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How many ways can you skin a cow?

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<center><h3>How many ways can you skin a cow?</h3>

<h4>In Hindu India, there are plenty </h4>

India is one of the world's largest leather producers

By Daniel Pearl



Thursday, July 19, 2001

Erode, India, July 19 - To Western companies operating in India, the cow is a sacred cow. McDonald's avoids selling beef here. Berlitz International warns its cross-cultural training clients to avoid giving Indians leather gifts, because most Indians are Hindu and Hindus revere cows.


[it is not true that "most Indians are Hindu". There are no mmore than about 30 million true Hindus among the billion people in the country. - Jai Maharaj]


But nothing is so straightforward in India. On a Sunday morning at the Perunderai market, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, traders haggle as bloody hides of freshly

slaughtered cows are slapped onto a cement slab and unfolded like Persian rugs. "The quality depends on the wounds and the germs," explains R. Raja, a veteran hide-

buyer who is Hindu, like many traders here. (He and other southerners in India often use single names, sometimes with an initial.)


India is actually a major producer and consumer of leather, and only some of it comes from goat, sheep and buffalo. With a population that is an estimated 80% Hindu, India slaughters 14 million cattle a year, making it the world's fifth most active cattle killer, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Government tax breaks have helped make leather of all kinds one of India's biggest exports.


But it takes some effort to accommodate business and religion when it comes to cowhide. The Hindu religion forbids eating beef and slaughtering cows, but permits

taking the hide of a "fallen" cow, or one that has died naturally. Muslims, who can slaughter cows, work in slaughterhouses and butcher shops. But in the case of "fallen" cows, a low-caste Hindu does the work, because it is against Islamic belief to skin an animal that has died naturally.



This is only an excerpt -- read the complete news at:





via MSNBC, via News Plus



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