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India is a place known for its humane treatment of animals — especially that of cows. Here, the majority of the population follow Hinduism, and they believe that the cow is a sacred animal. And thus, big cities like India’s capital — New Delhi — are permeated with millions of people among millions of cows.

But, just because cows may be considered sacred in this country doesn’t mean that they receive the special treatment they deserve. Cows of India wander the streets and graze on littered trash. They, sometimes, unknowingly hurt themselves by consuming scattered plastics and other debris

However, this is not the worst they face. There are smugglers and thieves, who do not see cows as sacred will, and steal cows, sending them off to illicit slaughterhouses.

“The illicit slaughterhouses, activists say, are dark, wretched places that spring up in India’s slums,” according to a recent report in Vocativ. “The cattle that survive the slog to the butcher are typically hit with hammers before workers slit their throats, leaving them to die in a pool of their own blood. Some, activists say, are skinned while they’re still alive.”

Abusing and killing cows is illegal in India and it’s even written in their constitution: “It shall be the fundamental duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the Natural Environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and to have compassion for all living creatures.”

Although there has not been a big fight against the illegal stealing, smuggling and slaughter of the holy cow yet, a new ministry (just for cows) was set up in January of this year and the fact that India has an Animal Welfare Board might ease your worry for India’s cows.

I guess, life isn’t all fun and games for anybody — even India’s cows.

Image Source: Rohan Babu/Flickr