Diet or Deity?: A Study of Cows in Indian Society

By: Johanna Mazer, Mariam Martinez, and Abigail Richard

The perception of cows throughout history has varied from different cultural lenses. Globally cows are most commonly seen as a food source for their meat and for their milk. All around the world they are also viewed as a source of leather, a source of economic gain, sacred animals in religion, and wild animals in nature. Cows in India were recently banned from being slaughtered in animal markets in 2015 (Gundimeda and  Ashwin 171). This has caused an intensified debate addressing speciesism which has led to unethical actions and violence.

These opposing viewpoints have been influenced by a number of factors including politics, religion, education, residence, and economics (Gundimeda and Ashwin 156). This debate created a schism between Muslims and Hindus in particular (Kale 493). Many lifestyles of the people living in India revolve around their perception of cows. People practicing any religion, farmers, and butchers are particularly affected by this governmental policy. Social institutions have polarized the perception of cows and negatively impacted minorities in India, raising awareness of the need for environmental justice. Coming to an ethical conclusion on the cow ban involves consideration of all stakeholders.


Key Words

Environmental Justice


Table of Contents

Religious Aspect

Dietary Aspect

Monetary Aspect

Counter Argument

Ethical Conclusion

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