New Delhi: The Animal Welfare Board of India, which falls under the Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, has said that February 14 should be celebrated as ‘Cow Hug Day’. This day, the Board continued, will be used the celebrate cows and how they form the backbone of India’s society and economy.
“We all know that the Cow is the backbone of Indian culture and rural economy, sustains our life, represent cattle wealth and biodiversity. It is known as ‘Kamdhenu’ and ‘Gaumata’ because of its nourishing nature like mother, the giver of all providing riches to humanity,” says the Board in an appeal issued on February 6 and available on the official website.
A day like this is required, according to the government body, because “west culture (sic)” is leading to the near extinction of “Vedic traditions”. “In view of the immense benefit of the cow, hugging with cow will bring emotional richness hence will increase our individual & collective happiness,” it says.
“Therefore, all the cow lovers may also celebrate the February 14 as Cow Hug day keeping in mind the importance of mother cow and make life happy and full of positive energy (sic),” the appeal continues.
February 14 is celebrated as Valentine’s Day in different parts of the world, and Sangh parivar outfits have been known to harass couples in India celebrating the day, saying it goes against “Indian culture”.
While the Board has argued that hugging a cow is in some way a rejection of Western culture, cow snuggling has actually been a trend in some Western countries for a while now. In the Netherlands, “koe knuffelen” (Dutch for cow hugging) has been sold as a self-care practice, and offered as a service by farm owners. “Cow cuddlers typically start by taking a tour of the farm before resting against one of the cows for two to three hours,” BBC wrote about the trend in October 2020.