Pee for Profit: Cow Urine Can Outsell Milk in India

There are about 30 different ways to prepare the golden 'elixir'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2016 2:02 PM CDT
Pee for Profit: Cow Urine Can Outsell Milk in India
India's hot new commodity: cow urine.   (Shutterstock)

Hindus revere cows as a symbol of life, including the liquid nourishment they provide—and not just the milk. Distilled urine from female cows has become a hot commodity in India, Bloomberg reports, said to bring in at least as much cash as the other kind of cow juice. And it's created a booming business helped along by the efforts of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who's funneled $87 million into protecting his country's bovines by beefing up cow shelters and prohibiting the eating of cow meat, among other measures. Holistic practitioners say the urine (they call it the "gomutra") can bestow health benefits, and a research team last month said they had found gold in the urine of the country's Gir cattle, lending even more mystique and reverence to the creatures, the Indian Express notes. A liter of cow urine can sell for up to $1.50, an employee of a company called Patanjali Ayurveda tells Bloomberg, and it's even available on e-commerce sites like Amazon.

There are various ways you can prep the golden "elixir," a coordinator at an Indian cow research group says, noting more than two dozen home "remedies" can easily be whipped up. One of the most challenging parts of being a cow urine collector: knowing exactly when nature's call is about to strike. "The attendants take clues from the animals' movements and try to identify patterns in urination," a cow urine business owner tells Bloomberg. Some of these local urin-preneurs are even trying to take on business giants like Unilever and Nestle SA with their consumer goods, and urine-based products are part of their portfolio. "We prepare 20 tons … a day and still can't meet demand," the Patanjali director says of his company's urine-based floor cleaner. A University of Sydney epidemiologist, however, warns raw urine could harbor a number of diseases, and a farmer notes there may not be a cost benefit to keeping cows past their milking prime for the urine. (Yes, cow-pee soda is a thing.)

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