Springer Verlag (2019)

Kenneth Valpey
Oxford University
This Open Access book provides both a broad perspective and a focused examination of cow care as a subject of widespread ethical concern in India, and increasingly in other parts of the world. In the face of what has persisted as a highly charged political issue over cow protection in India, intellectual space must be made to bring the wealth of Indian traditional ethical discourse to bear on the realities of current human-animal relationships, particularly those of humans with cows. Dharma, yoga, and bhakti paradigms serve as starting points for bringing Hindu--particularly Vaishnava Hindu--animal ethics into conversation with contemporary Western animal ethics. The author argues that a culture of bhakti--the inclusive, empathetic practice of spirituality centered in Krishna as the beloved cowherd of Vraja--can complement recently developed ethics-of-care thinking to create a solid basis for sustaining all kinds of cow care communities.
Keywords cow protection  animal ethics  Hinduism  globalized Hinduism  intentional communities  bhakti  dharma  milk  vegan vegetarian  sustainability
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Reprint years 2020
Buy this book $23.00 new   $28.40 used   Amazon page
ISBN(s) 978-3-030-28407-7   978-3-030-28408-4   3030284107   3030284077   9783030284077   1013274520
DOI 10.1007/978-3-030-28408-4
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Chapters BETA
Concluding Ruminations

Seeing a utopia/dystopia binary emerging from the previous chapters, here the author discusses the Hindu notion of progressive cultural and environmental degradation characterizing the present age, kali-yuga. Does human nature’s apparent refusal to change condemn us and the planet to ever further de... see more

“These Cows Will Not Be Lost”: Envisioning a Care-Full Future for Cows

Turning the focus again to cow care, this chapter’s aim is to imagine a positive future for cows whereby principles outlined in Chapter 10.1007/978-3-030-28408-4_4 are applied, at least initially, in anticipatory communities. The author examines two existing such communities, one in India and one in... see more

Cow Care and the Ethics of Care

To examine broadly Hindu ethics with respect to animals, this chapter considers how the dharma-bhakti polarity of values might be constructively applied. The key aim is to suggest a complementarity between bhakti and the contemporary “ethics of care” thought stream applied to animal ethics. Further,... see more

Surveying the Cow Care Field

This chapter examines current cow care practices in India, providing an overview of issues that concern persons—in particular persons who identify more or less as Hindus—who are directly or indirectly engaged with cow care. By the expression “cow care” is meant, minimally, intentional arrangements f... see more

Cows in Contested Fields

Increasing social and political conflict in the late nineteenth century leads to the rise of the Cow Protection movement, continuing in various forms to the present day. Chapter 2 introduces four prominent figures variously related to this movement to locate important features of the modern intellec... see more

The Release of Cosmic Cows

Three thousand years of India’s Sanskrit—and later Hindi—literature reveal persistent themes and motifs with respect to cows and the humans who engage with cows. From the Rigvedic hymns and the Upanishads, to the Bhagavata Purana and later bhakti poetry, emerge two polarities—one of value and the ot... see more


The Introduction to Cow Care in Hindu Animal Ethics serves as an overview of the book, initially identifying three attitudes toward cows as essentially objectifying them. The starting point for an ethics of cow care that follows Hindu tradition wherein the subjective personhood of cows is valued, is... see more

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