NEW DELHI: India could issue millions of cows with unique identification numbers, the latest effort to protect the sacred animals amid a spike in violence by Hindu vigilantes against farmers accused of cattle smuggling. The government has told the Supreme Court that millions of cows will be tagged with a tamper-proof plastic tag linked to a national database in a bid to curb smuggling within India and beyond its borders. Cows are considered sacred in Hindu-majority India, and their slaughter is a punishable offense in many states. “Each animal will have a unique number that will have details like age, breed, sex, height, colour, horn type and special marks,” a senior officer from India’s home ministry that prepared the recommendations told Agence France-Presse. A panel from the home ministry was tasked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing government to propose measures against cross-border smuggling after a petition was filed by an animal rights group in the Supreme Court. Nearly 175,000 cattle are seized annually on the largely porous borders with Bangladesh and Nepal, according to home ministry figures, with unofficial estimates of the illegal cow trade pegged at nearly two million animals.