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Dear gau rakshaks, more cows die eating plastic than at slaughterhouses

Rathin Das | Updated on: 12 May 2017, 16:57 IST
(Rathin Das/Catch News)

Self-styled cow vigilantes in Gujarat may occasionally arrive on ‘business trips’ at spots where dead animals are skinned, but most fail to notice the real cause that brings untimely death to most of the bovines they regard as ‘mata’ or ‘mother’.

With a view to educate these cow vigilantes about the fact that more cows in the state die from consuming plastics than slaughter, hundreds of Dalits took out a unique march literally ‘showcasing’ the heaps of plastics found in the stomachs of cows.

The march, which started from a Dalit’s house in Wadhwan on 10 May, ended at the Collector’s Office at Surendranagar across the dry Bhogavo river.

The plastic cow

Rathin Das/Catch News

It was a march with a difference. On display atop a tractor, lay dried heaps of plastics actually recovered from the stomachs of dead cows skinned at a designated place about eight kilometres from Natubhai Parmar’s house. Parmar, who is a member of the Navnirman Sarvajanin Trust, organised the innovative ‘show of cause’ for unnatural deaths of cows in the region.

Each heap of dried up plastics hung from a pole were found from a single cow’s stomach. The four plastic heaps hung for display on Wednesday through the twin towns ranged in weight from 20 to 36 kg.

The figures mentioned on the hung heaps of plastics are their current dried up weights, said Parmar. “These heaps weighed much more due to moisture content while coming out fresh from the stomach,” says Parmar, who has given up skinning of dead animals, but collected these plastic heaps over the last few months to display in this rally. 

“Such bundles of plastics are found from stomachs of almost every cow that dies in urban areas, the highest ever being 60 kilos (when dry)”, Natubhai told Catch.

“If rarely there is a dead cow without plastics in is stomach, it is definitely from a rural family which has never allowed its animals to go out in the open for grazing”, added Natubhai.

Along with the plastic heaps hung from a pole atop the tractor trailer, the Dalits had also prepared an eight-feet high metal model of a cow and stuffed its belly with nearly 100 kg of plastics actually recovered from stomachs of dead cows in the town.

Banning plastic

Rathin Das/Catch News

The announcements, speeches, slogans and leaflets distributed en route to the Collector’s Office in Surendranagar had only one theme that more cows die due to eating plastics than through slaughter.

Those participating in the rally demanded that plastics should be totally banned if cow lovers are really serious about saving their ‘Mother’ from an untimely death.

But banning plastics would be next to impossible in a state where it is a very profitable by-product for many manufacturing processes operated by top business houses friendly with the government and the ruling party.

The parading the plastic heaps was followed up by another dramatic move: samples of the same, in small glass bottles, were sent to all 182 legislators of the Gujarat Assembly. 

The agitators demanded that the MLAs enact a law that would treat cows’ deaths due to plastics as cow slaughter and those responsible for such deaths should be prosecuted for murder of ‘Mother’.

More cows die due to lack of fodder, water and eating plastics than at hands of the slaughterhouses

After parking the plastic-stuffed cow model and the trailer with hung heaps in the Collector’s Office compound, the rallyists handed over to the Resident Collector all the 182 small glass bottles with actual plastic pieces from dead cows’ stomach. The official was requested to have these bottles forwarded to the 182 individual MLAs of the state for creating an awareness about the real cause about the unnatural deaths of most cows in the state.

A memorandum, embossed on a copper plate, given to the Resident Collector at the Collector’s Office compound to remind the government and all cow lovers that more cows die due to lack of fodder, water and plastics than at hands of the slaughter houses.

First published: 12 May 2017, 16:57 IST