Failing to Hold Violent 'Cow Protectors' to Account in India – Human Rights Watch

Irshad Khan holds a picture of his father, Pehlu Khan. Irshad, his brother, his father, and two others were attacked by members of a cow protection group while transporting cattle from Rajasthan to Haryana in 2017. Pehlu Khan was killed in the attack. 


© 2017 Cathal McNaughton/Reuters

Over two years after a mob killed a Muslim dairy farmer, no one has been held accountable for his death. Authorities in India are failing to properly investigate people responsible for a violent campaign against those engaged in the cattle trade or who consume beef.

On August 14, a court in Rajasthan acquitted all men on trial of killing a Muslim dairy farmer, Pehlu Khan, saying there were serious lapses in investigation. Khan, 55, and four others, were stopped by a mob in Alwar district in April 2017 as they were legally transporting cows. They were brutally beaten in an attack that was filmed on a mobile phone and widely shared on social media. Khan died two days later from his injuries.

Since 2014, at least 50 people, mostly Muslims, have been killed in similar attacks. Dalits, so-called untouchables, have also been targeted because they handle animal carcasses and leather. The government has promised justice for these hate crimes, but Khan’s case highlights many findings of a Human Rights Watch report that police stall investigations, ignore procedures, file criminal cases against witnesses to harass and intimidate them, and even cover up to protect perpetrators.

For instance, instead of filing a case against Khan’s attackers, police immediately proceeded against the victims, including Khan, who was fatally injured, and his sons, accusing them of smuggling cows. Police discarded Khan’s dying declaration in which he named alleged perpetrators – some of whom were allegedly linked with Hindu militant organizations affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The judgment said the investigating officer did not present to court details from that investigation. Instead, based on video evidence, the police accused other men. However, as the judgment noted, the police did not conduct a test identification parade, a legal procedure in which witnesses and victims are asked to identify an offender from a line-up of individuals. The court also noted that police failure to seize the mobile phone from which they got the video of the attack showed serious negligence of the investigating officer.

Two other accused are being separately prosecuted by a juvenile court. The state government has said that it will appeal the verdict.

In July 2018, India’s Supreme Court issued a series of directives for “preventive, remedial and punitive” measures to address “lynching” – the term used in India for killing by a mob. As the Khan case shows, authorities have yet to comply with the court’s directives.

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Video: Rescuers Save Cow From Water-Filled Trench | PETA – PETA

A harrowing day had a happy ending for one sweet bovine, thanks to a team of rescuers who refused to give up.

Indian animal rescue organization Animal Rahat (“rahat” means “relief”) was called to help a cow who had fallen into a 15-foot-deep, water-filled concrete gutter. She was terrified and possibly injured. A veterinarian with the group—which often works closely with PETA India—and three other staff members quickly gathered their gear and rushed to the scene.

A crowd had gathered around the distressed cow and her worried guardian, but no one had managed to pull her safely out of the trench. The Animal Rahat team contacted firefighters, who arrived with a steel ladder, and the cow’s guardian quickly climbed down. But he had barely made it into the water when a floating piece of glass cut his leg and became embedded in his skin. With the guardian now in need of treatment himself, a member of the Animal Rahat team jumped into the gutter and took over.

It took 30 minutes, but the team was able to locate a crane, position a series of ropes around the frightened cow’s body, and, finally, slowly lift her back onto dry land. The careful, determined rescue was all caught on video:

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Asking the cheering crowd to disperse so that they could calm their distressed patient, the team rubbed and petted the cow to comfort her while the vet treated her for a cut to one of her legs and an abrasion below her eye. After a terrifying day, she was ready to go home to a hearty meal and her bovine best friend.

A few days later, when the cow and her guardian were both on the mend, they had some special visitors: the Animal Rahat team. Her ordeal over and her wounds healing, the grateful animal seemed to remember the people who had saved her life.

Please, never ignore an animal who is injured or in danger—you may be his or her only chance of survival. If you need help and authorities or animal control won’t provide it, please contact PETA.

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Cow gut study finds bugs that could up yields – Phys.org

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Cutting-edge DNA technologies have discovered thousands of bugs in cows’ stomachs that could improve meat and dairy production, and keep cattle healthy.

The findings build the clearest picture yet of how the microbes in a cow’s rumen—the first of its four stomachs—help cattle to digest, and extract energy from, their food.

