Kemii Maguire explores the major cattle problem on the streets of Jaipur, India. Filmed September 2017.
Maguire: 10 am, and the sleepy pink city is only just starting to open up its doors.
In the market place where I’m standing now, you can’t walk within 100m without running into one of the local temples. But that’s also the case for the cattle – here in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
In 2016, India surprisingly was named the biggest exporter in beef and carabeef – overtaking Brazil and Australia. Surprising, because of their also large cattle problem.
According to the latest census results, nearly 80% of Jaipur locals believe in the sanctity of cattle; meaning that when working cattle have finished their labour, they are released in to the city streets – as slaughter is forbidden. With 25% illiterate, the religious system plays a vital role for locals.
Woman: I have three sons, all are educated through the temple. I am educated through the temple. I didn’t get educated outside. So I come here everyday. It is very important to me. It is very important to the community.
Maguire: Situated in the outer suburbs of Jaipur, lives a non-for-profit farm aiming to shelter, care, and catalogue the cow’s welfare. With a range of breeds being brought it by volunteers per day, milk is produced by the farm. However, any profits are put back into veterinary bills and land maintenance.
Worker: I make sure they are vaccinated. But we also make sure they are milked, healthy. A lot come in with problems. We also help that.
Along with road and accidental injuries, cattle in Jaipur also face cruelty, due to public unrest between radical Hindu and Muslim riots.
Volunteers like Maahir Dhillon dedicates his time and expertise to making sure the cattle live their lives as humainly possible.
Dhillon: In here, we’re made up of volunteers. Luckily, we will get veterinarians. But most of our volunteers are doing it because of their beliefs. Giving to the community. We are self sufficient on our cattle as well as grain. But we are the longest running in Jaipur. So, the government did support us on an occasion. But we rely on the donations and volunteer support mainly.
Maguire: Even after my short time being in Jaipur, I’ve noticed how the traffic does accommodate for the number of cattle on the road.
As Jaipur’s population grows to a now 3 million people, it is proving a big task to keep the cattle off the roads, and into the farm. With three cows being set alight in the streets per month, religious groups continue to keep the sanctity of the cattle as humane as possible.
This is Kemii Maguire, reporting from Jaipur, Rajasthan.