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Cow protection has created a new interest group that has incentives to keep the conflict lingering

Cow protection is an emotive issue, but its economic aspects, though rarely discussed, are more important. Farmers who would sell unproductive cattle heads, are now denied of that good income in places where stringent restrictions on sale and transport of cows have been introduced. Plus, they are at the receiving end of the havoc created by stray cows that destroy their crop. When cows die natural deaths, the disposal of the carcass is a costly and risky venture. 

Karnataka’s new Minister for Animal Husbandry and Sericulture K. Venkatesh recently raised these issues while hinting at the possibility of reviewing the Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Act, 2020, enacted by the previous BJP regime. He was reprimanded by the Congress high command, which is wary of the so-called Hindu backlash.

There might be emotional reasons for cow protection, but now there is also a formidable interest group that is rallying around the cow. Governments are spending massive amounts for cow protection schemes, ranging from running shelters to taking care of strays and other allied activities. The Congress government’s schemes in Chhattisgarh for cow protection include purchase of cow dung and cow urine by the State.

Conflicts are profit opportunities for some who would not want a resolution. This is true for Ukraine as much as it is for what is going on in Manipur. There is no economic logic of spending money to protect unproductive animals that will cause additional stress on the farm economy. However, a new network of economic vested interests that profits from cow protection schemes has emerged. They extract state resources and claim a moral high ground even as their rhetoric and schemes create social divides and economic harm. The stronger they get, the more difficult any rational discussion on this issue will become. That’s the Big Picture.

Source : Political line The Hindu updated on June 12th 2023 by Varghese K George

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