what do Hindus do with bulls (male cows)?

so the female cows are grown for milk. But what do they do with the excess males? E.g. Europeans, I think, usually killed bulls of the dairy breeds fairly early on for meat and to avoid feeding them. If the Hindus cannot kill them, what do they do instead?

marry them ?.. :smiley:

Racist jokes aside, some Hindu communities do eat beef or sacrifice bulls on certain religious occasions. Aside from that, there’s a market for bull meat for non-Hindus, and some Hindus will sell to them. Finally, the cost requirement for raising an cow or bull is different in large parts of India than in the West, since people will simply turn the cows or bulls out into public areas (such as streets) to forage for themselves (depending on how healthy you want the cow or bull, you may have to supplement feed, of course).

Bulls/Oxen are used for “plowing, transport, hauling cargo, grain-grinding by trampling or by powering machines, irrigation by powering pumps, and wagon drawing.” Basically, they are work animals, put to use on farms, fields and even cities.

Example of bulls being used as transport:

D’oh. That slipped my mind.


so basically they don’t have the traditional European practice of animal breeds optimized for a particular function? After all, a breed that’s optimized for milk production will not necessarily make the best beast of burden or best animal for plowing.


bettyporkta, from the General Questions Rules:

This is even less acceptable when the joke is not hilarious, but rather dumb and offensive to an ethnic group. No warning issued, but don’t do this again.

General Questions Moderator

I seem to recall that P.J. O’Rourke noted that on some occasions they will sell surplus cattle to countries which do eat beef.

code_grey, post land-reform, the vast majority of farms were small plot farms, which probably don’t lend themselves to that kind of differentiation. Prior to the land-reform, tenant farming was widespread, so I suppose the landlord’s might have had use for that type of differentiation, but I think the landlords where primarily concerned with agricultural crops and not dairy production. I’m not well-versed in Indian agricultural history, so I can’t speak much more beyond that.

Oxen were typically castrated when they were intended for use as draft animals in the U.S. This made them a bit more manageable. Do Hindus castrate the bulls?

Not all of them, but many bull calves are castrated in India and are then used as draft animals.