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being vegan in India

I'm watching "Andrew Zimmer in Delhi" and they're showing how .. much of the milk in India is dervied from local farmers that have maybe 1 cow, and they milk the cow and then sell the milk to various locals.  Traditionally in India, the cow is revered and considered sacred.

So, i have to wonder out loud (not necessarily thinking there's any one "right" answer - just thinking this is an interesting situation to post for others)... if i was ever to travel to India (by the blessing of Kali) and was offered any type of "dairy" based dish - while at the same time knowing the dairy was purchased from a local farmer - would i still be inclined to refuse based on my perceptions/attempts at following a vegan lifestyle.

There's a separate issue worth mentioning,which I'd like to mention and then put aside, if at least for the sake of conversation only. If I was in a different country and culture - it could perhaps be seen as very offensive if i was not to accept whatever was offered.  That is something that would need to be taken into consideration in it's own right but ...i'm going to put that aside for the sake of this thread, because i want to focus more on the content of the dairy source and how it would relate to consuming dairy that was derived in a manner that is compassionate of the animal - and less of the social customs.

OK, I'm glad you all don't think my response was unreasonable.  

I think where people get mad 95% of the time on here is when they mistakenly equate "vegan" with "ethical."  Some of us think, for the majority of the time, being vegan leads you to make the more ethical decision.  That's why we're vegan!  Some people might think different decisions are more ethical, and they would not be vegan, but they would be following their own code of ethics.  Doesn't make them a bad person, necessarily, it just means they don't agree with basic vegan philosophies, which would include "humans aren't entitled to cow's milk."   Even though it's minute relative to the big picture, it pisses me off to think of a self-proclaimed vegan being OK with taking a cow's milk.  

Again, I really don't think "is drinking milk vegan" is up for debate, and I say that with regards to context.  It isn't up for debate!  Raise this question with any group of vegans, and I guarantee you will get the same response.  Vegans aren't interested in drinking milk!  If you want to change the way vegans around the world practice veganism, you've got a whole lot of campaigning to do.  It would be like debating if Catholics believe in multiple deities.  You can call yourself Catholic if you believe in multiple gods, if you really really want to, but you won't be Catholic, by the accepted understanding of the term within and outside the Catholic community.  Find another religion that suits you, that's all.  

Also, you don't need to get the permission of vegans to drink milk.  Do what you think is ethical, and call it what it is.  

Another thing that frustrates me is the abstract, nihilistic mindset of the debate.  Let's be pragmatic and think in concrete terms, with an eye for what actions we can do to minimize suffering and exploitation.  That's what counts.  I guess I don't understand the usefulness of flying in the face of the term "vegan" just for the sake of......flying in the face of the term "vegan."  It accomplishes nothing.

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OK, I'm glad you all don't think my response was unreasonable.  

I think where people get mad 95% of the time on here is when they mistakenly equate "vegan" with "ethical."  Some of us think, for the majority of the time, being vegan leads you to make the more ethical decision.  That's why we're vegan!  Some people might think different decisions are more ethical, and they would not be vegan, but they would be following their own code of ethics.  Doesn't make them a bad person, necessarily, it just means they don't agree with basic vegan philosophies, which would include "humans aren't entitled to cow's milk."   Even though it's minute relative to the big picture, it pisses me off to think of a self-proclaimed vegan being OK with taking a cow's milk.  

Again, I really don't think "is drinking milk vegan" is up for debate, and I say that with regards to context.  It isn't up for debate!  Raise this question with any group of vegans, and I guarantee you will get the same response.  Vegans aren't interested in drinking milk!  If you want to change the way vegans around the world practice veganism, you've got a whole lot of campaigning to do.  It would be like debating if Catholics believe in multiple deities.  You can call yourself Catholic if you believe in multiple gods, if you really really want to, but you won't be Catholic, by the accepted understanding of the term within and outside the Catholic community.  Find another religion that suits you, that's all.  

