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“Hugging with cow will bring emotional richness”: Animal Welfare Board urges citizens to observe ‘Cow Hug Day’ on February 14

The Animal Welfare Board of India said that observing February 14 as "Cow Hug Day will bring emotional richness and increase individual and collective happiness

As youths are getting ready for valentines day on 14th February, people who love cows are urged to observe the day as ‘Cow Hug Day’. The Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairy, in collaboration with the Animal Welfare Board, issued the appeal to the people. The board wants to commemorate Cow Hug Day on 14 February to give people a chance to feel warm sentiments and be joyful, highlighting the value of cows in our society.

Referring to cows as the backbone of Indian culture and the rural economy, a press release issued by the Animal Welfare Board of India stated that cows are known as “Kamdhenu” and “Gaumata” because of its nourishing nature like mother, the giver of all providing riches to humanity.

It stated, “In view of the immense benefit of the cow, hugging with cow will bring emotional richness hence will increase our individual and collective happiness. 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.

Signed by Dr Sujit Kumar Dutta, secretary of the board, the statement read that Vedic practices are nearly on the edge of extinction due to the growth of the western culture. Hence, it urged people to observe Cow Hug Day in order to protect and promote the nation’s heritage. “The dazzle of western civilization has made our physical culture and heritage almost forgotten,” it stated.

According to reports, Bikram Chandravanshi, the legal counsel for the Animal Welfare Board of India, said that the purpose of celebrating Cow Hug Day is to inspire kindness towards cows and Indian culture. The purpose of this campaign is to raise awareness of the advantages of cows and to reclaim those who under the influence of western culture, are gradually reneging on their traditional ways.

Talking to The Indian Express, board assistant secretary Prachi Jain said, “We received directions from the Union ministry to issue this appeal. Also, we had received certain representations for it. The time is very limited this time, because of which we are not able to do any event in this regard. But we have issued an appeal to the people and couples can follow it”.

Jain responded, “It will be for all the states,” when asked if it was an appeal for everyone. “Animal welfare is for all the states. Gujarat and various other states will also be observing February 14 as Cow Hug Day,” she stated.

The move is gaining support from many netizens on social media.

Cuddling cows in the West

Cow hugging or as the West calls it, cow cuddling, has become the latest wellness fad to sweep the Western world, which gained enormous popularity in the Netherlands where it is known as “koe knuffelen” (cow embracing in Dutch). The focus of the practise is on the natural healing benefits of human and animal embrace.

Cow cuddlers usually begin by touring the farm before spending two to three hours relaxing against one of the cows. Hugging a cow can be immensely calming due to the animal’s warmer body temperature, slower heartbeat, and enormous size. Giving the cow a backrub, relaxing against them, or even getting licked are all common parts of the therapeutic interaction.

Cow cuddling gained even more popularity in America, particularly during Covid. It has become a very lucrative business with the price ranging from $75 to $200 each hour.

“People are signing up to hug cows at sanctuaries across the country, many desperate for affection as the nation approaches a full year of social distancing during the pandemic,” Washington Post had reported in 2021.

Behinfar, a 43-year-old psychologist who sought out cow comfort with a friend, remarked, “It was really my first real hug of the year.”

Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary, a five-acre site in Arizona that is ranked as one of the top animal sanctuaries in the United States, offers cow hugging tours where visitors have the opportunity to hug and cuddle a cow for “an experience you’ll never forget!”

“People have come from all over the world to hug our cows. The cows bring tears of joy to your eyes and a warmth in your heart that it is an experience like none other. Our animal therapy sessions for one on one visits or a full group builds confidence in many ways,” says Aimee, owner of the sanctuary who is herself a trauma survivor with PTSD, on the website of her farm.

There are now internet platforms, where people can sign up for the true experience and delight of cow cuddling.

Notably, cows have long been regarded with reverence in India and within Sanatan Dharma.
 

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