Long long ago, long before any religion ever existed, there lived a civilization in the Indian sub-continent who were primarily farmers. They settled in the banks of major rivers, concentrated on agriculture and cattle farming.
Cattle became an integral part of their existence because they
- provide nutritious milk for children on a daily basis,
- provide manure which was turned into a fertilizer to support agriculture, and
- actively got involved in physical labor like land tilling, grinding rice etc.
The only major investment was fodder, which anyway came from agriculture. People never hurt cows because they treated it with respect, love and faith. In short, the ancient strategy for preservation worked for thousands of years! Protecting such an asset became vital to the society and its economic stability. It became a tradition, slowly crept into religion and holy books, and thus began the tale of cow worship.
Liberal Hindus: Some people realized why cows were important at one time, understood why it was worshiped, understood why it doesn’t make sense anymore in the modern society. They accepted on eating beef. Few of them chose not to eat it out of respect towards old traditions.
Conservative Hindus: They still believe that cows are sacred and worship them. They don’t eat beef. Some of them understand that it is a personal choice and are okay with others eating beef. While some of the extreme conservative Hindus can’t really stand the idea of others eating beef.
Legislation against cattle slaughter is in place throughout most states of India except Kerala, Goa, West Bengal, and states of Northeast India. In short, it mostly depends on where you live in India, if you do eat beef or not. At the end, roughly 25% of Hindus eat beef.