Research websites said that cows are the only animals that exhale oxygen, said Rajasthan Education Minister Vasudev Devnani on Tuesday, soon after he first made the statement about the animal. “I read this fact on research websites, and it recently appeared in a magazine. It said cows inhale and exhale oxygen, and I included this in my speech on Saturday,” he said, after being ridiculed for his initial remarks, PTI reported.

Devnani stood by his claim, saying he would be proven right if people referred to “research studies”. “Scientific journals and research papers are the basis of my statements,” he said, adding that “people need to understand its [the cow’s] scientific values”.

The minister went on to list a number of benefits people could reap from cows, including the medicinal values of cow urine and cow dung, the burning of which Devnani said rid people’s surroundings of harmful microorganisms and mosquitoes.