In a bid to make people aware of the significance of cows, the Education Minister of Rajasthan, Vasudev Devnani, gave a statement on Saturday that has drawn much criticism. The BJP minister claimed that cow is the only animal that inhales as well as exhales oxygen.
The minister made this remark while speaking at the Hingonia Goshala during an event organised by the Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Highlighting the “scientific significance” of cows, Vasudev said: “Gai Ek matra prani hai jo oxygen grahan karta hai, aur oxygen hi chodti hai (The cow is the only animal that takes in oxygen and also releases oxygen).” He also added that there is a need for this message to spread far and wide.
This is not the first time that such a remark has been made. Acharya Balkrishna, Managing Director and primary stakeholder of Patanjali Ayurved, had shared a post on Facebook on December 31, 2016, that read
“Gai Prithvi par ek matra aisee praani hai jo oxygen grahan karti hai aur oxygen hi chhodti hai. Gai prakriti se apni avashyakta ka 21% oxygen lete hai aur matra 5% upayog mein lekar shesh 16% prakriti ko vapas kar deti hai. Gai ke sharir par pratidin 15-20 minute haath pherane se b.p. bhi theek hota hai aur netra jyoti bhee badhti hai.”
It can be translated as: “Cow is the only animal on earth that inhales oxygen and also exhales oxygen. The cow takes 21% oxygen from the environment; utilises 5% of it and gives the rest 16% back to the environment. Caressing the cow every day for 15-20 minutes cures Blood Pressure and also enhances vision.”
This post drew 76000 likes and was shared over 19,500 times
The air we breathe in comprises of 75% Nitrogen, 20% Oxygen, 2% Water vapour, 0.040% Carbon dioxide and other gases.
When we inhale, our lungs absorb most of the oxygen present in the air. When we exhale, we release carbon dioxide along with nitrogen and other noble gases, along with small amounts of oxygen which do not get absorbed by the lungs. This applies to the respiratory process of all mammals, and not just cows, a fact conveniently neglected by both Vasudev Devnani and Acharya Balkrishna.
Also, cows and buffaloes are some of the biggest contributors to global pollution as per the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation. The organisation had claimed in 2009 that the livestock sector, including cow, generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.
As for reducing blood pressure, studies have shown that regular human-animal interaction, especially with pet animals like dogs and cats, lowers stress levels and helps us feel calmer.
But, claiming that only cows exhale oxygen or assist in lowering BP, and twisting the truth to appease the voters is wrong. Such acts should be condemned and we, as the public should also verify the facts before sharing such information. We should stop the spread of misinformation and half-truths like these.