When I was a kid, I fondly remember participating in the Adopt-A-Whale program and sending in some cash to help with protection efforts. In return, I received photos and an update of my whale, which in a day and age before the Internet (gasp!) was a pretty cool thing to look forward to in the mail.

Flash forward to 2009 and the Hare Krishna community is attempting to do something similar -- but this time, with cows. The religious organization reveres the animals and is spearheading a new campaign to increase the number of bovine refugees at their cattle sanctuary in New Vrindaban, W. Va. From the Wall Street Journal:

For $51, you can feed a cow for a month, while $108 would "provide special care for retired cows who can no longer breed or give milk," the group says in one appeal. "In one selfless stroke, you are sending a valuable message to our children and to a troubled world which sees today's gentle cow as tomorrow's dinner." The adopt-a-cow effort promises bovine photographs and updates for donors, along with an open invitation to visit the cows in this village, near Moundsville, W.Va.
As a vegetarian and animal rights activist, I think the Adopt-A-Cow campaign is a brilliant way to show people that cows aren't just here to be turned into hamburgers and steaks. As more people are born and grow up in urban cities around the world, they become increasingly disconnected from nature, animals and how their food arrives in the supermarkets. We need to find ways to have more respect for the creatures we share this planet with. Even something as simple as a photograph of a cow might make people think twice about where their food is coming from.

To learn more about the Krishna cow adoption program, jump here.

(MNN homepage photo: Maessive/Flickr)

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Hare Krishnas launch adopt-a-cow
Times are tough for America's first cattle sanctuary, but a new campaign to get people involved may help turn the tide.