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Archive for Sunday, September 25, 2005

New Delhi finds way to corral its cows

September 25, 2005

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— Letting tens of thousands of cows scavenge for garbage in the polluted streets of India's capital is, to many Hindus, no way to treat a sacred animal.

But finding good homes for stray cattle has proved difficult in this metropolis of about 14 million people. A new breed of urban cowboys may have just the trick.

Under court order to clear wandering cattle from Delhi's streets, the municipal government has deployed truckloads of cattle catchers to patrol the streets, and lasso the strays. Hired hands then shoot computer chips down their stomachs before they are herded off for auction.

The city auctions off captured strays for an average of $45 a head, with a catch: Buyers must prove they live out of state and sign an oath that they're taking the cow with them. And they have pay about $10 for the computer chip.

The new owners' names are listed in a computer database, along with their cows' serial numbers. The owner is fined $115 each time an animal is caught wandering Delhi's streets again.

Yadav has no idea how many cows live on the capital's streets. Estimates run in the tens of thousands.

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