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There's No Sacred Cow

I just came across a New York Times article about Indian wildlife poachers going after smaller exotic animals (e.g. the Indian pangolin and the star tortoise) because their government has stepped up efforts to protect marquee endangered species such as tigers and rhinos. 

I make no presumption with respect to the religious leanings of these poachers, but it's fair to say that in a country that is predominantly Hindu, these folks are probably not trading in cow hide or beef jerky.  Is it not terribly ironic for a culture to have a designated sacred animal while other sentient beings are considered resources to be plundered? 

There is a collective disconnect when a prevailing religious observation or practice becomes a token act of fake virtue, divorced from meaning or even practicality.  A holy cow is as arbitrary as a holy chicken or a holy chipmunk.  If you recognize the cow as symbolic of the source of life and the sanctity of life, then you naturally respect all of life, and treat all animals humanely; you may choose to be a vegetarian, or you may choose to enjoy animal flesh without guilt.  Letting cows run around loose while other animals are being slaughtered - there's nothing worshipful about it, nor spiritually instructive.  It's pure superstition.  No animal is more holy or sacred than others.  The cows just got lucky.  Let these beautiful animals remind us of the life-sustaining gifts that we receive daily, so that we may pay it forward - with mercy.  

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