Animal Rescue

New Delhi tries to deal with its cow problem

Animal Rescue India is investing thousands this year in a ‘millennium animal refuge’ to deal with its city’s stray animals: but will it work? Revered but neglected, the 20,000 sacred cows roaming the streets of Delhi are getting in development’s way.
In the heat of the midday sun the feared municipal cow-catchers are out on patrol. In a battle of sweat and tears five men hustle one belligerent cow out of town… and watch a few more trot back to freedom. This is Minster Maneke Gandhi's solution to the problem of 13 million people sharing their streets with cattle. "We can never be a Western country - every city is replete with animal life and we won't kill them so we have to make provisions." Her answer is the gowshala: a sort of retirement village where sacred cows may safely graze. But her team of cow catchers face a foe. Though cows may roam freely through the urban jungle they are all actually owned, and milked, by somebody. Now in a scam emblematic of Indian bureaucratic corruption cow owners are bribing gowshala owners to return their cattle. It ends in a classic case of good intentions gone wrong. The cow owners go broke, the cow catchers perform a useless task and a stream of rupees lands in the bureaucrats pockets. "It's a malicious [bureaucracy]," argues Maneke. In this charming report we join the frontline of animal lovers clearing up Delhi's streets.

Produced by ABC Australia

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