Milk Consumption And Karmic Offsetting
Posted February 29, 2008
IMHO, a sincere vegan is morally superior to a devotee who gluts on milk, justifying it with all sorts of thin rationalizations, yet does not contribute directly through work or indirectly through donations to cow protection.
By "gluts", I mean more than one glass of milk a day, and that includes all forms of milk including yogurt, ghee, cheese, ice cream, or whatever. For example, a 3/4 ounce slice of Kraft American cheese or equivalent is the same as 3/4 cup of milk. Two standardized slices or one thicker slice of cheese is over quota.
The maximum benefit of material brain power needed for development is achieved by that one glass of milk that Srila Prabhupada recommends. More than that, and milk can start to have negative health benefits, and there are lots of studies that can confirm this. The vegans are correct on that point.
I was stimulated to write this by Mayesvara dasa's article wherein he asked for proof that milk is beneficial to the brain and the topic of vegans came up. His question was answered in the comments, but it brought up other questions in my mind.
One question is, is the milk from commercial cows even to be considered on a par with milk from the cows SP was familiar with, or have modern practices reduced milk to a shadow of the value it once had?
Is it the material benefits of the milk itself on the brain that is necessary for spiritual development? Or is it the compassion one used to have to have in order to raise cows for milk instead of meat that helped develop the finer tissues of the brain?
The problem is that nowadays, as opposed to the culture SP was raised in, it is possible to have the milk without a relationship with, or even any compassion at all for, the cow that produces it.
Health benefits aside, I think for preaching purposes to vegans, it behooves us to show that we are at least attempting to manifest SP's vision of having milk from protected cows.
Macro economic factors make it virtually impossible to break even financially protecting cows in a slaughterhouse based agricultural system, therefore cow protection programs need to be, for the time being, supported by donations.
This is an opportunity for devotees who lack the facility to care for cows hands on to support cow protection vicariously. Using the same principle as is applied to the concept of carbon offsets, devotees can justify to vegans their drinking of commercial milk
By supporting a cow protection program, the net karmic footprint of commercial milk is reduced to zero.
There are many cow protection programs to support. I personally support GEETA, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation located near New Vrindaban that protects New Vrindaban's cows. I know many devotees have a lot of baggage they are compelled to open up when ever they hear the words New Vrindaban, but the cows are innocents and shouldn't be expected to bear that burden. GEETA is operated separately from institutional New Vrindaban.
If you want to help me protect cows, you can make a donation now, and on a regular basis if you partake of milk products regularly, by checking out this site.
If you are really fired up, you can start your own fundraising site for cow protection. If you want to support GEETA, click here to make a really easy site that you could promote to your friends, family and associates.
Firstgiving.com can also be used as a tool to collect for other cow protection programs that are registered in the US and the UK.
Then we can show vegans that we are actually doing something positive for cow protection and not simply enjoying the sense gratification of milk consumption.