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Amrit Dhillon For The Straits Times

When animals merit more compassion

Published on May 30, 2014 1:13 PM
Venerated as cows are in India, many are still left to forage for scraps on the streets so their owners can save on fodder. They often end up ingesting plastic bags to assuage their hunger. -- PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

When vets in the Indian capital are called upon to operate on a cow, they often find several kilos of plastic bags inside the animal's stomach. One cow made the papers in March last year when 4,000 plastic bags, ingested over several years, were found inside its stomach. A four-hour operation was needed to remove them.

Cows are sacred to Hindus. But that does not prevent many cattle owners from being frugal with fodder and letting their cows out onto the streets to roam and forage for scraps instead. When desperately hungry, the silly things eat plastic bags, which can mess up their insides.

Or take the way unproductive cows are transported to slaughter houses. According to Peta, a United States-based animal rights organisation, many arrive dead or maimed after long journeys packed in trucks that are often left standing for hours in the insane heat of an Indian summer.   

This pretty much encapsulates the Indian stand on animals, even venerated ones like the cow: compassionate in theory but often callous in practice.

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