Also, you don't need to get the permission of vegans to drink milk.  Do what you think is ethical, and call it what it is.  

Another thing that frustrates me is the abstract, nihilistic mindset of the debate.  Let's be pragmatic and think in concrete terms, with an eye for what actions we can do to minimize suffering and exploitation.  That's what counts.  I guess I don't understand the usefulness of flying in the face of the term "vegan" just for the sake of......flying in the face of the term "vegan."  It accomplishes nothing.

well if you're vegan it denotes that you're doing it through ethical reasoning.

But I think what you're trying to say is that people should follow their own ethics and morals and all of that shit is subjective.
Why I'm vegan and why you're vegan will be different if even ever so slightly.

You also say people should act in what they take to be an ethical way. However if I thought it was ethical to put everyone who ate meat to death, would you still think I should act in that way?

Furthermore one of the most embarrassing questions for moral philosophy is, "why should I be moral?"
Admittedly you've linked that all in context with milk but where does the argument begin or end, surely not with the context of drinking milk?
And I'm not sure I have the answers to these questions before you ask me for them, although later on I might give a go at answering them. Trying to say why we should be moral without bringing terms like good and bad into it will most likely be difficult though.

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No, that wasn't really what I was trying to say.  I was saying, if your personal ethical code aligns with veganism, then you should call yourself vegan!  If it doesn't, then you should call yourself something else.  For clarity of communication.  

I don't know about the morals/ethics/good/bad discussion but I don't think it's necessary to understand what I'm saying above.  

Personally, I would like it if we could keep the discussion in this thread to the question at hand, and save "What does it mean to be moral/ethical/good/bad" discussion for a different thread.  It's kind of off topic and will only cloud our thinking.  (That's what I was referring to in my last paragraph of the previous post.)

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No, that wasn't really what I was trying to say.  I was saying, if your personal ethical code aligns with veganism, then you should call yourself vegan!  If it doesn't, then you should call yourself something else.  For clarity of communication.  

I don't know about the morals/ethics/good/bad discussion but I don't think it's necessary to understand what I'm saying above.  

Personally, I would like it if we could keep the discussion in this thread to the question at hand, and save "What does it mean to be moral/ethical/good/bad" discussion for a different thread.  It's kind of off topic and will only cloud our thinking.  (That's what I was referring to in my last paragraph of the previous post.)

I have to disagree, because the issue isn't clear once you get past the surface. One the one hand there's the definition, and that's fine, but then it's lead us to our reasoning behind why we follow that definition, and that will almost always, if not always, take us into cloudy grounds. It all does end up being subjective, but for the sake of this thread, for now at least, I'll leave it at that.

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Well, I think we all know that "good" and "bad" are subjective.....as are "short," "tall," "healthy," "beautiful," and every other relative adjective we know.  Doesn't mean we have to discuss subjectivism every time we use them.

I just mean, do what you think is right.  It might align with an existing social movement, and it might not.  Oh well.  That doesn't mean that you have to try to change the foundations of that entire philosophy to fit your personal idea of "right" and "wrong."

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sirdiddy, just because someone doesn't agree with you doesn't mean they need to grow up, that was rude. 
We can debate this till the cows come home(pun intended), but drinking milk is not vegan, we all know that.  If you want to do it for whatever reason, to please the village people, or whatever reason of course it is up to you.  I don't agree with you on this, do I need to grow up too?  Hope not......

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haha, that was kind of a pun too,  I wondered if anyone would say something about that!!!!  lo

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Well, I think we all know that "good" and "bad" are subjective.....as are "short," "tall," "healthy," "beautiful," and every other relative adjective we know.  Doesn't mean we have to discuss subjectivism every time we use them.