Researchers analyzed the rumen contents of hundreds of cows and discovered thousands of bacteria, as well as archaea—a separate group of single-celled organism. Pinpointing which microbes are essential for livestock wellbeing and food production could inform future breeding programs.

These microbes enable cattle, and other ruminants, to convert plants and low-value products that humans cannot eat into food with high nutritional value, such as meat, milk and cheese.

Global Warming

The microscopic organisms provide cattle with nutrients and energy, contribute to the animals’ health and, as a bi-product, release methane which is a concern for global warming.

The latest research follows on from a study by the same team last year, in which DNA data from 42 cows was analyzed. Until this study, the diverse mix of bacteria and archaea that live in the rumen was poorly understood. Scientists had been unable to link DNA analysis to food digestion, animal health and greenhouse gas emissions.

The team used the latest DNA technologies, including a handheld sequencing device that can quickly generate DNA data that is incredibly long and detailed. This allowed the researchers to completely sequence the genomes, from beginning to end, of several new bacterial species.

New Strains

They studied samples from 283 cows, identified almost 5,000 new strains of microbe and more than 2,000 novel species—microbes that previously no-one knew existed.

Hundreds of thousands of novel enzymes, whose instructions are encoded in the DNA, may have potential uses as biofuels, or in the biotechnology industries. By analyzing their genetic information, the team pinpointed previously unknown enzymes that can extract energy and nutrition from plant material.

The study was carried out by researchers at the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Institute, in collaboration with Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the Rowett Institute at the University of Aberdeen. It is published in the journal, Nature Biotechnology.

“The cow rumen is a gift that keeps on giving. We were surprised by how many completely new microbes we have discovered, which is far more than in our previous study. The findings will inform studies of cow health and meat and dairy production for many years to come,” says Professor Mick Watson, Head of genetics and genomics at The Roslin Institute.

“We’ve identified some 5,000 novel genomes of microbial species in the rumen that all play a vital role. Not only do they enhance breeding and nutrition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cattle, they also improve production efficiency, product quality and animal health,” says Professor Rainer Roehe, professor of animal genetics and microbiome at SRUC.


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DNA study of cow stomachs could aid meat and dairy production


More information:
Robert D. Stewart et al. Compendium of 4,941 rumen metagenome-assembled genomes for rumen microbiome biology and enzyme discovery, Nature Biotechnology (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41587-019-0202-3

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Cow gut study finds bugs that could up yields (2019, August 13)
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Motorcyclist killed in crash with cow on S. Oregon highway, troopers say – OregonLive

A motorcyclist died after hitting a cow on a southern Oregon highway early Monday, troopers say.

The Oregon State Police said Stephen Coolidge, 57, of Jacksonville hit the cow while traveling west on Oregon 238 in the Medford area.

The cow was also killed, troopers said.

The highway was closed for more than two hours. Authorities initially responded about 3:20 a.m.

— Jim Ryan; jryan@oregonian.com; 503-221-8005; @Jimryan015

Visit subscription.oregonlive.com/newsletters to get Oregonian/OregonLive journalism delivered to your email inbox.

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Cow deaths: toxic materialfound in viscera samples? – The Hindu

Veterinary officials who collected viscera, water and fodder samples from the dead cows at Sree Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangam, reportedly found some toxic material.

Doctors who performed postmortem on the dead cows have concluded that the deaths did not occur due to excess food consumption as expected, and the cows died due to presence of some toxic material.

A farmer, Y. Gopala Reddy of Sunkireddypalem village in Prakasam district is supplying green grass to Gosala twice a day. On Saturday, seven tonnes of grass was sent to Gosala on trucks.

Police said that 86 cows and a few calves died and 15 more fell sick after consuming fodder in the Gosala in the wee hours on Saturday.

Committee members under scanner

Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangam has 38 committee members and 300 general body members, headed by president Gopisetty Mallaiah, Suresh Kumar Jain, vice-president and Saboo Govind Singh, general secretary. The Sangam is also maintaining Gosalas in other places in the city, including at Kothur Tadepalli village. “The committee is running the Gosalas by collecting funds from donors. We are inquiring the activities of the committee members,” the police said.

Police, who clarified that there was no section under IPC for suspicious deaths of cattle, are waiting for the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL) report in the case. If the forensic officials confirm that there was a conspiracy and the cows were poisoned, police will come into action.

