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"The world is really so surreal these days that it's necessary for us to blunt it somehow in order to stay sane. The artist functions to short-circuit the buffering mechanism, so that people can occasionally perceive the weirdness of things as they are."
- William Gibson

Municipal Cattle Remover  
  A device to pick cattle up and place them in a truck for later dispersion in the countryside.  

India has more cattle than the United States has people. Cows are venerated as religious symbols, a practice that started in Mesopotamia in 6,000 B.C. In India, government protection of cattle in gowshalas started under King Ashoka (269-232 B.C.), with the introduction of animal shelters. Today, in the country's 600,000 small villages, cows are treated as individuals and provide milk for families. To orthodox Hindus, killing a cow is like killing your own mother, who gives you life and supports you.

In the cities, however, cattle are a real nuisance. Protected by civil laws (the Cow Slaughter Act prohibits the killing of cattle under 16 ears of age) and Hindu religious codes, they wander everywhere, mixing poorly with mechanized traffic. In the near-future India of Sagramanda, cattle are a real problem.

As he removed the electronic key that would unlock his front door and disarm the alarm he had to scurry sideways to avoid the familiar warning beep of a municipal cattle remover. The hulking vehicle slowed as it neared the pair of cows who had settled themselves atop and alongside the grassy median that divided the several lanes of traffic. He did not bother to stop and watch as the driver went about the business of gently slipping the teflon-coated metal scoop beneath the first animal. As its sides came up to gently enfold and secure the mildly irritated bovine, the scoop rose upward, over the cab of the mover, to deposit the unharmed animal in the holding pen in back.
From Sagramanda, by Alan Dean Foster.
Published by Pyr in 2006
Additional resources -

As far as I know, there is no real device that corresponds to a cattle remover. Cattle in India are driven to slaughter in one of the two or three states in which it is legal.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Sagramanda
  More Ideas and Technology by Alan Dean Foster
  Tech news articles related to Sagramanda
  Tech news articles related to works by Alan Dean Foster

Municipal Cattle Remover-related news articles:
  - Cattle Avoidance Feature In Indian Autonomous Cars

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