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US customs finds and destroys cow dung cakes found in baggage of Indian passenger at airport

US customs officials have destroyed two cow dung cakes discovered in baggage left behind at an airport by an Air India passenger.

The cow dung cakes were discovered at Dulles Airport, an international airport in the suburb of Washington DC, and destroyed by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents on Monday.

A statement from CBP read: “That is not a typo. CBP agriculture specialists found two cow dung cakes in a suitcase that was left behind after passengers from an Air India flight cleared CBP’s inspection station on April 4.”

This isn’t the first time cow dung has been in the news lately. In Gujarat in western India, it was widely reported that some Hindu men have been going to cow shelters once a week to cover their bodies in cow dung and urine, hoping that it would improve their immunity and help them recover from Covid-19.

Doctors across the country were dumbfounded and issued a warning against the practice, saying it had no “scientific” basis and that there was no evidence to suggest that it is effective against Covid-19. They also warned that cow dung might spread other diseases.

In the US, cow dung cakes are prohibited as they are considered carriers of infectious diseases like foot and mouth disease (FMD).

Keith Fleming, Acting Director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office told the media: “Foot and Mouth Disease is one of the animal diseases that livestock owners dread most, has grave economic consequences, and it is a critical threat focus of Customs and Border Protection’s agriculture protection mission.”

The CBP noted that cow dung cakes from India are “prohibited due to the potential introduction of Foot and Mouth disease.” It added: “A single detection of FMD will likely stop international livestock trade completely until authorities can eradicate the disease threat.”

As per the US Department of Agriculture website, while many countries across the globe are dealing with FMD in their livestock populations, the United States eradicated the disease in 1929. It said that FMD is a worldwide concern as it can spread quickly and cause significant economic losses.

It also points out that “Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a severe and highly contagious viral disease. The FMD virus causes illness in cows, pigs, sheep, goats, deer, and other animals with divided hooves. It does not affect horses, dogs, or cats.”

On social media, the news that CBP had found cow dung cakes in the leftover baggage of a passenger led to many jokes and memes. One, referring to right-wing propaganda about cow dung in India, commented: “Why do they need to carry something in their luggage what they already have inside their heads!”

Source: US customs finds and destroys cow dung cakes found in baggage of Indian passenger at airport

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