Photo: Bhaktivedanta Manor
It's cow bliss at a dairy in Hertfordshire, England run by the Hare Krishnas. There are only 44 of them but life is sweet: On this farm all the cows have names, they are hand-milked whilst listening to Sanskrit music and they feed on grass all year.
Calling it a "Hilton for Krishna Cows", the new farm is built on the site of George Harrison's old mansion in the countryside. It is a state-of-the-art "sustainable sanctuary for cattle where animals and nature are given the highest respect."
Photo: Lotus Trust
Cows are considered very holy by all Hindus, including the Hare Krishnas. They are are not killed because Hindus practise ahimsa (non-violence). So no cow or any other healthy animal would ever be killed or harmed on the farm.
Male calves are reared to work the land, and bulls are used to plow the soil. So there are fewer tractors and other environment-damaging trucks in use. They are retired at 15 (60 in human years) and are left to graze for the rest of their life.
Being hand-milked does not cause cows discomfort or distress. The cow often forms a close attachment to her regular milker and enjoys the process. Human milkers don't over-milk and come to recognise the personal traits of the animal.
The farm has 44 dairy Short Horns and Meuse-Rhine-Yssel cows. The 11 cows produce 1,000 litres of milk a week. But with demand rising for the delicious milk they are going to increase the herd.
Photo: Elite Choice
The milk from the cows has been called Ahimsa Milk, meaning milk produced without harm to any living being. Next year it will be available to the public and will be the most expensive cow's milk in the UK, selling at £3 ($4.85) a bottle. A group of experts tried it and rated it "much richer and more delicious and generally lovelier. It had an amazing silk texture."