In India, where the majority of residents are Hindu, the cow is sacred. Just how sacred? So sacred that one state recently launched a private ambulance service for injured cattle.
According to The Guardian, the ambulance service in Uttar Pradesh was launched by Keshav Prasad, the state’s deputy chief minister. While it has the support of the government, it’s not a state-funded enterprise. It’s paid for by an NGO called the Gau Vansh Raksha trust, which operates several gaushalas, or animal shelters specifically aimed at housing old and unwanted cows to protect them from slaughter. (The Indian government also runs its own gaushalas, paying for the cows’ upkeep through state funds.)
The trust launched five ambulances in May 2017, and received hundreds of calls within the first week of operation. The ambulances are equipped with sirens and basic surgery supplies and are run by volunteers.
Though India has a secular government, more than a dozen Indian states have banned the slaughter of cattle out of deference to the Hindu majority. The laws are controversial for the country's beef-eating Christian and Muslim populations (who also make up the bulk of the country's large cattle-export industry), however. The same month the service launched, the Indian government instituted a full ban on selling cows for slaughter. The ban is currently on hold while India’s Supreme Court rules on whether or not it is constitutional.
[h/t The Guardian]