Cow Protection Certificate of Readiness

Srila Prabhupada has stated the importance of Cow Protection connected to agriculture in the Sankirtana Mission.

Srila Prabhupada has stated Progressive human civilization is based on brahminical culture,God consciousness and protection of cows. [ SB1.19.3]. Also, according to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions a minimum standard for Cow Protection in ISKCON should be maintained (Ratified in ISKCON Law 507,1999).

The production of ethical, healthy, natural food supply is essential for the offerings for the Deities and for the followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Cow Protection also relates to higher functions of Dharma, connected to God Consciousness, it makes civilization.

Therefore, in order to start a cow protection project that will be accredited within ISKCON and accepted as an ISKCON supported project a “Cow Protection Certificate of Readiness” needs to be obtained. This is to ensure a sustainable foundation for the project.


Cows and Bulls need to be cared properly as they are very dear to Sri Krishna. Therefore, centers desiring to start cow protection programs require to have a sound preparation and knowledge of cow protection and its connection with agriculture. When the reasons for protecting cows and bulls are adequately captured, they bring great opulence and pleasure to the center which is extended to ISKCON members, the GBC body and the wider society.

The ISKCON Ministry for Cow Protection and Agriculture is an agency that is building global capacity and knowhow to assist ISKCON centers to protect cows properly and to understand its connection with agriculture.

Process Overview

In order to start a cow protection project that will be accredited within ISKCON and accepted as an ISKCON supported project a “Cow Protection Certificate of Readiness” needs to be obtained.

The following are the requirements for obtaining such a certificate which will allow new cow
protection projects to commence their operations:

  1. The GBC Minimum Cow Protection Standards ISKCON Law 507(1999) needs to be read and fully understood before applying for the certificate.

  2. An exam must be taken and passed. The questions in the exam will be based on the content of Law 507.

  3.  A well thought out business plan with the signature of the GBC member has to be presented to the Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture. Details regarding the content that must be addressed in the business plan are provided below in order to assist in its preparation.

Centers may not make any commitments or agreements regarding procuring and/or acquiring cows until the “ Cow Protection Certificate of Readiness” is granted. This “Certificate of Readiness for Cow Protection” applies only to an ISKCON registered property which it is granted and is not a generic permanent approval.

This Certificate of Readiness is valid for up to 180 days beyond the initial scheduled acquisition date. If the 180 day period has elapsed without the management set up being completed, the center will be reassessed by the ISKCON Ministry for Cow Protection and Agriculture for a new Certificate of Readiness to be issued.

The Cow Protection Certificate of Readiness will be assessed by a local representative (from the temple concerned); the local GBC, regional leadership (which may include a representative from the National Council or RGB, etc.); and an ISKCON Cow Protection and Agriculture (IMCPA) accredited representative. The GBC Executive Committee will be informed of the assessment outcome.

Initial Contact

The center wanting to commence a Cow Protection Program makes an application via IMCPA’s website. After receiving this application which includes a business plan signed by the local GBC, IMCPA contacts local GBC and regional authorities to assess the viability of the application by their business plan and test. If process shows the center has made a proper analysis of requirements for Cow Protection which includes agriculture and is moving in the right direction regarding the proper allocation resources, etc. for Cow Protection, then the first stage approval is given. This then enables the temple to make arrangements to acquire cows and commence fund-raising, etc.

The second and final stage will be assessed based on the findings of a site visit by an IMCPA accredited representative, or comprehensive consultation with concerned devotees.

(kindly visit this page on the IMCPA website for the full revised law)

Necessary Content of the Business Plan

The business plan does not have to be based on self sufficiency (growing everything yourself) but should show sustainability (how it can work continuously taking into account environmental measures, your economic model and showing how you will have enough people to run it)

  • Please state the existing ISKCON center/project/ GBC member under which this goshala will be run, maintained and expanded.

