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Were cows slaughtered for sacrifices?

NO. 'Pashu' in sanskrit means animals in general. In ritual scriptures it means GOATS. NOT COWS. Wherever we see that so many pashus were sacrificed in rituals we need to understand that it was goats. No where in scriptures it is said to sacrifice cows.

So understand that  hindus did not kill cows!. eg. In 'Pashu bandha' ritual  goats should be sacrificed. Not cows.Similarly in Somayagas like Yajapeya etc.