@Feryll - As long as the people in power in India and other countries where the Hindu religion is the top religion make laws that punish people for harming the cows then the practices that go along with the sacred cow will continue. As I understand it, people are fined and sometimes sent to jail for harming cows.
To be honest, I don't see why the expression scared cow as it is used in secular conversation is considered disrespectful to the religion. If anything, when I use the term sacred cow to mean something that cannot be touched or challenged I am acknowledging the Hindu beliefs, and I am definitely not saying there is anything wrong with their beliefs. In general, most people are too sensitive.