I just mean, do what you think is right.  It might align with an existing social movement, and it might not.  Oh well.  That doesn't mean that you have to try to change the foundations of that entire philosophy to fit your personal idea of "right" and "wrong."

you'd be surprised at the amount of people that don't most places I go. That said I'm pretty new here, and perhaps this forum will be the exception, one can only hope.

But what I was more referring to was that we'd have to go into that subjective piece of reasoning in a debate to show how we came to the conclusion that drinking milk from a cow is wrong. And whether that changes with context or not. E.G. survival, how the cow's treated, so on so forth.

And perhaps not change that philosophy but make your own version of it, to fit an idea of right or wrong.

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Is the question:  is driinking the milk wrong? or is the question: is it vegan? 
It is not vegan, but if you want to drink the cows milk for ethical or whatever reasons, go for it.  But don't ask for approval from a vegan website.

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But don't ask for approval from a vegan website.

Well, you can ask, but don't be taken aback with answers such as, "Cow's milk is not ours to take," or "I am vegan, and don't drink cow's milk."

I can choose to respond to your inquiry in whatever tone I desire. I can state my opinion however I wish. At least I don't stoop to calling you names, or attacking your personality because I don't like your question.

Issues. It's only the issues we are debating, not other people's debating styles. Keep that private. Send me a message, or something. Invite me to a dual, whatever. Don't do it here.

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But what I was more referring to was that we'd have to go into that subjective piece of reasoning in a debate to show how we came to the conclusion that drinking milk from a cow is wrong. And whether that changes with context or not. E.G. survival, how the cow's treated, so on so forth.

What led people to veganism (health, environment, animal welfare, food allergy, etc.) isn't important for debates, because there are a myriad of reasons and everyone's blend is a little different.  Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 different variations.  The useful starting point for general discussions about veganism is the common point of understanding - veganism itself.

A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

If someone is vegan, that person lives the above definition of veganism.  If the person lives something else, then (s)he might be a strict vegetarian or vegetarian or omni offshoot.  To ask a question in a vegan context assumes the tenants of veganism.

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Yeah, I like that summary, hh.  A person who purposefully takes in cow's milk is not vegan by any stretch.

Again, I really think you are missing my point, sunbeam.  I know what you're talking about, and I don't think the type of discussion you are suggesting is fruitful or relevant.  I was saying, do what you think is right, by whatever your own concept of "right" is.  I wasn't saying anything about whether drinking cow's milk is an absolute moral right.  Moral absolutism/relativism is a lofty topic, and I think most of us are pretty intelligent and appreciate that "right" is relative.  We don't need to beat it to death.

If your actions align with the basic idea of veganism (like hh posted above), then you're vegan.  If they don't, you are something else.  It doesn't go the other way around, where you decide "I'm vegan!" and then you pick and choose what you want to do--like, being OK with milk but not with meat.  That doesn't even make sense.  Veganism is about going the whole way--that's a defining characteristic!

And if someone starts talking about how you can never go the whole way because sometimes you kill flies with your bicycle tires, and your laptop has animal products in it, so you might as well drink milk, I'm gonna flip shit.  

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And if someone starts talking about how you can never go the whole way because sometimes you kill flies with your bicycle tires, and your laptop has animal products in it, so you might as well drink milk, I'm gonna flip shit. 

:lol:

But..but...

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Also, it bears mentioning that Donald Watson, who coined the term and founded the movement, first formed his convictions from sights he saw on family farms, not factory farms.  He specifically objected to the "taking" as Allison referenced.  

"I was surrounded by interesting animals. They all "gave" something: the farm horse pulled the plough, the lighter horse pulled the trap, the cows "gave" milk, the hens "gave" eggs and the cockerel was a useful "alarm clock" - I didn't realise at that time that he had another function too. The sheep "gave" wool. I could never understand what the pigs "gave", but they seemed such friendly creatures - always glad to see me."

As it was originally conceived, veganism objected to the consumption itself--regardless of the production methods.  So the idea is not that outrageous--it's pretty much a cornerstone of vegan ideals.

