Amid the controversy over the central notification that effectively bans sale of cattle for slaughter, Union Minister Hansraj G. Ahir on Sunday said the Centre was considering to set up 'cow sanctuaries' and initiate 'Project Cow' on the lines of Project Tiger.
"It is difficult to maintain cows which are not self-sustaining animals. We need to protect them by setting up cow sanctuaries on the lines of those for tigers," Minister of State for Home Ahir said at a national conference on "BOS INDICUS - The Glorious Indian Cow" at the Bombay Stock Exchange Building.
Addressing the gathering, Bharatiya Janata Party's Rajya Sabha member Subramanian Swamy, who is founder-President of Virat Hindustan Sangam, said ban on cow slaughter has been guaranteed by the Constitution.
Accordingly, the Centre has withdrawn 13 subsidies given by the previous government on export of cows and beef, he said.
"Even the western world has realised that beef is not a very good source of protein and that they can get much more protein from pulses and soyabeans," Swamy said while advocating ban on cow slaughter.
He said cows are precious animals that need to be protected and preserved, listing out the medicinal value of cow urine and use of dung for various purposes.
Swamy said that since the western countries have realised that milk from Indian cows is of higher quality, there is a huge demand for it.
The price of cow milk in India is one-sixth of that in Europe and India can become a major exporter of cow milk if we properly rear cows in the country, the BJP leader added.
These export earnings could go to finance 'gaushalas' to house cows, Swamy said.
ISKCON's spiritual head Radhanath Swami Maharaj said: "Cow is the foundation of the world economy, and it's not just about preventing their slaughter, but also making them happy from their birth till their end."
Mafatlal Group of Industries Chairman Hrishikesh Mafatlal urged the corporate world to include cow protection as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility.
'Cow Connect', a mobile application aimed at providing effective search on cow products, breeds, manufacturers, and sellers was unveiled at the conference.