Saving cows, the Hare Krishnas in this village have learned, is a lot easier in India.
Created four decades ago, New Vrindaban was the first cattle sanctuary in the U.S. At its peak, it had 434 bovine refugees. Today, the cattle population is down to 80 because there's not enough money to support more. So the Hare Krishna community is borrowing a tactic more commonly used by charities that try to save people.
For $51, you can feed a cow for a month, while $108 would "provide special care for retired cows who can no longer breed or give milk," the group says in one appeal. "In one selfless stroke, you are sending a valuable message to our children and to a troubled world which sees today's gentle cow as tomorrow's dinner."
The adopt-a-cow effort promises bovine photographs and updates for donors, along with an open invitation to visit the cows in this village, near Moundsville, W.Va. The village is modeled after the childhood home of the Hindu deity Krishna, who taught his followers to revere cows.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, a Hindu group that grew out of a movement to ban the slaughtering of cows, has joined the Hare Krishna effort with its own appeals to help raise the roughly $1,000 needed to support each cow for a year. "It is needless to mention that by taking special care of Lord Krishna's cows you and your family will definitely receive His special blessings," reads another appeal, targeting the estimated 1.5 million Hindus in the U.S., recently posted on the group's Web site.
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