Cows With Dignity: Revenge of the Bhains

Posted on December 7, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Society
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Adil Najam

Some people seem to find this video funny. I find it sad and slightly sickening.

The video shows a bunch of men from a neighborhood mohalla ogling at and sometimes provoking a frightened cow. In the process, the poor animal lashes out and kicks violently at various people who try to ‘control’ it. The tamashbeen seem to find this funny and, purposely or inadvertently, their reaction further instigates the frightened animal.

Frankly, what we see in this video is far from the spirit of sacrifice that the Eid qurabni is supposed to be about. I had first posted this here two years ago. My comment then, I believe, is still pertinent.

It is easy to focus on the antics of the cow, but I would urge you to pay more careful attention to the people in the video and especially to the comments of the person who is making the video and his companion.

That is the sad part. But not for some of the foul language that creeps in. What is sad is the joyous glee and excitement people seem to be expressing not only at the misery of the cow but also of those who are being kicked and hurled by the cow. It is not just that they are oblivious to the welfare of the poor animal; it is also that they seem genuinely excited (even happy) that someone got violently kicked by the frightened beast. [Some time ago] we did a related post on how people fail to react to the misery of others (in that case someone supposedly slapping a woman as a prelude to stealing from her). In this case its not just that they don’t rush out to help someone in obvious pain, it is that they seem to find that pain funny (this relates to a different discussion we had on why people ‘enjoy’ self-destructive behavior by others).

… It makes me think of the inhumane treatment we met out to the animals that are supposedly going to help us become better humans. Unlike Arab society 1400 years ago, where livestock was a prime unit of currency and commercial exchange (and, hence, of sacrifice) and where most people would have been well aware how to deal with and treat these prized possessions, most people (at least in urban Pakistan) have no experience or idea about how to treat any animal and one often seen purposeful and inadvertent cruelty inflicted on these animals, which are treated as a source of novelty rather than as living creatures worthy of our respect.

As I watch this video, it seems to me that the only one who comes out of this video with its dignity intact is the cow. I, for one, am rooting for the cow.

Speaking of cows with dignity, the bhains video we had posted last Eid was more docile but equally thought-provoking.

The comment I had made then is, I think, also still pertinent. This, too, I think is far far away from the spirit of sacrifice that this Eid is supposed to represent:

This is a Geo News report from Bakra Mandi, Walton, Lahore. Rs. 10 lakh (Rs. 1,000,000), Rs. 6 lakh (Rs. 600,000) for a cow and the bargaining goes on. “Babar” is a fine specimen for sure – weighing 35 mun, 4 year old, and drinking 10 kilo milk and eating 1o kilo of fodder a day it is being offered for Rs. 10 lakh (Rs. one million).

Is this a story about inflation? Or is it about showing off? And how does it connect with the spirit of sacrifice and sharing that the qurbani is supposed to be about? If the purpose of qurbani is sacrifice and helping the poor might it not be better to just take that money and distribute to the really needed who might find the case more helpful than a fine piece of steak? I understand the importance of ritual in any social and belief system. But the spirit of the ritual should count for more than its mechanics. No?

17 Comments on “Cows With Dignity: Revenge of the Bhains

  1. ASAD says:
    December 7th, 2008 2:52 am

    You are right. This is really inhuman treatment and these people have no idea how to deal with an animal this large. My sympathies are also with the cow here. No wonder it is kicking people around like it is.

  2. Faraz says:
    December 7th, 2008 3:33 am

    This is just another instance of our collective stupidity. Scenes like this are very, no actually extremely, common during eid.

  3. an indian says:
    December 7th, 2008 12:14 pm
  4. Waqas Chaudhary says:
    December 7th, 2008 5:08 pm

    This is sad and disturbing. Clearly, the entire purpose and meaning of sacrifice on Eid ul Adha is lacking here.

  5. Rasheed says:
    December 7th, 2008 9:32 pm

    Eid Mubarak, ATP!

    The first video is disturbing, especially if filmed around the time of Eid Qurban.

    It’s hard to tell why humans around the world get kicks (no pun intended) out of torturing animals, especially cattle. Same is the case with the Rodeo sport, an American favorite, in which the bull’s privates are tied up to add to the “entertainment”. So is bull fighting and running with the bulls, which are European staples.

    I’m curious about the second video where the owners of one of the cows says he fed it kilos of milk (and did he say skin?). After the outbreak of the Mad Cow Disease in Britain, cattle rendering was banned from animal feed. The practice of using renderings, popular in the 80′s, is believed to have led to MCD (more properly called BSE). Soon afterwards, in the 90′s, Over a hundred people, mostly in Britain, died of a similar neurological condition called vCJD (the “v” added to indicate variance from the previously known CJD condition of elderly humans).

