Holy Vagrants: How Homeless Cows Became a Problem in India

As in many cities around the world, stray dogs are abundant in Indian urban communities. But the biggest problem in India is not the dogs, but the cows.

Every month they cause thousands of traffic accidents, block traffic and spread disease.

Photo: bigpicture.com

The fact that there are stray cattle in India is directly related to its sacred status in a predominantly Hindu country. Slaughter is mostly forbidden, and when cows and bulls are no longer useful or pose too much of a financial burden, the owners simply put them on the street.

Cows are most dangerous at night. Drivers of vehicles moving at high speeds have difficulty recognizing these animals in time and accidents can sometimes be fatal.

But accidents and traffic jams are just two problems caused by cows. In fact, cows are sick or carry dangerous pathogens that are transmitted through food and water.

Photo: bigpicture.com

Another problem is illegal dairies in large cities in India. They sell the contaminated milk from street cows cheaply to the poor.

At present, catching is the only option Indian cities use to deal with street cows. Sometimes the people who do this are referred to as cowboys.

Photo: bigpicture.com

The catchers are trying their best to clear the streets of the cities of stray cows, but soon they will run out of space to send the animals to.

Photo: bigpicture.com

Authorities are constantly announcing campaigns to rid cities of stray cows, but an estimated 5 million animals are still roaming the streets.

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