Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Global and International Studies

First Advisor

Donald McCloud

Second Advisor

Alisa Perkins


This essay examines the current trend of rustling and transporting cattle from throughout India for trade at the cattle corridors that lie along the border between India’s West Bengal and Bangladesh. An analysis of historical and cultural factors seeks to explain how this trade possibly began and increased. These motivators include the effects of the Mad Cow disease outbreak in the 1980s on international beef trade and the many economic uses for bovines and their by-products in Bangladesh. This research also looks at cattle-specific legislation in India that prohibits many of the practices employed by smugglers and details some possible examples of this process as cited from newspaper reports varying from Indian and British sources to other international newspapers. Finally, the efforts of various animal rights and Hindu activists are noted. Themes of the work encompass the distinct religious contrasts between Hinduism and Islam, local and global demand for goods derived from cattle, and how these pressures have combined to create a lucrative industry in which traditional beliefs are pitted against monetary gain. The economic potential of the Indian cattle industry poses the question of whether illegal exporting trends are inevitable in a country where poverty is a significant problem and a large, free-roaming cattle population exists. A contest between dogma and globalized trade is occurring in India, the future consequences of which are unclear as smugglers and activists become the major players in this controversial issue.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access