    My curiosity is to what extent the public in Pakistan is aware of the disease and the risk to humans who eat affected animals. The slaughter for food of “downer” cows – cows that have lost the ability to walk or stand – is banned in the US and Europe. This is because no amount of cooking can kill prions, the infectious protein that is believed to cause it. I’m not sure if there are new regulations in place in Pakistan and if cases of the neurological disease have ever been recorded in Pakistan – among cows or humans. thanks.

  6. December 8th, 2008 8:08 am

    Hi,

    I follow this blog with great interest and read comments by the readers. I like the way the harsh realities of life are compensated with good stories full of humour and light touch. It has been a while when I started reading this blog but have never commented but this blog has given me inspiration to start my own about Pakistan related stories. I do it because comparing Pakistani presence on the web with the Indian one is not a pretty sight as numbers are hugely disproportionate in India

  7. December 8th, 2008 10:54 am

    A good reminder on the Eid, Adil.

    Eid Mubarak to ATP from TPS.

    regards

  8. Jabbar says:
    December 9th, 2008 1:12 am

    This is a very sad video to see

    Unfortunately such cruelty to animals is too common

  9. bilal khan says:
    December 9th, 2008 7:17 am

    some people do not know how to sacrifice they should hire some butchers to avoid things like this n we should not make such things entertainment all World watch us on this festival.by doing this we have make our own joke.

  10. Rasheed says:
    December 10th, 2008 8:24 pm

    “Rabb Kaa Shukr Adaa Kar Bhai
    Jiss Nay Hamaaree Gaae Banaaee”

    WARNING: REFERENCE TO GRAPHIC FOOTAGE

    This video from Pakistan is a depressing, but I soon remembered another, much more disturbing, video from the United States, where abuse and torture of cows was documented at the Westland Hallmark meat packing plant at Chino, California earlier this year. The video was prepared by undercover investigators from the Humane Society, and it shows torture of the animals in order to force them to stand up to pass inspection for the slaughter house. According to the Humane Society, several other similar cases in the U.S. were documented by their undercover cameras.

    The USDA has banned the slaughter of downer cows because, among other things, they might be suffering from BSE, the so-called Mad Cow Disease.

    But the discovery of the Chino plant might have come too late for several children – the meat from the plant was being supplied to school programs since 2006.

    Check out the video at:

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4ADBF_enUS219US219&q=video+cheap+meat&oe=UTF-8&um=1&sa=N&tab=wv&oi=property_suggestions&resnum=0&ct=property-revision&cd=1#

    Or just Google “video cheap meat” and you’ll get the link.

    After the revelation of the first US case of mad cow disease, many countries immediately announced a ban on the import of US beef. I’m not sure if Pakistan was among them. A few months ago, US secretary of state, Condoleeza Rice visited South Korea and was reportedly going there to urge them to lift the ban, since the US considered its beef safe again.

    The public in South Korea, a US ally like Pakistan, responded by taking to the streets in massive numbers protesting any decision to resume the import of US beef. The protests drew hundreds of thousands of ppl who stayed in vigil day and night. Check it out on youtube or google video. Does anyone know if Pakistan imports US beef or gets it in the form of US food aid?

  11. MB says:
    December 12th, 2008 10:22 am

    Very well said about the essence of the sacrifice on EID adil bhai. Very well said indeed

  12. MB says:
    December 12th, 2008 10:33 am

    and what nonsense is this ?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bDNbQ5i18s

    People cashing faith in the name of GOD?

  13. Umar Shah says:
    December 12th, 2008 7:46 pm

    Sadistic, disgusting, shameless & perverted.

  14. Tina says:
    December 13th, 2008 12:06 pm

    What, were there no women around to ogle at and humiliate?

    Seriously. To be fair, it looks like they are offering the animal a bucket of water and then retying it after it becomes confused from being unsure of its footing as it is tied on a slope. Then the flimsy gate it is tied to breaks, so they tie it to the courtyard’s cement wall. Simple. Naturally these people do not know best how to handle cows. I did not see any intentional cruelty, just a lot of derisive jeering.

    There are several videos of this type around on the web and this one is the mildest of the lot.

  15. Tehseen says:
    December 16th, 2008 4:54 am

    Sad sad sad.

  16. Animal Lover says:
    December 3rd, 2009 12:49 am

    Shame on those who call it a Command of Allah.
    Torturing innocent faultless animals for own selfishness-sure they’d go to hell.
    There was a news report from india that even despite ban there, muslims are rampantly killing cows, and this is leading to a remarkable fall in milk output there. That’s why synthetic milk made from urea and detergent etc., and synthetic khoya is being sold in huge quantities to fill the demand-supply gap.
    Its envitable if cows and buffalos are killed unthoughtfully.

    Duniya mein Khuda ka khauf shayad ab nahin raha.

  17. Vishank says:
    March 10th, 2010 2:23 am

    This is seem to be pethatic that all are seems to like deaf and dumb they dont have the edicate how to interact with animals even all Bloody Pakistani dont know how to live among human beings

    This is really a shameful activity which is to carryforwarded by Govt. Of Pakistan

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