Guidelines for Cow Protection from the Mahabharata
1. One should never kick cows, for one who does so will have to suffer in hell for a hundred lives. Cows are the abode of all auspiciousness. For this reason, they always deserve worship.
2. Bullocks should never be struck harshly with a goad or whip.
3. One should not proceed through the midst of cows.
4. When cows are grazing or lying down, one should not disturb them in any way.
5. When cows are thirsty and are refused water [ because a person is obstructing their access to a water tank or river ] merely by glancing at such a person a cow will create great difficulties for him along with all his relatives and friends. What creatures can be more sacred than cows, whose very dung is purifying?
6. That man who, before eating himself, gives everyday for a year a handful of grass to a cow belonging to another person, is regarded as undergoing a vow or observance which bestows the fruition of his every wish. Such a person acquires children, fame, wealth and prosperity and dispels all evils.
7. The cow should never be given away for slaughter.
8. A bull or bullock can be used for ploughing, but a cow should never be used to till the soil.
9. A cow should not be given to an atheist.
10. One should not, even in thought, injure a cow. One should always show compassion towards cows.
11. One should never show disregard for cows in any way.
12. One should never cast one’s urine, excreta and other secretions on cow dung.
13. One should never obstruct cows in any way.
14. One should not disrespect cow dung. The circular marks in the cow dung represent Lord Visnu’s chakra.
15. He who, without being checked by the restraints of the scriptures, sells a cow for slaughter, kills a cow, or eats the flesh of a cow, or for the sake of money causes a person to kill cows, rots in hell for as many years as there are hairs on the body of the slain cow.[ Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva ]