COWS IN EASTERN WORLD
(Gratefully acknowledged; Quoted from Wikipedia)
The beef taboo is fairly widespread in Burma, particularly within the Buddhist community. In Burma, beef is typically obtained from cattle that are slaughtered at the end of their working lives (16 years of age) or from sick animals. Cattle is rarely raised for meat; 58%of cattle in the country is used for draught power. Few people eat beef, and there is ageneral dislike of beef (especially among the Bamarand Burmese Chinese), although it is more commonly eaten inregional cuisines, particularly those of ethnic minorities like the Kachin. Buddhists, when giving up meats duringthe Buddhist lent (Vassa) or during Uposatha days, will forego beef first. Almost all butchers are Muslim, notBuddhist, because of the Buddhist doctrine of ahimsa (no harm).
During the country's last dynasty, the Konbaung dynasty, habitual consumption of beefwas punishable by public flogging.
In 1885, Ledi Sayadaw, aprominent Buddhist monk wrote the Nwa-myitta-sa (နွားမေတ္တာစာ), a poetic prose letter that argued that Burmese Buddhists should not kill cattle and eat beef, since Burmese farmers depended on them as beasts of burden to maintain their livelihoods, that the marketing of beef for human consumption threatened the extinction of buffalo and cattle and that the practice and was ecologically unsound. He subsequently led successful beef boycotts during the colonial era, despite the presence of beef eating among locals and influenced a generation of Burmese nationalists in adopting this stance.
On 29 August 1961, the Burmese Parliament passed theState Religion Promotion Act of 1961, which explicitly banned the slaughtering of cattle nationwide (beef became known as todo tha (တိုးတိုးသား); lit. hush hush meat). Religious groups, such as Muslims,were required to apply for exemption licences to slaughter cattle on religiousholidays. This ban was repealed a year later, after Ne Win led a coup d'étatand declared martial law in the country.
Further information: Vohu Manah
The term "geush urva" means the spirit of the cow and isinterpreted as the soul of the earth. In the Ahunavaiti Gatha, Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) accuses some of hisco-religionists of abusing the cow. Ahura Mazda tells Zarathustra toprotect the cow.
The lands of both Zarathustra and the Vedic priests were those of cattlebreeders. The 9th chapter of the Vendidad of the Avesta expounds the purificatory power of cow urine. It is declared to be a panacea for allbodily and moral evils
The beef taboo, known as niú jiè (牛戒), has historically been animportant dietary restriction in China, particularly among the Han Chinese, as oxen and buffalo (bovines) areuseful in farming and are respected. During the Zhou Dynasty, they were not often eaten, even byemperors. Some emperors banned killing cows. Beef is not recommended in Chinese medicine, as it is considered a hot foodand can disrupt the body's internal balance.
In written sources (including anectodes and Daoist liturgical texts), thistaboo first appeared in the 9th to 12th centuries (Tang-Song transition, with the advent of pork meat.) By the 16th to 17th centuries, thebeef taboo had become well accepted in the framework of Chinese morality andwas found in morality books (善書), with several books dedicated exclusively to this taboo. The beef taboo comes from a Chineseperspective that relates the respect for animal life and vegetarianism (ideasshared by Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism, and state protection for draught animals.) In Chinese society, only ethnic andreligious groups not fully assimilated (such as the Muslim Huis and the Miao) and foreigners consumed this meat. This taboo, among Han Chinese, led Chinese Muslims to create a niche for themselvesas butchers who specialized in slaughtering oxen and buffalo.
Some worshippers of Guan Yin do not eat beef. Occasionally, some cows weeping before slaughter, and they are oftenreleased to temples nearby.
Historically, there was a beef taboo in Japan, as a means of protecting thelivestock population and Buddhist influence. Meat-eating had long been taboo inJapan, beginning with a decree in 675 that banned the consumption of cattle,horses, dogs, monkeys and chicken, influenced by the Buddhist prohibition ofkilling. In 1612, the shogun declared a decreethat specifically banned the killing of cattle. This official prohibition was in placeuntil 1872, when it was officially proclaimed that Emperor Meiji consumed beef and mutton, whichtransformed the country's dietary considerations as a means of modernizing thecountry, particularly with regard to consumption of beef. With contact from Europeans, beefincreasingly became popular, even though it had previously been consideredbarbaric.
In Ancient Egypt
The ancient Egyptians sacrificed animals, but not the cow because it wassacred to goddess Hathor, and also due to the contemporary Greekmyth of Io, who had the formof a cow.
In Egyptian mythology, Hesat was the manifestation ofHathor, the divine sky-cow, in earthly form. Like Hathor, she was seen as thewife of Ra. In hieroglyphs she is depicted as a cow with a hat.