India has 150 million cows. Indian cows give less than 200 litres of milk per year!! If they are properly fed and looked after, they can give 11,000 litres Indian milk is the cheapest in the world. With enhanced production we could become the world's largest exporter of milk and that will become India's biggest foreign exchange earner.
The cow was elevated to divinity in the Rig Veda. Indian society has addressed the cow as “Gow Mata”. The “Samudra Mathana” brings to light the story of the creation of the cow. Five divine Kamadhenus - Nanda, Subhadra, Surabhi, Sushila, Bahula.
Thousands of names in our country are cow-related: Gauhati, Gorakhpur, Goa, Godhra, Gondiya, Godavari, Govardhan, Gautam, Gomukh, Gokarna, Goyal, Gochar etc.
Directive Principles of the Constitution of India in Article 48 says: “The State shall endeavour to organise agriculture and animal husbandry on modern and scientific lines and shall, in particular, take steps for preserving and improving the breeds, and prohibiting the slaughter of cows and calves and other milch and draught cattle”.
During the First War of Independence in 1857, when Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ was installed as emperor by the Hindus in Delhi for a brief period and made cow killing a capital offence. In Maharaja Ranjit Singh's kingdom, the only crime that invited capital punishment was cow slaughter.
The cow, according to the Vedas, provides four products for human use:
(i) Godugdha (cow milk): As per Ayurveda, cow milk has fat, carbohydrates, minerals and Vitamin B, and even a capacity for body resistance to radiation and for regenerating brain cells.
(ii) Goghruta (ghee): The best ghee, it is, as per Ayurveda useful in many disorders. In yajna, it improves the air's oxygen level.
(iii) Gomutra (urine): Among 8 types of urine used for medicinal purposes, cow urine is held to be the best. If we don’t act fast, Americans will patent it. It has anti-cancer, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antioxidant properties. It has immune-modulator properties, which makes it useful for immune deficiency diseases. In the classics there are many references to cow urine as a drug of choice. Even the Parsis follow this practice.
(iv) Gomaya (dung): That is considered as valuable as Gomutra and used to purify the environment, as it has radium and checks radiation effects.
Ancient Hindu wisdom on the medicinal properties of cow urine is borne out by 2 patents granted in the US for cow urine distillate (Patent numbers 6410059 and 6896907).
Even China has granted the distillate a patent as a DNA protector.
A global patent has been granted for cow urine, neem and garlic as a pest repellent and for fungicidal and growth promoting properties for different crops (WHO 2004/ 087618A1). A US patent has been granted for strains from Sahiwal cow milk for plant growth promoter phytopathogenic fungi controlling activity, abiotic stress tolerating capability, phosphatic solubilisation capability, etc.
And CSIR has filed for a US patent for amrit pani, a mixture of cow dung, cow urine and jiggery, for soil health improvement properties. These claims were initially made in the Charaka Samhita, Sushruta, Vaghbhata and Nighantu, Ratnakar, etc. They prove the utility of cow dung and urine for sustainable agriculture as well as for disease prevention.
Thus cow protection makes economic and ecological sense. Non-vegetarianism indirectly contributes heavily to greenhouse gases and other pollution. One kilogram of beef takes 7 kg of grass (or plants) and 7,000 kg of water to produce. A dietician's chart shows that beef with 22 per cent protein ranks below soya-bean (43), groundnut (31) and pulses (24 per cent).
UN report from 2006 that says, "Raising animals for meat as food generates more greenhouse gasses than all the cars and trucks in the world combined". Ten of billions of animals farmed for food release gases such as Methane, Nitrous Oxide and Carbon Dioxide through their massive amounts of manure. "The released Methane has 23 times the global warming potential of CO2" says the report!!
For these animals to graze, virgin forests are cleared. The livestock industry also needs vast stretches of land to raise crops to feed these animals. The CO2 that the trees and plants store escapes into the air when they are destroyed. Alarming though these facts are, all that people have to do is to avoid red meat!!
A single individual by not consuming meat prevents the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions in a year. This is more than the one tonne of CO2 prevented by switching from a large sedan to a small car.
So there are a number of reasons to be a vegetarian.