Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Hindus protest at foot-and-mouth slaughter

Cranmer has been waiting for this one, and, after Shambo, the Government should have seen it coming. Having established that Hindus revere the cow, not the bull, it is perfectly reasonable that they should wade in when hundreds are being unnecessarily culled. There are some 560,000 Hindus living in the UK, and they are demanding that the Government 'explore other options' rather than slaughter cattle in the wake of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

The cow is not worshipped by Hindus, and neither is it ‘sacred’ in the sense that ‘holiness’ is understood by Christians; it is Aghanya - literally, that which may not be slaughtered. The reasons for this are a point of contention, and not all Hindus agree. For some, the cow is a ‘mother’ figure, because it produces life-giving milk; for others, it is representative of all animals, and its meat is symbolic of the era in which the Jains and Buddhists appeared and objected to the flesh-eating Hindus. The most likely, however, is down to a scriptural misunderstanding of an ancient Vedic Sanskrit term. There is etymological commonality in the Sanskrit terms for ‘light’ and ‘cow’: ‘go-’ may mean ‘of cows’ and also ‘light’, and since light and fire are intrinsic to Hindu puja, symbolic of cleansing and purity, it is a short step to bestowing upon the cow the same attributes.

Thus, as is ever so frequent, a religious practice developed out of misunderstanding and misinterpretation. That which was originally concerned with ‘guarding the light’ has developed into ‘guarding the cow’, and Hindus so became.

However, the development of this belief is irrelevant as far as the present debate is concerned; it is of no more importance than the origins of the refusal of Jews and Mohammedans to eat pork; it simply is. And with another outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, the Hindus are witnessing an offensive slaughter nightly on their television screens, and they wish to see an end to it.

And Cranmer agrees with them. Not because he believes the cow is the light of the world, but because of the human suffering endured by each farmer, with the manifold others who are profoundly and traumatically affected. Farming is enormously stressful at the best of times, such that it even has its own stress network to help reduce the numbers of suicides among the farming community. But Cranmer also joins with the Hindus because there is a vaccine for this illness, which is of little more significance and certainly no more serious than a bout of bovine influenza. But since the UK joined the EEC and agreed to abide by all the rules and regulations of the CAP, the Government is powerless, and now the EU dictates what may and may not be done to Britain’s cattle.

Mr Brown may be doing a very good job of appearing to be in charge, but, rest assured that he is taking his orders from this woman – Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel – who is actually in charge of the United Kingdom’s agriculture policy. She is a Danish modern language graduate with a background in Belgian economics, who apparently knows everything there is to know about cows. So that’s alright then.

But this illness is of no danger to the general public, so why not stop the senseless slaughter if it offends Hindus? We appear to have banned Piglet (and the ‘three little pigs’) to avoid offending Muslims. And having observed the Mohammedan tactics of aggression, recently emulated by the Sikhs, one might understand if the Hindus are feeling more than a little left out, and have therefore decided to acquired a bit of attitude.

It is not the cow-god that concerns Cranmer, but the relativism-god, and the pluralism-god. It is the worship of these that has brought us to our plight: firebombs, floods and disease are simply the price we pay.


Anonymous Ali Gledhill said...

Although Foot and Mouth is really not very harmful, I believe the argument for containing it stems from the fact that the meat of infected cattle cannot be sold. It is also my understanding that whilst the vaccine will stop cattle from being infected, it does not stop it being spread.

Thus it is seen by the govt/EU that killing some animals in the short-term is better than having the infection spreading for months. 2001 was different, though: with so many animals infected it would have been far better for British agriculture to vaccinate animals.

8 August 2007 at 12:15  
Anonymous Fred said...

Memory getting a bit rusty here, so open to correction from those who can produce the facts.

Before the UK joined the EU, it was the accepted UK practice to destroys that had, or might have had, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Most on "the Continent" relied on inoculation. The British negotiations to join the EU, and therefore the CAP, got a bit stuck on this difference of approach. The British claimed that having proven FMD-free status (no unseen disease lurking in vaccinated herds) was good for the UK's exports of breeding animals. Because the EU insists on a "one size fits all" approach to everything, including FMD, the UK willingly gave up control of its own outbreaks of FMD in order to prevent insistence on inoculation by the Continentals. The quid pro quo seems to have been the success of the Continentals in preventing the burying of the slaughtered livestock (against the ban on landfill, don't you know).

As others have said elsewhere, must of the meat consumed by the British is actually produced in areas where FMD is endemic, Brazil for example.

8 August 2007 at 15:46  
Blogger Didactophobe said...

When my grandmother and her sisters were children (we're talking 1920s here), they traipsed across the fields to the next farm to play with the kids there (without their parents' permission).

When they got home, they discovered to their horror that a message had been sent ahead of them to say that the neighbouring farm had an outbreak of FMD.

I think the procedure was to slaughter the entire herd: it was certainly a Very Big Issue.

8 August 2007 at 18:24  
Anonymous CCTV said...

I now know Batman was a Hindu

8 August 2007 at 20:20  
Anonymous CCTV said...

Hindu Maiden Receives Visitation

8 August 2007 at 20:22  

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