Interestingly, Animal Husbandry Department officials, who are tight lipped over the cause of deaths, gave a non-commital response that police are investigating the tragedy.

Officials are focussing on the internal dissidents in Sree Vijayawada Gosamrakshana Sangam, which could be one of the reasons for killing cows. Police said there were no CCTVs in and around the Gosala.

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Lack of funds stalls research in cow-derivatives – The Hindu

The Centre’s ambitious scientific initiative SVAROP — aimed at validating research on cow-derivatives, including urine, and their benefits — has not made any headway even after two years as four of the five Ministries have not sanctioned funds, the convenor of the mission said.

V.K. Vijay, head of the Centre for Rural Development and Technology, IIT-Delhi, and the convenor of Scientific Validation and Research on Panchagavya (SVAROP), said of the ₹100 crore earmarked for the project, the Ministry of Science and Technology has sanctioned only ₹30 crore.

The four other Ministries involved in the project — Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Renewable Energy, Ayush Ministry and Ministry of Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises — are yet to sanction their share of money, Mr. Vijay said.

Under the programme, several projects proposals were invited for research. “The status is as it is. Nothing is progressing. Now that a new Ministry (Ministry for animal husbandry, dairy and fisheries) under Giriraj Singh is in place, I think they will start it,” he said.

“We had (been earmarked) ₹100 crore. The DST has approved ₹30 crore but unless other Ministries release it (funds), they will not approve it. All ministries were to contribute equally. The S&T Ministry approved it but others didn’t,” Mr. Vijay said.

RSS, VHP members in panel

In April 2017, the government had set up a 19-member panel, including three members linked to the RSS and the VHP, to carry out what it said will be scientifically validated research on cow-derivatives, including its urine, and their benefits, according to an inter-departmental circular and members of the panel.

Headed by Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan, the committee was to select projects that could help scientifically validate the benefits of panchagavya — the concoction of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee — in various spheres such as nutrition, health and agriculture.

Named the National Steering Committee, the panel included Secretaries of the Departments of Science and Technology, Biotechnology, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, and scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi.

It also included three members of Vigyan Bharti and ‘Go-Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra’, outfits affiliated to the RSS and the VHP.

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100 cows dead in Vijayawada gaushala – Gulf News

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Vijayawada: Over 100 cows died of poisoning in a gaushala on the outskirts of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, police said on Saturday.

The incident occurred late on Friday night after the cows were given their feed at the cow shed run by non-governmental organisation Kothuru Tadepalli.

While 98 cows died hours later, the remaining are battling for life, police said.

Sahu, a cow shed committee member, said the cows started collapsing a couple of hours after they were given the feed.

Officials suspect food poisoning as the cause of the death. Police summoned veterinary doctors to conduct an autopsy on the dead cows.

Differences between the cow shed management is believed to have led to the incident as one group suspects that the feed was poisoned.

Krishna District Collector Mohammed Imtiaz visited the gaushala and ordered a probe. He said the death of a large number of cows was unfortunate.

The cow shed had more than 1,000 cows, most rescued from slaughter houses. Some cows were donated by people.

Police said they were questioning the employees who fed the animals and were also checking CCTV footage to find out if any outsider entered the cow shed before the incident.

As many as 24 cows had died at the cow shed run by the same committee near Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada two years ago. The cows were fed with stale wheat flour that resulted in their falling sick and ultimately their death. After the incident, the committee shifted the cow shed to the city outskirts.

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Ranchers dispute UN report that links cows to climate change – CBS News

A major report from the United Nations focuses on the key role of our food and land use in fighting climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says agriculture, forestry and other land uses produce nearly half of the world’s methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that also comes from cows.

But many ranchers argue the cow-climate change connection is overblown. One study says going vegan for a year reduces your carbon footprint by half as much as avoiding a single flight to Europe. Rancher Brandi Buzzard says the cattle she raises for beef are part of the solution to climate change, not the problem.   

“When cattle graze on grass pastures, they are actually improving the grass and what they’re grazing on,” she said. “We are doing everything we can to improve our environmental footprint.”  

That footprint, according to the UN report, contributes to 44% of methane emissions that come from agriculture, forestry and human land use. According to the authors, “There has been a major growth in emissions from managed pastures due to increased manure deposition.”

