Chakra Living

Milk And Cruelty

by Niscala dasi

Posted February 28, 2008

Vegans are our best allies in helping us be more pleasing to the Lord, who in His eternal pastimes, protects cows with as much love as one gives to family members. Not only the Lord engages in giving pleasure to mother cow, but all His dear associates do as well. How can we hope to one day be among them, when in this life we have engaged in giving pain to her, by supporting places where she is ruthlessly exploited?

The question of drinking milk is best answered not in an anaesthetic forum, but on a visit to the slaughterhouse where the by-products of milk production- the unwanted calves- are routinely slaughtered. I strongly encourage Mayesvara and others who view veganism as somewhat of a threat to the service of Govinda, to take this step. The only way to stop this slaughter of our innocent friends and mothers is to stop supporting it by drinking slaughterhouse milk, and to encourage others to do the same.

It has been argued that veganism may be dangerous for health, which is curious in this age, when the consumption of animal fats has been linked to many lethal diseases such as cancer and heart disease. All the nutrients found in meat and milk are there in plant foods- for where else does the animal get them from? -but without the risk of saturated animal fats. The propaganda by the dairy industry that lack of milk is a cause of osteoporosis is false, as in very poverty stricken areas of the globe where milk is rarely consumed, osteoporosis is virtually unheard of. The reason is these people labour hard to earn their living, whereas we earn it by sitting at a desk all day. Studies conducted on astronauts have found that the risk of weightlessness-induced osteoporosis is extremely high. Thus, it is stress on our bones through supporting our body weight that keeps them strong.

We know this to be true of our muscles- that stressing them regularly is the best method to keep them strong and fully functional. It is also true of our immune system, hence the value of immunization...The greatest risk to our skeletal system is lack of its use, and the greatest risk to our cardio-pulmonary system is the consumption of animal fats, for which our bodies are not designed. (Yet due to inorganic methods of farming, even our plant foods lack nutrients- especially trace elements, so a good supplement with trace elements may be necessary where access to organic fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains is not possible).

It has also been argued that Srila Prabhupada recommended milk drinking. First point is that Srila Prabhupada was attempting to convert people away from meat eating, at a time when most people believed that you could not survive without animal protein. They believed that plant protein was inferior- this has since been proven wrong.. Second point is that after setting up vegetarian temples and restaurants, he arranged for the purchase of numerous cow-friendly dairy farms so that milk and milk products could be taken without compromising cow protection. It is there in his conversations, that he specifically wanted these farms to produce milk not just for their own consumption, but to supply the temples and restaurants as well. We haven't done this. We have strayed so far away from his instructions, yet we have no qualms about using him to justify cruelty to mother cow. In respect to diet, the only difference between lacto-vegetarians and vegans is that the latter love cows to the point that they sacrifice their addictions.

What hypocrisy it is to call out "jaya Govinda" and yet support the killing of the innocent creatures which He loves most of all. Krishna loves cows so much that His planet is called Goloka Vrindavan. As we would not allow the destruction of a forest of sacred tulasi bushes (Vrinda), we should not allow the destruction of a herd of dairy cows (Go) through modern methods of exploitation for milk, followed by meat. At the very least we should not support it. We should not view vegans as a threat or even as outsiders, as they are pleasing Govinda in their own way, and may even be more pleasing to Him than we who call on His name without integrity of action.