Beef or no Beef.

Few years back we had cows and goats. My parents spent on an average 2 man hours a day after this live-stock to get around 3L of milk per day. Adjusted to inflation this was around Rs 100 worth of milk. I am not counting the money spent on animal doctors and time spent because of restriction of always keeping one person at home to look after the livestock. I am not even adjusting the income for the physical labor they did to take care of these animals.

As years passed the marginal benefit of the home grown milk reduced. The animals became a liability and today we dont have any. My parents looked after all the animals with great care without bothering about money and time. The last cow refused to return home and a speeding truck took her life. Calfs and Bulls were given away for free to tribal farmers.

An era ended. Since time immemorial we have always had ample “Go-dhan” (Cow Wealth).

What happened? In recent years we could simple walk to the local market and buy as much milk as we wanted for much lower price. The efficiency with which we generated milk at home was no match for Goa Dairy’s milk which was milked from some distant cow, pasteurized,  packaged and transported in iced container over several kilometers and was still more abundant and cheaper.

The efficiency and low-costs of Goa Dairy milk was what eventually made us give up our cows.

We take pride in the fact that we do not eat beef and we are god fearing people. We go to local temple and offer milk to Shivalingam. We buy that milk from the local shop. When we leave the Shiva temple we touch Nandi the Bull.

Lets lean back a little and look at that milk on floor a bit. It comes from the local shop which buys it from Goa Dairy. It is cheaper hence we dont mind buying it and offering to the God. We would not have purchased that milk if it was Rs 1000 a liter instead of Rs 50 a liter.

Why is that milk cheap ? Goa dairy buys milk from farmers who own cows. Farmers who own 100s of cows are able to produce milk at cheaper rate than those who own just 1 or 2 cows. To gain more milk these farmers need to make their cows pregnant more often. This happens to through artificial insemination for which they use only 3-4 bulls. But when cows get pregnant they give birth to males or females with 50% probability.

What do you do when 100 cows you own give birth to 50 females and 50 males  ?  Of course like my parents you can be nice to all of them and raise them all. But then you have 50 additional mouths to feed, 50 additional candidates for health checkups and space in your farm. All that cost then needs to be recovered from the milk of cows. The dairy then have to pay these farmers more which then in return is to be earned from consumers. You have to pay a few Rs more each time you buy milk.

Of course the farmers are no fools. They can always sell the bulls to the butcher and earn a few bucks increasing their competitiveness benefits of which are then passed to you and me.

Each time you buy milk in your local shop please remember that someone somewhere is eating a Beef Kebab because you saved few Rupees on milk. When the beef business is banned the farmers cant earn from the butcher but they can still cut their costs by simply killing the bulls and burying them or simply discarding them on road to lead a pathetic life and death under a truck.

The recent beef ban will only mean that a lot of cattle will now die either a discarded life or will be smuggled to be killed in inhuman ways.

Remember that next time you pour milk on Shivalingam, you have been responsible for killing some bull somewhere.

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