Rustlers Target India's Sacred Cows
As meat consumption rises, so does black market beef
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted May 27, 2013 3:23 PM CDT
Hindu devotees pray to a cow on “Somvati Purnima” or a full moon day that falls on a Monday at Sangam in Allahabad, India.   (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

(Newser) – Cows are famously regarded as "sacred" in the Hindu faith, and as such, killing cows is illegal in much of India. But as the country increasingly develops a taste for beef, a black market of illegal slaughterhouses is also growing, and alongside it, cattle rustlers are stealing more and more cows to feed demand, the New York Times reports. In the state of Andhra Pradesh alone, officials estimate there are 3,100 illegal slaughterhouses.

Each stolen cow fetches 5,000 rupees, or about $94, and police say the outlaws are ruthless in securing their bounties and undeterred by jail. Police arrested 150 rustlers in Delhi last year. "Even if they’re sent to jail, they come out in 10 to 15 days and commit the same crimes again," says a local man. But the market for illicit meat doesn't look to be going away anytime soon: meat consumption in India grew 14% from 2010 to 2012, and it's now the world's largest dairy and cattle producer. "Cows are all about business and money now, not religion," says an animal welfare activist.

View 1 more image
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Rustlers Target India's Sacred Cows is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 8 comments
May 29, 2013 2:14 AM CDT
Studies found the illegal beef actually was 15% horse meat.
May 28, 2013 9:52 AM CDT
Holy Cow! What a story.
May 27, 2013 6:37 PM CDT
TRUTH BE TOLD ..... Say (5) Hail Marys and (1) Our Father .. before and after killing the cows you stole .. and before you eat it .. and all is ok? -------- and if you get caught, plead the 5th, like Team Obama? My opinion? .... It depends on what religion you are, or how hungry you are, doesn't it? -------------- REALLY