In a society or civilization in which there are no brahmanas or brahminical culture, cows are treated as ordinary animals and slaughtered, at the sacrifice of human civilization
SB Canto 4
Whoever acquires the brahminical qualifications—whose only wealth is good behavior, who is grateful and who takes shelter of experienced persons—gets all the opulence of the world. I therefore wish that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His associates be pleased with the brāhmaṇa class, with the cows and with me.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped with the prayer namo brahmaṇya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca. Thus it is clear that the Supreme Personality of Godhead respects and protects the brāhmaṇas and brahminical culture, as well as the cows; in other words, wherever there are brāhmaṇas and brahminical culture, there are cows and cow protection. In a society or civilization in which there are no brāhmaṇas or brahminical culture, cows are treated as ordinary animals and slaughtered, at the sacrifice of human civilization. The specific mention of the word gavām by Pṛthu Mahārāja is significant because the Lord is always associated with cows and His devotees. In pictures Lord Kṛṣṇa is always seen with cows and His associates such as the cowherd boys and the gopīs. Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be alone. Therefore Pṛthu Mahārāja said, sānucaraś ca, indicating that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always associated with His followers and devotees.
A devotee acquires all the good qualities of the demigods; he is guṇāyanam, the reservoir of all good qualities. His only asset is good behavior, and he is grateful. Gratitude for the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is one of the qualities of brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. Everyone should feel grateful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is maintaining all living entities and supplying all their necessities. As stated in the Vedas (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13), eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān: the supreme one is supplying all necessities to the living entities. The living entity who is therefore grateful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is certainly qualified with good characteristics.
The word vṛddhāśrayam is very significant in this verse. Vṛddha refers to one who is advanced in knowledge. There are two kinds of old men—he who is advanced in years and he who is experienced in knowledge. One who is advanced in knowledge is actually vṛddha (jñāna-vṛddha); one does not become vṛddha simply by advancing in age. Vṛddhāśrayam, a person who takes shelter of a superior person who is advanced in knowledge, can acquire all the good qualities of a brāhmaṇa and be trained in good behavior. When one actually attains good qualities, becomes grateful for the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, he is endowed with all opulence. Such a person is a brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava. Therefore Pṛthu Mahārāja invokes the blessings and mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, with His associates, devotees, Vaiṣṇavas, brāhmaṇas and cows.