In an unusual event, an Indian village will watch cows, instead of models, walk the ramp. The north Indian state of Haryana is all set to host a beauty pageant for bovines.
Around 250 cows have been registered for the event, but organisers are expecting the number of participants to increase to over 500, the Hindustan Times (HT) reported. The ramp for the cows to walk is also set and the show will take place on 6 and 7 May at the International Institute of Veterinary Education and Research in Bahu Akbarpur village of Rohtak district.
The state government has said it will allow only the local breed of cows to participant in the show. The animals will be judged for their milk yielding capacity too during the show.
The cows are given real Indian names — like Radha and Rani — for the purpose of identification. A panel of judges, consisting of scientific experts in cow breeds, will declare the winners based on the features of the animals.
Participating in the event, a cattle owner, Rajbir Singh, told the HT media: "I have come from Karnal with 12 cows. My strong contender for the beauty contest, Radha, a Sahiwal [breed] cow, has won several contests in Punjab and Haryana."
Another participant hopes his cow will make him proud as she has yielded 19.5 litres of milk in a different contest held recently.
There are several categories and the winner of each will be announced at the end of the event on 7 May. Owners of the cattle will be awarded with Rs 250,000 (£2,588).
In a move to promote adoption of local cows, the Haryana animal husbandry and dairying minister, Om Prakash Dhankar, who is organising the show, told HT: "We want to organise beauty pageant for desi [local] cows so they also get the limelight which they deserve and it flares up their market value...
"Besides, why should milk brands come and take away the earning which our local farmers can get?" he asked.
India, which has a long standing tradition of worshiping cows, had banned the slaughter and consumption of beef in the Western state of Maharashtra. The Bombay High Court, on 6 May, upheld the ban, but decriminalised the possession of beef. The court ruled that mere possession of the meat brought from outside the state will not amount to a criminal act.