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But what I was more referring to was that we'd have to go into that subjective piece of reasoning in a debate to show how we came to the conclusion that drinking milk from a cow is wrong. And whether that changes with context or not. E.G. survival, how the cow's treated, so on so forth.

What led people to veganism (health, environment, animal welfare, food allergy, etc.) isn't important for debates, because there are a myriad of reasons and everyone's blend is a little different.  Ask 100 people and you'll get 100 different variations.  The useful starting point for general discussions about veganism is the common point of understanding - veganism itself.

A vegan is someone who tries to live without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Vegans eat a plant-based diet, with nothing coming from animals - no meat, milk, eggs or honey, for example. A vegan lifestyle also avoids leather, wool, silk and other animal products for clothing or any other purpose.

If someone is vegan, that person lives the above definition of veganism.  If the person lives something else, then (s)he might be a strict vegetarian or vegetarian or omni offshoot.  To ask a question in a vegan context assumes the tenants of veganism.

apart from all the fertilisers etc.

And if you like someone's reasoning and see it as correct then it is relevant, as they can then adopt that into their life style, if they so wish.

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Yeah, I like that summary, hh.  A person who purposefully takes in cow's milk is not vegan by any stretch.

Again, I really think you are missing my point, sunbeam.  I know what you're talking about, and I don't think the type of discussion you are suggesting is fruitful or relevant.  I was saying, do what you think is right, by whatever your own concept of "right" is.  I wasn't saying anything about whether drinking cow's milk is an absolute moral right.  Moral absolutism/relativism is a lofty topic, and I think most of us are pretty intelligent and appreciate that "right" is relative.  We don't need to beat it to death.

If your actions align with the basic idea of veganism (like hh posted above), then you're vegan.  If they don't, you are something else.  It doesn't go the other way around, where you decide "I'm vegan!" and then you pick and choose what you want to do--like, being OK with milk but not with meat.  That doesn't even make sense.  Veganism is about going the whole way--that's a defining characteristic!

And if someone starts talking about how you can never go the whole way because sometimes you kill flies with your bicycle tires, and your laptop has animal products in it, so you might as well drink milk, I'm gonna flip shit.  

Yes I agree with that about veganism and not drinking milk. But I was mentioning that how we came to such conclusions is clearly relevant as it will state why we should be vegan. Why we shouldn't drink milk. And I'm sure we'll hear the other way around that it's not bad to drink milk so on so forth (in these discussions), but in this we can put up our reasoning as to why we are vegan, and it goes down to so many levels.

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Your perspective, sunbeam, seems to be that a person cannot truly be vegan.  If that's the case, then you're not starting from the base understanding of veganism - which is about doing the best you can.  You have total control over directly tangible things, like consuming animal products.  You have less control over remote things.  Sometimes we need to have discussions that range beyond, "Can you be vegan if you use canned tomato sauce, since it has a small percentage of insects in it?"  Someone can start a topic if they like, but not all discussons need to start from there.

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Your perspective, sunbeam, seems to be that a person cannot truly be vegan.  If that's the case, then you're not starting from the base understanding of veganism - which is about doing the best you can.  You have total control over directly tangible things, like consuming animal products.  You have less control over remote things.  Sometimes we need to have discussions that range beyond, "Can you be vegan if you use canned tomato sauce, since it has a small percentage of insects in it?"  Someone can start a topic if they like, but not all discussons need to start from there.

As stated already my definition has been so far the an attempt to minimise animal exploitation.
That's not really linked to tomato sauce, but instead to say what fertilisers have been used to grow the ingredients of the said sauce (presuming it's meat dairy egg and honey free).

Obviously there are things, like that, that we can't really avoid in our day to day lives.

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yes, asleep on a sunbeam......that is why the definition says TRIES to live without exploiting animals for the benefit of animals, people and the planet.  Unfortunately, we can't control everything. 

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