SHEPPARTON, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 14: Elite Triathlete Rebekah Keat of Australia poses with a cow before a training swim in the lead up to Challenge Shepparton on November 14, 2015 in Shepparton, Australia. The City of Shepparton has many cow statues around the town in tribute to dairy farmers in country areas. (Photo : Michael Dodge/Getty Images for Challenge)
Cow selfies appear to be a thing in India, at least where cow protection advocacies are concerned.
A Kolkata organization put together a selfie contest involving cows "to raise awareness about the politically controversial topic of cow protection and slaughter in India," Mashable reported.
"The campaign comes at the end of a year when the consumption and sale of beef has become a polarising issue in the country," it added.
Go Seva Parivar began its campaign in November, encouraging people to take selfies with cows and post them on Twitter, Facebook, and Whatsapp with the hashtag #selfiewithgomata.
In the country, specifically among Hindus, cows are considered sacred. They are even called "gau mata," which means "mother cow." Some states have also banned the slaughter of cows.
However, the campaign is said to transcend the sacred. A Go Seva Parivar spokesperson said that they began the drive "to create the general awareness that cow protection is not religious but scientific," Metro noted.
"Cows help us live, grow and sustain ourselves," explained Lalit Agarwal, a spokesperson for the organization. "Apart from milk, cow dung and cow urine are essential for farming, medicines and other purposes."
"To us, cows are celebrities, they are our 'gau mata'," Agarwal added, as noted by Hindustan Times.
The campaign has attracted attention, especially among young people.
"I heard about it (the contest) through Facebook. When I walking home I saw a calf and clicked a selfie with it and posted it on Facebook," commented Pankaj Choudhury, who heads a company.
"Since selfies are trending right now, this way youth will feel the need to save cows," another contestant said.
The month-long competition ended Sunday with the announcement of the selfie contest winners. You can check out the entries and the winners here.
The cow has been considered as the country's "most polarizing animal, as three has already been killed this year over beef consumption.
"The Dadri incident in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in which a Muslim man was allegedly lynched by a Hindu mob for allegedly consuming beef, cost the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) the Bihar state assembly elections," Mashable said. "West Bengal is one of the few states where consumption and sale of beef is still legal," the news source added. "Cow slaughter is banned in approximately 21 out of 29 Indian states."
Would you try doing a cow selfie? Sound off in the comments below!