The Holy Cow Vs Vegans

The 2006 IPCC report of The United nations Climate change Panel confirmed that Livestock causes 18 % of the global greenhouse gas emissions, full 5 % more than all of the world’s automobile and airline industries combined. Ever since then, many Vegan organizations have cited this report to justify condemning the dairy industry and advocating Milk avoidance. So much so that many Vegans have attempted to lump together meat and milk consumption as if both are equally bad to the environment and are equally unethical and unnecessary. By advocating a Plant-based diet, they want everyone to stop consuming milk and milk products also since Milk is an animal product.

It is true that the dairy industry in the west and many parts of the world feeds the meat industry and a lot of dairy farms are using milk enhancing techniques that are unethical. The way milk is produced in these farms needs to be improved, milk production must be done humanely. However, Vegans should not mix together milk as a product and the dairy industry.

The milk and dairy industries are two different subject matters. Anyone coming from a rural or agricultural background, especially from India knows too well that in many countries Milk is a product from the individual Milkman and not necessarily the dairy industry. A cow is revered as a mother and just like mother’s milk is good for us so is the milk from Mother Cow. Just like an old mother is not sent to slaughterhouses so is the case with older cows, they are sent to Cow houses( Go- shalas) and not for slaughter. Male cows are used extensively to plough the farms without using fossil fuels. Cow dung is used extensively as manure and cooking fuel and cow urine is used for Ayurvedic medicines. Cow dung is possible to be used as an alternative source of energy, with very little investment; it can be used to generate Electricity in Villages. In short, not only the cow converts useless materials into a delicious food product ie. Milk, in many ways and being a vegetarian animal with simple nature, the cow can be truly called the best friend of humans supporting 2/3rd of the world’s rural economy.

What is needed is to support or re-start the good practices possible to be implemented by the dairy industry and de-linking it from the meat industry in a way that can support the village economy. Milk as a product is distinctly different than Meat, humanely, it requires better care of the animal, not its slaughter.

One living cow can feed or support feeding 410,440 people for one time’s diet but the meat from it can feed only 80 people. See calculations in the article below. If we consider keeping cows only for Milk consumption, the world will need only 10 % of the current cow population estimated at 2.5Billion. We will not need most the factory-farmed animals that are raised just for slaughter. Such livestock industry will cause only 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, not 18% or more. The benefits to the rural economy and energy savings will be several times more and in a non-violent manner. Our Vegan friends must not, therefore, mix Milk with Meat. We must avoid meat to fight against climate change, not necessarily Milk.

Some Vegan friends also argue that since no other species drinks the milk of another species, we should not drink milk. Respectfully, we need to ask them- are humans supposed to do everything exactly the way animals do? Animals do not go to schools or build universities or Hospitals and do not wear clothes. As humans, should we remain naked or close to all Universities? Are we supposed to follow animals all the time or as more intelligent creatures, can we balance our needs with the obligation to take care of animals in a non-violent manner so that both can benefit and survive? Humanely produced Milk is an excellent example of such a balance. Such humane Milk production is agreeably more difficult but it’s not impossible. Just like ending world hunger and poverty are very difficult, as a civilization, we have not given up on such lofty objectives so why give up on humane Milk production?

Another set of Vegan argues that since most of the world’s population is Lactose intolerant, we should avoid Milk. This is the same as saying that since most people suffer from digestion-related issues, they should not eat anything. This argument against Milk makes no sense. The good news is that lactose intolerance is fully curable and Ayurvedic medicine that will cost less than $1.00 per month can cure this disease without any side effects. Of course, no one is forcing one to consume Milk, do not drink milk if it does not suit you.

One of the biggest problems with Vegan’s insistence to avoid milk is that when you ask people not to even consume Milk, you are essentially telling them that being Vegetarian is not a practical solution. Milk being an inexpensive farm-based product so heavily used by almost 99% of the world’s population, it’s hard to believe that people will stop drinking Milk. Milk production supports the village economy in a non-violent manner so no government will ever support a Vegan diet, on the other hand, Vegans will make the whole Vegetarian movement weaker.

Lastly, Milk was part of the Vegetarian diet of all ancient Indian Yogis and saints. From Mahatma Gandhi to Dayanand and almost all of the famous Vedic saints and the Vedas which are the source of a Vegetarian lifestyle said very highly about milk and its virtues and stressed Cow protection as a means to help humanity. The question is who should we believe? – the newly fashionable and very few Vegans or the combined knowledge of Vedic and other ancient Spirituality?

We request our readers to please read the two articles below. One is produced from the book of Dayanand, the most prominent Vedic scholar of modern times who died in 1883 but strongly advocated for the Vegetarian diet and the economic importance of Cow protection. Another is ISKON’s view on Cow and their importance


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