Tag Archives: cow protection

The Yoga of Cow Protection

I spent last weekend in rural West Virginia. Although my main reason for going was to participate in the annual 24-Hour kirtan organized by my friends at Mantralogy, a trip to the New Vrindaban community always gives me a chance to visit our cow, Dwadasi. Of course, Dwadasi’s not really our cow: we adopted her, which just means that we pay for her annual expenses. She’s 14 years old, about twice the age that most cows live since cows are routinely slaughtered as soon as they are no longer producing milk, and therefore a profit, for the farmers that own them.

Old as she is, Dwadasi is hardly the eldest of the herd: the real old-timers are enjoying a happy retirement in what’s called the “Geriatric Barn”. Dwadasi and many other cows and bulls are lovingly cared for by a wonderful family through their amazing organization, the International Society for Cow Protection (ISCOWP). Continue reading

The Straw Man of Happy Meat

Recently, The New York Times invited readers to submit an essay that describes why it’s ethical to eat meat. After reviewing thousands of submissions, one essay, by agroecologist Jay Bost, was selected for publication.

I wasn’t surprised that a former vegetarian who returned to meat-eating wrote the essay. Nor was I surprised that the essay failed to offer a compelling argument. But I was surprised to see yoga teachers expressing support for Bost’s argument. Yoga is, among other things, a moral philosophy that places primacy on the recognition of all sentient beings as purusas; spiritual persons of equal standing with inalienable and self-evident rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This philosophical principle is the foundation of any serious yoga practice. Continue reading

Holy Cows

Elizabeth and I went to visit our cow last weekend. Well, she’s ours in the sense that we adopted her a few years ago. Her name is Dwadasi and she lives on a family farm in West Virginia. The couple who own the farm founded an organization dedicated to the protection of cows (ISCOWP); Dwadasi, along with 19 other cows and bulls, will live their entire natural lives there. In fact, not only will they live there, they will be loved there. Most cows are naturally very affectionate. And very big: when a cow wants your attention you definitely know it. A gentle head butt from a cow in motion is hard to ignore. Continue reading