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Only Cow Protection?

Mohandas Gandhi, India's great apostle of nonviolence, wrote extensively on cow protection: 
"The central fact of Hinduism is cow protection... It takes the human being beyond his species. The cow to me means the entire sub-human world. Man through the cow is enjoined to realize his identity with all that lives. 
"Cow protection is the gift of Hinduism to the world. And Hinduism will live so long as there are Hindus to protect the cow... Hindus will be judged not by the correct chanting of mantras, not by their pilgrimages, but their ability to protect the cow. 
"The cow is a poem of pity. One reads pity in the gentle animal. She is the mother to millions of Indian mankind. Protection of the cow means protection of the whole dumb creation of God. The ancient seer, whoever he was, began with the cow. The appeal of the lower order of creation is all the more forcible because it is speechless. 
"…The cow is the purest type of sub-human life. She pleads before us on behalf of the whole of the sub-human species for justice to it at the hands of man, the first among all that lives. She seems to speak to us through her eyes: ‘you are not appointed over us to kill us and eat our flesh or otherwise ill-treat us, but to be our friend and guardian’... 
"I worship it and I shall defend its worship against the whole world. 
"My religion teaches me that I should by personal conduct instill into the minds of those who might hold different views, the conviction that cow-killing is a sin and that, therefore, it ought to be abandoned. 
"Cow protection to me is not mere protection of the cow. It means protection of what lives and is helpless and weak in the world. 
"The reader will observe that behind the foregoing requirements lies one thing and that is ahimsa (nonviolence), otherwise known as universal compassion. If that supreme thing is realized, everything else becomes easy. Where there is ahimsa, there is infinite patience, inner calm, discrimination, self-sacrifice and true knowledge. 
**"My ambition is to see the principle of cow protection established throughout the world. But that requires that I should set my own house thoroughly in order first.** 
"When these primary things are done, it will be found that the Muslims will, of their own accord, recognize the necessity, if only for the sake of their Hindus brethren, of not slaughtering cattle for beef or otherwise..." 
If I demand the Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc. cease to kill cows: cease to eat beef, cease to wear leather, etc... tell them that there's heavy karma in cow-killing, tell them that the collective karma for killing cows is abortion and war... 
...they'll argue that I'm trying to "convert" them, saying only Hindus believe the cow is sacred. And they might ask, what about the killing of other animals: lambs, chicken, pigs, fish, etc.? 
If I say in response that killing any animal is a crime: go vegetarian... 
...they might ask, what about the cruelty of modern factory farming and the killing of animals in obtaining animal by-products (dairy, eggs, honey, wool, silk, etc.) ? 
But if I take a nonsectarian stand in favor of animal rights: animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for "entertainment," so go vegan, join People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), or any other secular animal rights organization, opt for vegan items on the menu, etc... as social progress for all mankind... 
...then they can't make these kind of accusations!

Go on to: Opposition to Vivisection - A Long History
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