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What is the beef ban in india, and why is it significant?  

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Just last year the Indian state of Maharashtra banned the production and sale of all cow meat, and made killing a cow punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

Why would they do such a thing? Well, most people in India are Hindu, and in Hinduism cows are a sacred animal. (The English cliche "sacred cow" ultimately comes from this.) They believe it is morally wrong and offensive to their religion to kill cows.

A substantial proportion of the population in India is not Hindu, however (mostly Muslims), and they do not believe that cows are sacred and generally don't appreciate being forced to obey Hindu religious laws. They contend that this beef ban is a violation of their personal liberty and freedom of religion.

I actually have pretty mixed feelings about this. There are actually quite legitimate moral and environmental reasons to ban beef---cows are sentient beings about as intelligent as cats or dogs, and beef production is one of the leading causes of global warming. If the ban had been implemented for these reasons I think I would support it; of course, it would also have to apply to pork as well since the same reasons apply. But since it was clearly based on religious strictures instead, it amounts to an attempt to impose Hinduism on non-Hindu people. That makes it indeed a violation of personal liberty and freedom of religion.

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