Haryana Minister Anil Vij, a long-time proponent of declaring cow as the national animal, today said if steps were not taken to protect the bovine it may become endangered. 

The Haryana health minister said this while hailing the verdict of a Rajasthan High Court which asked the state's BJP government to take necessary steps to get cow declared the national animal and ensure its slaughterers were punished with imprisonment for life.

"I welcome the Rajasthan High Court judge's verdict," Vij told PTI. 

Referring to the slaughtering of a calf in Kerala's Kannur district by Youth Congress activists, he said, "We are seeing a new frenzy on part of some people to put the cow in danger." 

"If the cow is not protected, it may become endangered. And cow can only be protected when it is declared as a national animal," he said. 

In October 2015, the outspoken minister had pitched for declaring cow as the national animal and even launched an online poll on the issue. 

The five-time Ambala Cantt MLA had then mooted on Twitter the idea of making cow the national animal, replacing Tiger. 

Vij today said that he had reasoned that the cow needs protection as the tiger can protect itself. 

"There is a mafia that is involved in slaughtering cows. Like the peacock is protected by virtue of being the national bird, the same will be the case when the cow is declared as the national animal," Vij stated. 

He said when he had launched the online poll, a cross- section of people had supported him on the issue including Yoga Guru, Baba Ramdev. 

When asked that Congress often accuses the BJP of "politicising" cow, Vij said, "Cow is not a religious or political tool. Everyone drinks cow's milk, people from all religions drink her milk, which is good for health. If we are asking to protect this animal, where is the question of doing politics in this." 

Notably, for protection and upkeep of cows, Haryana Assembly had in March 2015 passed the Bill which clamps a complete ban on cow slaughter in the state and provides for rigorous imprisonment ranging from 3-10 years for killing the animal.