This article originally appeared on VICE India.
Moo-ve over, cats and dogs; there’s a new pet on the market. In a new development that will have gomutra (cow pee) enthusiasts rejoicing, the Congress government in Madhya Pradesh announced on September 8 that they will be launching an app that lets you adopt a cow.
In an effort to tackle the state’s stray cow crisis, an increasing number of cow vigilante violence and probably milk some favours with cow bhakts, this app will also update you on fresh news straight from your local gaushala (cow shelter), and promote cow-based products like dung and urine.
This is an attempt to expand the ‘Project Gaushala’ scheme and allow non-resident Indians and corporate officers to adopt cows by donating to cow shelters to finance their care. While it’s pretty common for people to donate to the welfare of cows in India, adopting a cow doesn’t come cheap. Anyone wanting to adopt a cow has to do so for a minimum period of 15 days for Rs 1,100 (US$15.31), after which they can pay anything between Rs 21,000 (US$292.25) for a year to Rs 3 lakh (US$4,174.95) for a lifetime. Donor can choose a specific cow to take care of instead of just donating to a shelter. “They will be able to choose the one nearest to their home and can check on progress,” an official from the animal husbandry department told the Indian Express.
This is being seen as an attempt for the newly elected Congress government in Madhya Pradesh to flex their devotion to the holy cow, an animal considered sacred and worshipped by the Hindu majority in the nation. As unexpected as it is considering the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is usually seen to be the bovine backers, the local Congress says that not only is it a “cow-friendly” party, but that it has also done more than the BJP did for cows during its 15-year tenure in the state.
Interestingly, the local Rajasthan Congress launched a similar initiative, even felicitating all those who donate, but that was allegedly already put in place by the BJP government that preceded it.
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