAL INCIDENT
Apart from disrupting traffic on the road, stray cows are also the cause of much muck on streets. From ripping open garbage bags and strewing garbage all over, to filling roads with dung, stray cows are a menace for many Mangaluraens. But we can’t blame these four-legged animals fully, the people who were ignorant and let them roam around freely with no leash should be BLAMED! “Not just slowing down traffic, the lives of cows are also in danger. Also cows can consume large volumes of plastic while foraging through garbage which could lead to their death. I’ve seen cows moving around in herds but never their caretaker,” said a young techie of a firm in Mulki.
ABANDONED COW TAKEN CARE BY TAUSEEF IN PANDESHWAR
It is just that the owners let them wander around on the streets.We see them everywhere; carefully threading their way across traffic signals, diligently chewing through garbage or blithely sitting in the middle of the road, they are now even at the heart of Indian politics — the holy cow. But what they face is an unholy reality on the city’s streets. One of the city’s most visible citizens, they stand the risk of being hit or causing accidents while also being exposed to dangerous food. But nothing much has been done by MCC in trying to curb the cattle menace. Unfortunately, even right-wing groups, who make a hue and cry about protecting cows, haven’t protested against those who allow them to wander on the streets.
INJURED BULL ON NATIONAL HIGHWAY NEAR KOLYA
Animal Activist and Animal Rescuer Tauseef Ahmed speaking to Team Mangalorean said, “Cows have always been an integral part of our lives right from being a kid till now. Most of us are dependent on them for some or the other thing, especially dairy, although a mothers milk is for her little ones and not us. We drink our mothers milk for a couple of years, and for the rest of our lives are dependent on cows milk, so when someone says cow is the mother of mankind,they are not entirely wrong. But sad enough, cows are treated good only till they give milk,after that they are unwanted and thrown on the streets. This shouldn’t be the case. The least we can do is be kind to them irrespective of cow or bull,milking or not milking”.
“Especially on the highways it’s high time people stopped driving like maniacs in places which have cattle frequently. Places like Kulur-Panambur-Baikampady stretch should be declared cattle prone zones. The place where NMPT is today used to be a village predominantly dependent on dairy decades back. When the Government acquired the land, all these cows were left behind after villages received compensation. These very cows have become strays today and have continued to reproduce and thrive. Sadly they have been victims of cattle mafia, accidents etc regularly. As the highway comes under NHAI you cannot have speeding zones in such places but the authorities can definitely put boards like we find in foreign countries. Cattle crossing zone, please drive carefully etc. Animals don’t understand our rules of when to cross the road, the red light or green lights. We as the smarter species need to be kinder and smarter at the same time which will not just help them but also avoid alot of accidents which involve human deaths as well. For a nation that respects and loves cows the most, these are very tiny little things we can try to do to save not just their lives from accidents but also human fatalities in accidents” added Tauseef.
Few days ago, Yours Truly while traveling to Talapady for the coverage of Covid-19 test at the border for people from Kerala crossing the border, noticed a bull which was limping, and could hardly cross the Highway-but luckily it made it to the other side without being hit by speeding vehicles. Noticing the injuries of the bull, an animal lover of that area by the name of Ms Harshita from Kolya who works at a Hospital had called Tauseef Ahmed, and Tauseef had instructed her to feed the bull with medicine mixed in fruits, like bananas etc. It seems the bull is much better than it was a few days ago. It should be noted that Tauseef has taken care of many wounded cattle, either by cattle traffickers or by accidents.
As per Tauseef, a wounded cow had maggots and was infected, after it was harmed by cattle traffickers in Surathkal. That animal was taken care of by Sudarshan and Arun after being instructed by Tauseef to give medicine to it, and the cow is recovered now. Yet another old cow was abandoned in Pandeshwar in the City after she stopped giving milk. She was sick and fell on the ground. Tauseef treated her in the same place and since it was raining a temporary shed was built , and the cow is perfectly fine now, as per Tauseef.
In conclusion, the cow is a holy animal for Hindus, with religious zealots ready to take on anyone harming the divine creature. But the growing number of stray cows is proving to be a bane for both Indians and their bovine gods. For many Hindus, cows are a sacred animal. In Hindu mythology, the animal is depicted as accompanying several gods, like Shiva, who rides on his bull Nandi, or Krishna, the cowherd god.In ancient Hindu texts, the cow appears as “Kamdhenu” or the divine cow, which fulfills all desires. Its horns symbolize the gods, its four legs, the ancient Hindu scriptures or the “Vedas” and its udder, the four objectives of life, including material wealth, desire, righteousness and salvation.
Modern cow protection groups, hailing the cow as a divine being that deserves protection. Mumbai-based group called “Serve Cows” says on its website, for example, that cows provide different products for human use, namely, milk, butter, dung, and urine, which the group claims has anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties – none of which has been conclusively proven by scientists. These religious considerations have led to stringent laws and a rise in the numbers of cattle protection groups, spurred by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Especially since the enforcement of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (regulation of livestock markets) rules in 2017, the sale of cattle to slaughterhouses for use as meat or leather has become very difficult. The law has also severely impacted several communities involved in such businesses, including lower caste Hindus, for whom beef is a cheap and important source of food.
Whatever be the case, the concerned authorities and Animal Activists should come up with an effective plan to save these animals from getting hit by vehicles, and also save the motorists due to cow menace on streets and National Highways!