I’ve always loved cows
I don’t know when or why my love of cows started, but I’ve been crazy about them ever since I can remember. Every time I see one I get excited, and I’m lucky that I grew up in the Peak District – plenty of cattle.
Recently living on a farm in Nepal, and learning about Hinduism, has given me a bit of a different perspective on cows. They were living on the land as equals with us, and treated with great respect.
Cows in Hinduism
In Hinduism cows are valued and allowed to have their freedom. People often think they’re worshipped as gods, which isn’t true, they’re just highly respected. When I was trying to get money exchanged at Gorkha Bazaar I saw a cow queuing up for the bank. I saw cows in the middle of the road, and I saw cows living in strange places – like rubbish tips.
I’m not sure how I feel about cows being left to fend for themselves, but I enjoyed having them around and being respected.
When I got back home I started eating ‘happy meat’ only. This means I’ll only eat meat that’s had a happy life, so I look for free range, organic and outdoor bred. It hasn’t been easy but I think that’s the point – things need to change.
I watched the ‘The magic pill’ the other day – which is a documentary about embracing fat as our main food. I’m not a health professional but what stood out to me was a section about agriculture. A farmer called Joel Salatin was interviewed and he explained his innovative holistic approach to farming:
“I think a lot of industrial agriculture thinking is that the earth is a reluctant lover whereas, actually, we view the earth as an abundant loving partner.”
How great is that?
The show clearly explains how crazy our agricultural system is, and how we have to produce a large amount of corn to feed the cows which is a whole other separate part of the system impacting the planet (when the cows should really be eating and living on grass).
I’ve got beef
So now I’m on a bit of a mission to understand our agriculture more. Is it as easy as letting nature do the work for us? According to Lierre Keith in the documentary it is:
“Take the same acre of land but you don’t hurt it in any way. You let it have it’s own impulse, it’s own wisdom toward life, it’s own wild way. That is how we lived for 2.5 million years as humans on this planet – participating in that cycle.”
Maybe this is the happy medium of respecting cattle? We don’t leave them completely alone to queue up for the bank, we keep them on land that they can eat and keep them sheltered from predators as our part of the cycle. We probably wouldn’t have as many cows this way… but I’m not a farmer.
I’ll continue my investigating and hopefully have a follow up post soon.
Find out more
You can watch ‘The magic pill” on Netflix if you have it. The part about agriculture is around 1hour 8 mins in.
Read about Joel Salatin’s farm on www.thebeefsite.com