India: Nails, balls, plastic … 71 kilograms of waste in a lost cow’s stomach

Faridabad | The head of the organization told AFP that after an accident on a road in northern India, a stray cow had been treated with 71 kilograms of waste, mostly plastic, in its stomach.

Around five million cows roam the cities of India, most of which only feed on massive amounts of garbage, including plastic and metal, which usually litter the country’s streets.

According to the People For Animals Trust veterinary shelter in Faridabad, northern Haryana state, which treated a cow found injured on a road last week, a veterinarian noticed that she was also suffering from stomach gas.

Four hours after the surgery, which did not save the animal, veterinarians extracted the nails, plastic, balls, marble and more from its abdomen, from all the 71-kilogram waste, according to AFP People For Animals Trust head Ravi Dubay. He said, “It was a shock to us.”

“In thirteen years of experience, this was the largest amount of waste we have ever pulled from a cow (…) The extraction of everything was very physical.”

Previous records were, according to Ravi Dubay, around 50 kg.

“A cow is a particularly sacred animal to us, but nobody cares about its presence. On every street corner and in every city they eat garbage.”

The majority of Hindus worship cows in the country.

The implementation of very strict cattle protection measures required by the Hindu nationalist government of Narendra Modi is the reason for the increase in the number of cattle roaming freely.

Farmers used to abandon old or infirm animals instead of selling them to slaughterhouses.

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Romula de Silva, vice president of the Karuna Society of Animals and Nature, told AFP that the problem of cows feeding on litter “exists in all cities of India, large and small.” In Andhra Pradesh (South).

“Anywhere the cows roam the streets, you can make sure they are filled with plastic,” she adds.

His organization saw this about ten years ago, when it nursed 35 abandoned cows, one of which died suddenly. An autopsy revealed an enormous amount of plastic in the stomach, Romula de Silva recalls, as the other livestock examined contained the same amount.

There are no national statistics on the number of cows that die from the amount of waste ingested. But according to information from The Times of India from 2017, citing officials from veterinary services and animal rights groups, about 1,000 cows die every year in Lucknow (North) alone.

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