Cows are vital for Sustainable Agriculture

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It has become alarmingly apparent that commercially farmed soils around the world are lifeless and inert. This is because of our total dependence on chemical or unnatural intervention in the soils, the produce may look the same but it’s nutritional value is lost.

damagedland3A friend of mine related a story of a dentist who notice that in the 1940’s clients teeth began to show more deformity (most people need teeth braces today) it was a time of transition when people started to move from villages to live in cities and this change unknown at the time was contributed to “factor x” and it was later discovered that this was due to the lack of vitamins that were originally available in normal village life and diet. Today however, no land is “normal” as chemical fertilizers/pesticides have infiltrated every inch of the globe and have thus contributed to the prevalence of modern diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

Gadgets, cars, planes, toys, homes, appliances…we consume at a phenomenal rate, no other species does so at this scale, yet the other species are sometimes blamed for environmental destruction, the reality is that we as consumers are in every case connected to the wholesale destruction of the very planet we live on, at the same time we are proud of what we have made thinking that we have outdone the Creator.

It is a bleak picture, but despite the amount of destruction done- our Mother Earth continues to sustain us, she has been ordered to do so by Lord Krishna Himself. A common sense old saying is “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” Unsustainable artificial methods are biting that hand.

Having listed all the problems above is useless without providing a solution that begins with the seven purposes of ISKCON.

Within the context of this article we will pay attention to item no. 6 below.

Srila Prabhupada founded ISKCON in July of 1966. The incorporation document states Seven Purposes of ISKCON:

(1) To systematically propagate spiritual knowledge to society at large and to educate all peoples in the techniques of spiritual life in order to check the imbalance of values in life and to achieve real unity and peace in the world.

(2) To propagate a consciousness of Krishna as it is revealed in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.

(3) To bring the members of the Society together with each other and nearer to Krishna, the prime entity, and thus to develop the idea, within the members, and humanity, at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).

(4) To teach and encourage the Sankirtan movement of congregational chanting of the holy name of God as revealed in the teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

(5) To erect for the members, and for society at large, a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to the personality of Krishna.

(6) To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.

(7) With a view towards achieving the aforementioned purposes, to publish and distribute periodicals, magazines, books and other writings.

The solution is thus “To bring the members closer together for the purpose of teaching a simpler and more natural way of life.

In several other articles on this site there is scientific evidence showing the natural/sustainable link between cows and the land, this is not just one thing but multi dimensional. Cows provide the following:

1. Fertilizer

2. Biomass

3. Beneficial bacteria, enzymes and vitamins, it is accepted that B12 is found in the ruminant digestive system.

4. Food/Nutrition (not only milk, but organic food grown on cow fertilized land)

5. Development of healthy ecosystems giving water.

It will take a few years to heal soil with cows, bulls and calves but better if all your produce was free from industrial expensive inputs like pesticides and fertilizers dependent on the finite resource of oil. The fact that oil supply is not eternal is an obvious marker indicating that industrial farming is not sustainable. The only logical way forward is to use traditional methods which are recognized as sustainable.

India must take the lead- not one cow, bull or calf should be killed, they are vital to our existence even the cow dung and urine they produce is more valuable than gold, we can’t repair the earth with unlimited gold/wealth. Pilot models of farming using only natural inputs from cows are already in place and will serve as models for the future of sustainable farming and ISKCON should lead the way in demonstrating these models. A cow, bull or calf is never to be killed – to kill them is as good as killing ourselves. Ironically few notice that what the cows give us is more output with less input, they naturally eat only grass- give milk and produce fertilizer but we modern humans eat all manner of things (except grass) and produce stool that full of disease – requiring safe & complex sewerage disposal systems. In traditional villages cow dung is known to be antiseptic, it is used to cover walls and floors of homes and used as cooking fuel.

Thus cows are worship-able entities and must be protected. It is no surprise that of the seven mothers listed in scripture the earth and the cow are prominent and play the biggest roles in sustainability of life.