Cow manure emits methane which can also come from cow burps, and yes, cow flatulence. Electricity generation and transportation like car emissions make up the majority of U.S.-produced greenhouse gases. But cows account for 2.6%.

A climate reckoning in the heartland

“So I think we can make more impactful changes in our lives through recycling, or walking to work, or using public transportation than we can by actually changing what we eat, because it will have such a minimal impact,” Buzzard said.

But changing what we eat, is what the report suggests. It argues, in part, that eating more plant-based foods and sustainably-produced meats can change land use and mitigate climate change.

“The purpose of this report is to say that just doing transportation and electricity isn’t enough, we need to also think about our land use and we need to think about agriculture,” said Steve Blackledge, the conservation program director for Environment America.

That’s why some dairy farms are trapping methane from manure under tarps and converting it to fuel for trucks. At University of California Davis, scientists are using the equivalent of a cow breathalyzer to measure how different feed affects manure outputs.

UC Davis professor Frank Mitloehner, who studies livestock and air quality, wants Americans to focus on the energy wasted on food they don’t consume.

“40% of all food produced in this country goes to waste and you know who the main culprit is? You and I,” Mitloehner said. “So if you’re really concerned about your personal environmental footprint around food, well, waste less.”

Some ranchers say that they do believe in climate change and are taking steps to combat it, but they say the earth is being impacted by changing weather patterns, not global warming. Still, the UN report says temperature over land since the pre-industrial era has already increased by nearly 3 degrees Fahrenheit.

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Photo: 'Cow salon' welcomes Idul Adha – Jakarta Post

Asip Hasani

In the lead-up to Idul Adha (Day of Sacrifice), cattle traders can expect an increase in income as more cattle are sold for the holiday. For cattle groomers that specialize in hoof and horn services at Dimoro Animal Market in Blitar, East Java, expectations are the same, with spikes in income typical ahead of the religious day.

Cattle with cleaner hooves and horns are perceived to be healthier and better taken care of, making them more attractive to prospective buyers. As such, cattle-care vendors found in the depths of the market run what is known as the “cow salon” by traders in the area.

“It’s still relatively quiet right now. A week before Idul Adha, however, it will start to get crowded”, Dwi a 45-year-old owner of a cattle-care service at Dimoro market, told The Jakarta Post on Aug. 2.

Similar to manicure and pedicure services for people, Dwi provides the same service to clean cow hooves and ox horns at a rate of between Rp 20,000 (US$1.4) and Rp 50,000. Dwi’s rate for trimming services and to clean two pairs of cow “nails” costs about Rp 30,000.

Cattle owners can choose from a selection of treatments or combination of treatments. “It depends on what you want.

There’s also a service for hoof cleaning without the hoof trimming. There are also those who ask for the horns to be cleaned without being trimmed,” Dwi said.

To provide the services, Dwi uses an array of tools, such as a hacksaw, hammer, chisel, sickle and knives.

On a single day, Dwi can clean the hooves and horns of between seven and 10 cows. However, Dwi cannot provide these services every day, as the cattle market is only open on certain days such as the day of Legi on the Javanese calendar.

Not all cows undergo treatment at the market. Usually, only the cattle that are sent out of town are the ones that undergo hoof and horn treatment, as they need to be sold sooner than the cows that end up staying in the province for Idul Adha.

However, cattle-grooming services are in demand even on normal days, as some farmers rely on cows at their homes. According to Dwi, taking care of a cow is beneficial to its health. (sal/mut)

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Iowa landowners win appeal to sue cow farm for manure spills – KCRG

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A northeast Iowa couple has won an appeal of their lawsuit against a neighboring cattle farm and can seek damages for repeated manure spills onto their property.

The Iowa Court of Appeals said Wednesday that Lee and Rita Dvorak may pursue damages against Oak Grove Cattle, a feed lot near Riceville that once held as many as 1,000 cows but closed in 2016.

The court’s decision reverses a judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit in August 2018. The judge concluded the Dvoraks waited too long to file but the appeals court says the manure was a continuing problem and the statute of limitations didn’t apply.

The couple dealt with manure flowing onto their property from 2009 to 2016 and spent thousands of dollars to empty and refill a contaminated farm pond and clean up their property.

An attorney for Oak Grove farm and owner David Eastman did not immediately respond to a message.

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