NEW DELHI: The slaughter of cows is banned in large parts of India, yet the country is the world’s largest exporter of beef. The issue of the #BeefBan figured in the news most recently in connection to the brutal murder of fifty five year old Mohammad Akhlaq, who was lynched to death and his son critically injured, when rumours surfaced that the family were consuming beef. The incident has divided India, where the culturally sensitive position of cows has prompted several politicians to take a muted stand, with some even blaming the victims.

Here are the numbers that elucidate India’s very strange relationship with all things bovine.

301.6 MILLION is the number of cattle (oxen and the Indian humped variety of cows) and water buffalo in India in 2015, according to the to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service.

4.5 MILLION TONS is the estimate of the weight of the water buffalo meat and beef that will be produced in India in 2016, an increase of 5% from 2015.

India produced 43 percent of the world’s buffalo meat in 2015, the highest of any nation.

Dadri, where Akhlaq was lynched for consuming beef, is in UP. UP produces 37 percent of beef in India, the highest proportion of meat production in any state.

2.2 MILLION TONS is the amount of water buffalo expected to be exported from India in 2016, up from 2.1 million in 2015.

(The data for this article is via the U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service, as compiled in The Wall Street Journal).