Some people don’t eat cows. Some people extend the prohibition to not eating dairy products, which I don’t really get. I guess they believe that cows aren’t food, and they just want us to leave them alone.
The question is, “If cows aren’t food, what exactly are they?”
I claim no expertise concerning the bovine species. I just think about stuff and today, I’m thinking about cows. My mind goes where it goes. I can’t stop it. I’m not sure I’d want to if I could.
The people who want us to leave cows alone clearly like cows. (Most people pretty much like cows, though it doesn’t stop us from enjoying them at mealtime.) Those who stand up for cows want the cows to be happy and flourish, for them to, in the Star Trek vernacular, “Live long and prosper.”
The problem is this.
Under the system currently in place, people – farmers and ranchers – take care of cows. They don’t do it out of kindness. They have ulterior motives. Farmers and ranchers make money off of cows. They invest in their wellbeing – food and protection, maybe some shots and veterinary bills – in hopes of reaping a profit down the line. There is no altruism involved. These people are in the cow business.
Suppose, however, that there was no cow business, no way to profit from cows whatsoever. Cows simply existed, left completely alone to enjoy their lives. Nobody slaughtered them. But nobody took care of them either. They were simply left to their own resources.
Can cows fend for themselves? Can they provide themselves with food and shelter and protection from, I don’t know, wolves? If they can, good luck to them. But if they can’t, what exactly is going become of them?
When cows no longer pay their own way, who’s going to want to invest in them? There’d be no incentive anymore. You think people will sink money into cows and just have them wandering around their property?
Is there any chance cows will morph into household pets? They’re not puppies. They’re actually not that cute. “Cow rides”, does that sound like a future for them? Not as long as there are horses around. They’d have to line up behind camels and llamas.
We’re not India; we’re not going to suddenly to the level of deities and start praying to them. They’d probably just be ignored.
What are they going to do?
I recognize the issue of, “Why do they have to do anything?” It’s a legitimate issue. I won’t argue that “Cows were put here for a purpose” – I don’t know why cows were put here – I don’t know why anything was put here – but over the centuries, a purpose has evolved. Cows became “people food.” All kinds of food – meat, milk, butter, cheese. Cows were a pantry on legs.
The question is, what happens when they’re not?
In my view, cows, rendered purposeless, are on the “fast track” to extinction. A few devoted cow lovers might protect them for a while, but, you know, generations pass, and, eventually, somebody’s going to say, “What are we doing this for?”
It’s unquestionable that the people sensitive to the mistreatment of cows want those animals to stick around. Yet it seems to me, the treatment they’re insisting upon will inevitably lead to the opposite result.
The only way to insure that cows will always be with us is to keep eating them.