The Guru Govinda Goseva Ashram is a good example of protecting cattle and alleviating the problems created when cattle are abandoned. It is a registered trust, established in 2014, whose goal is to take care of stray cattle from the holy city of Puri in Odisha, where there are a few thousand stray cattle.At present there are more than 500 bulls in the sanctuary that were themselves suffering, and were also creating trouble for the local people and pilgrims.
The sanctuary can accommodate about 700 cattle and has been divided into five segments, each segment having its own shed, feeding and water stations, and land to roam. The plan is to grow green fodder and make use of the dung.
The positive approach is to encourage farmers and villagers to keep cows instead of selling them for slaughter or abandoning them. There are many alternative ways to make cows economically sustainable. Old cattle or cattle that are deemed useless can be retired to a goshala or shelter home, like an old age home. Local communities or villages can have a place to take care of the cattle and use their cow dung and urine. Naturally when we use cow dung and urine for agricultural and other purposes, then the cows are still useful. In addition, we can encourage the government to take some positive steps to stop cow slaughter.
Educational outreach must play a role in making this happen. The concept of sanctuaries can become a success if people are taught the importance of:
- Adopting a cow
- Saving a percentage of their income to support a cow
- Giving a portion of their income for cows on special occasions
- Kindness, compassion, and the sacredness of life