Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

South Asia and Cow Protectionism

  • James StewartEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_520

The cow is viewed as a creature of special importance among several religious and cultural traditions in South Asia. Cow protectionism is practiced in India, Nepal, Burma, and Sri Lanka. The veneration of the cow also traverses religious denomination and cows are valued within both Buddhist and Hindu communities. The origin of cow protectionism in South Asia derives to a large extent from a sense of religious obligation, though prudential reasoning has also played an important role in the promotion of cow welfare.

Among many Hindus in India, cows are regarded as sacred objects that should not be interfered with, let alone slaughtered. The slaughter of cows is outlawed, or severely limited, in most states in India, and there are severe penalties for those who unjustifiably kill them. There are even some historical instances where cow slaughter was made a capital offense (McLane 1977). The penalty in modern Indian states is, of course, much less severe.

This special treatment of cows has...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TasmaniaHobartAustralia