Catch a stray cow from the hundreds roaming the streets of New Delhi, haul it to a state shelter and you will be given 2,000 rupees ($46) for your pains.

The Hindustan Times newspaper said Friday the Delhi High Court had passed an order instructing city authorities to offer money to rid the Indian capital of the cattle menace.

An estimated 35,000 cows and buffaloes roam free in the capital, sharing space with hordes of monkeys, camels and stray dogs. Traffic routinely comes to a halt to allow animals to amble across highways, leading to accidents and sometimes deaths.

Cows are sacred to Hindus, who make up a bulk of India's billion-plus population, and just a rumor of mistreatment can prompt angry mobs to attack people in revenge.


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