Giving up on Commercial Milk saves cows?
by Syamasundara dasa
Posted March 15, 2003


A perspective on whether devotees not using milk from commercial farming would save cows.

There is often the suggestion that members of ISKCON should not be supporting the commercial dairy industry by purchasing its milk and products. The plight of the cows and calves in the dairy industry are mentioned and the proposal suggested is that we should refrain from implication in the abuse by not using the milk.

The dairy industry in order to produce milk has to:

From the above simple analysis we can note that all the cows involved with the dairy industry enter the human food chain at some point. Very early in the case of bull calves and later in the case of milking or low milking cows. In every case they are killed prematurely. A cow can live over 20 years if cared for naturally. The cows involved with the dairy industry all end with the same fate as those cows that are bred and reared solely for the beef industry. They will all be killed and eaten.

Here is my Question. Can it be shown that the drinking of milk is contributing to the number of animals being killed? We are trying to explore the depth of implication in the slaughter industry by the drinking of milk and the eating of milk products.

If we stopped drinking milk would that decrease the number of animals going to slaughter?

From the above we can see that all the cows are slaughtered and their bodies used in the beef industry. In other words there is a market in place to utilise their bodies. They are part of the beef industry already. If one takes the total herd of bovines’ dairy and beef they are supplying the demand for a certain amount of flesh required by the non-vegetarian population. Some thoughts are that if there was no demand for milk would that total herd number decrease. As all the flesh is already being eaten and satisfying the demands of the market then it would seam that a reduction in milk production wouldn’t decrease the number of animals killed.

To develop this point further it would seam that the only way we can reduce the number of animals being killed is for more of the population to become vegetarian and thus the demand for beef to drop.

The point of this argument is not to justify the drinking of milk even though cows are being slaughtered but it is to show that a position of demonstration by abstinence from milk is not actually beneficial in stopping the slaughter of cows.

We should restate our understood position from many ISKCON writers that we are benefiting the cows by offering the milk to Lord Krishna and that we must drive to establish cow protection where local milk from protected cows is available.

Comments on this line of discussion would be very welcome

Syamasundara Dasa
Goshalla Manager
Bhaktivedanta Manor, UK

syamasundara@pamho.net