  • A financial plan for key years of operation (Years one, two, three, five, ten and fifteen). As an aid in preparing this plan, we are providing applicants with a template. Please only use the provided template, any other document will not be accepted. Within the business plan there must be an emergency fund that would cover the essential running costs of the goshala for one year should there be any unforeseen crisis. The minimum fund should be not be less than $18,000 and should cover a herd for up to 18 in number,  ($1000 per cow). Larger herds will need a larger proportional emergency fund.

  • Amount of land. Please provide the details of how much land will be available for buildings, for grazing, and other uses – if any. What type of grade/quality is the land and how is the land used locally. Lower grade land use may require further analysis.

  • A detailed breeding plan. Please prepare your breeding plan while taking into consideration an average lifespan of 16 years per herd member. The breeding plan has to be proportional to the amount of staff and land available. Use the template provided.

  • Staff and Volunteers. Please state here the names, phone numbers, addresses and email addresses of all trustees and/or managers of the farm (such as the general farm manager, finance manager, goshala manager, ox department manager etc.) Use template provided in the budget analysis for filling in all staff and volunteer requirements.

  • Staff training. Before acquiring any bovines, those who are in the key managerial roles need to undergo training in an accredited ISKCON cow protection project. Training should include but is not limited to: usual leadership and management training, ox training, milking cows by hand, maintaining the barn and surrounding areas to ensure the herd’s comfort- fencing, feeding, pasture management, caring for sick or dying cows, calving (when possible), caring for bulls (when possible), the mood and philosophy behind cow protection & farming, Srila Prabhupada’s instructions on self-sufficiency, cow protection and agriculture.

  • Barn layout. Should include electricity and water layouts as well as manure and urine disposal facilities and milking stalls. (open barns with shelter from winds, rain and snow are recommended)

  • Barns provided. Separate housing should be provided for cows, oxen, calves and bulls. Please describe your plans in this regard. For old or sick and dying cows special facilities need to be provided; please indicate if you will be offering such facilities on your farm or in a neighbouring devotee run farm.

  • Fencing layout. Please describe the division of your land into grazing area, exercise area for the winter, area for bulls (if you plan on having them) etc. Describe the kind of fences you intend to set up. The financing template should include costs for building and maintaining these fences. If you have not purchased a farm yet, please give a general idea of what you expect or hope to have on your farm once it is purchased

  • Feeding plan. What kind of food will you be providing for your herd and which food  will you be growing yourself? Include grazing, hay, grain, as well as plans for winter months. Please make sure to indicate the anticipated sources of these.

  • Milking plan. Much of this information should be covered in your financial plan such as: number of personnel required for milking the cows (see law 507 for methods allowed), location of milking facilities etc. Please include here information about your plans for milk sales, You should indicate if the milk is for internal use, for usages on other projects (such as temples in your area) or for sale (indicate if it is for sale to  devotees or non devotees)

  • Engaging the oxen. Please present an initial plan for engaging the oxen. What types of work are they expected to carry out, how many working oxen would you like to have at any given time and the number of personnel that will be training them and working with them. If the initial plan is minimal, please present future plans for expansion.

  • Equipment list. Please identify what equipment will be required for your operation and at what stage of the operation you will be acquiring it.

  • Cow breeds. Please indicate which  breed of cows you will be purchasing and why you are choosing that particular breed. Please note, you should choose a breed of cows that is compatible with the climate in your area. A breed  whose cows are known to produce a high yield of milk and who’s oxen are known to be good workers is preferable.

  • Bull. Keeping a bull for the purpose of breeding is the recommended standard for all cow protection projects in ISKCON. Are you planning to keep a bull? if so what facilities are you planning to have to keep him and others safe? Until a standard is established by the ministry of cow protection and agriculture in regards to keeping a bull, please take guidance from your national agricultural department.

  • Cow Remains. What will you do with the remains of cows, bulls and bullocks who have passed away? Please note that your choice has to be accepted by your country’s regulations in this regard, please indicate if it is or not.