The following thoughts expressed by Vinoba Bhave are from the book "Selections from Vinoba" (abbreviated in the text as S.V.), written by Vishwanath Tandon. The book has been published by Sarva Seva Sanghprakashan, Rajghat, Varanasi - 221001, India in 1981.
Protection of the cow and the bullock is a characteristic of the Indian social philosophy. We are, in this respect, a step ahead of the Western socialism. Western socialism asks for a full and equal protection being given to all men, but there it stops. We in India have gone a step further. We have included the cow as a member in the family. True, we have not followed this principle in practice fully. We merely pay respect to the cow but do not look after it so well as they do in the Western countries. Nevertheless we have deep regard for it and consider it worthy of our care and protection in the same way as the human members of the family. We do not drive out the latter when they grow old. In the same way, though we make full use of the cow and the bullock - take milk, get our fields ploughed, use the dung for manure, and use even their hides after they are dead - we do not kill them. But now we must link up this regard with a scientific attitude. Superstitious respect will not do. We must open good dairy forms, Gosadans, and the wealthy amongst us should come forward to provide for the upkeep of decrepit cattle.
Ban on Cow-slaughter
Some people are under serious misapprehension in regard to the secular character of our State. They think that there is some kind of incompatibility between cow protection and a secular State. There is no incompatibility between the secular character of our State and the protection of the cow. No religion in India says that it is meritorious to kill a cow, and therefore there is no conflict among our different religions about the desirability of the protection of the cow. Therefore I say that there is nothing to prevent the secular State from striving to protect the cow, and our State must do it.