Thursday, October 30, 2008

Holy Cow!

Way back in the 1960s, my grandparents suffered a series of tragedies. A row of children died as soon as they were born or a few months after. When my mother was born, she was quite sickly as well. She had some kind of a liver problem which prevented her from ingesting food. They took her to Dr. Jemmi, then the most famous Liver specialist in Chennai. Unlike so many doctors today, he prescribed a simple home remedy: Buy a cow, raise it organically with good fodder and feed the children with milk from the cow. Apparently, he challenged my grandfather, "Let's see how your children don't become healthy in two years' time!"

So my grandfather bought a jersey cow, Rani, and he raised her dutifully. And true to prediction, my mom and her elder brother improved steadily and became quite healthy! I've heard this story told so many times over and over. But I've always thought: why bother raise a cow when you can buy milk?

I got my answer recently. A year or so back, I started reading about going organic. That's when I discovered the horror stories about milk in the US. Cows are never allowed to see the daylight, cooped up in huge factories, fed anti-biotics and milked using machines. There is much more information about this torture if you google for it. I am pretty sure part of this is going on in India as well. Anyways, I was so upset that I thought of swearing off milk for a while.

I don't mean to sound very superstitious but if you extract a product out of an animal/plant that gives it great agony physically and mentally (think fear), does it not affect the person consuming it? All the evil karma probably goes into our lives. Anyways, that's when I started thinking about solutions. Going organic and supporting local farms definitely helps. However, these are not long-term solutions. When anything becomes a business, there are certain compromises that have to be made for profits.

Personally, I feel like the right thing is to have a cow per household. A household pet will never be treated harshly and can provide enough milk to sustain the family. And we would know the source of the milk and rest assured that it won't have some scary chemical in it. Definitely not a simple solution because maintenance of another living being is complex. Given our lazy lifestyles and apartment living today, it seems near impossible. And I am no exception.

But the hope is that some day, I might see light. If we are convinced and set our minds to it, I believe this is possible at least in India. The exercise involved in cow maintenance might just get us IT-types a workout and maybe, people will learn to respect all animal life? Or we find a different solution to the milk situation?


Red Phoenix said...

U forgot to mention the use of dry dung for energy savings (of course it comes with the Green house effect too) Jus kidding as usual.... A cow a house... hmmm.. interesting... If I continue the way I work on my phd, I guess i'd definitely end up doing a full time cow herd business.. Namma bashaila Maadu otturadhu.... :(

Maayaa said...

I always wanted to have a cow..well, i have a quick question..have you done any research on petting a cow in u.s? is it allowed??
any requirements-idea??

Maayaa said...

may be, this will be of interest to many!!

Anonymous said...

Looks like people have seriously taken to it. Well it may be possible for people who may have some countryside around their condos, but what about city dwellers.

expertdabbler said...

I think a Non-profit for this purpose and we citizens (of whichever country) supporting it by buying milk from such NPO makes things much more feasible than having cow at home.

Whatever happened to organizations like Blue Cross?

The good life said...

That seems to be the perfect Idea.
Have you read the book...last hours of an ancient sunlight... do is definitely food for thought..

Anonymous said...

If you're worried about karma, what about drinking melamine in your milk like the recent Chinese milk scare?
I think cow rearing, like anything else, is best left to those who know how to do it properly.
Also, there are already plenty of animals suffering in this world under the "care" of those people who think having a pet is supposed to be fun, and not a responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Well, according to the video I saw- the cows are allowed to eat & sleep when they please and come near the milking machines of their own accord (when they feel "heavy") and get milked. The machine simulates calves sucking the cows.

Don't know how far it's true, though.
Believe me, it's impossible to have a cow for each household. I say this because we had a few at home till I went to college.
1. It's extremely difficult to care for them properly (and a cow gets sick more often than cats or dogs). Also, you need a lot of space for the cow to move about and for storing the hay. You can only get that much space in villages and small towns. You also have to keep cleaning the place, if you know what I mean.
2. It's not economical- we spent more on "theeni" than what we'd have spent buying milk. Besides, you don't feel like milking a cow that's just given birth to a calf, so you have to buy milk during that time.
3. As with any other pet, you get so attached to it that you cannot bear to see it die. When one of our cows died, we were so heart-broken that we could not be normal for a few months. :-(
But it was definitely so much fun for us kids. Especially during the times we gave the cows a bath and when one of them was birthing. Those were very good/fun times indeed!

முகிலினி said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
முகிலினி said...

hiiiii Guys, pls watch Food.Inc. You will definitely become vegetarian. And also, you would go to the local farmers and not to the departmental stores.

P.S:- I wanted to relax for awhile so googled "Vanthiya Thevan" and bumped into ur tamil blog. You wont believe,,,,,, the whole night I was up reading both ur Tamil & English Blog. They are AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!