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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indians Raise Stink Over Manure Imports

NEW DELHI -- India, land of 400 million cattle, is considering a proposal to import dung from the Netherlands to promote organic farming. Nothing has raised such a stink in the nation's capital in years.


"Let us not be put in the ridiculous position of becoming a dung-importing nation," declared Rajiv Vora of the New Delhi-based Gandhi Peace Foundation. "All I can say is that such a mind-set is full of dung."


Protesting dairy farmers took to the streets earlier this month with 11 bullock carts filled with cow manure destined for the front steps of the country's stately parliament building. But police armed with bamboo sticks blocked the demonstrators from entering the city.


When they dumped their loads at a major intersection, their protests could be smelled blocks away.


"About 15,000 tons of dung goes into the sewer every month in Delhi alone," said Mukhiya Gurjar, 26, president of the Delhi Dairy Union and owner of 150 cattle. "There is no shortfall of dung in our country, and there never will be."


In fact, the Indian government told Gurjar and other dairy farmers in February that their cattle were producing too much dung and ordered them and their owners to move out of the city. An estimated 100,000 cows -- which are considered sacred by Hindus -- and water buffaloes roam the streets, parks and back alleys of New Delhi.


"They tell us on the one hand to get out of Delhi because all the dung is choking the sewer, and on the other hand they want to import it," said Gurjar, who at the time led another smelly protest in which farmers tied 20 black water buffaloes outside the offices of the city legislative assembly for two days.


Many Indians say their country would become an international laughingstock if it agreed to import dung. But more importantly, Vora said, Western nations in general -- and the Netherlands in particular in this case -- are "imperialistic, over-consuming people in need of an extended worldwide toilet system" and want to use the Third World as their dumping ground.


"There is a huge problem in the Netherlands -- they are sinking in dung," Vora said.


"We do have a large quantity of dung," said Ton Hamoen, press attache at the Dutch Embassy in New Delhi. He said, however, that the proposal for exporting dung is only in the study phase and no formal plans have been submitted to either the Dutch or Indian governments.