Goshala Cow Sanctuary in Arizona shelter cows from slaughter

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An Indian American group in Arizona has started ‘Goshala Cow Sanctuary’ to shelter seven cows that were intended for slaughter as part of an effort that owners believe promotes peace and good health.

Goshala cow sanctuary President Naren Koka told the Casa Grande Dispatch newspaper that the organization protects cows while educating people about how saving these animals promotes a sustainable ecosystem.

“We believe that kindness to animals leads to kindness to humans and hence a peaceful world,” Koka said.

Support comes from the Indian community and some animal advocates. One cow’s care can cost $150 monthly, and some healthy cows may live up to 20 years.

“One of the purposes in establishing Goshala was so milk may be offered for deity worship at temple,” said one of the founders, Prayag Narayan Misra.

“We spread the message of how important it is to protect cows and educate people on how protecting them builds a sustainable ecosystem for future generations,” Koka said. “Cows eat grass, and the cow dung is very good for the earth. It protects the topsoil, and the manure can be used to feed the corn.”

The organization was started in 2010 when Laila, a black Jersey cow with a white star on her forehead, was saved from slaughter.

“Her owner was moving and planned to have her slaughtered, but he offered her for sale on Craigslist to see if he could sell her,” said Misra. “We raised the money and purchased her.”

The organization now has seven cows but hopes to add more — as many as possible, the report said.

Goshala also maintains a bull training project so the animals may be used to plow fields. Using bulls rather than tractors to plow fields reduces agricultural dependence on fossil fuels and promotes a more sustainable ecosystem, Koka said.

“The organization promotes a vegetarian lifestyle and frequently serves meatless meals to homeless shelters and the poor. They also hold cooking demonstrations to teach others how to make food with “love and compassion,” Koka said.

The sanctuary plans to bring cows to the Festival of Colors on March 19 in Tempe.

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