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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.

Small unavoidable animal products have nothing to do with the topic at hand, which is drinking milk from a cow.  Again, if you want to discuss fertilizers, make a new thread?  It's not really relevant to the question about drinking milk in India.  If you're trying to avoid animal products, drinking milk is a pretty blatant breach of that.

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...I'm gonna flip shit. 

This is me flipping shit:
http://www.saturdayniteconnections.com/Images/AngryGirl%20(MorgueFile.com,PIC1085122995152).jpg

sunbeam, I think many of us are frustrated with that because we've had the debate you seem to be yearning for about 1321 times.  Rummage through the old debate threads and you will find that many iterations of the same debate.  Arguing minutia becomes really tiring and rarely has any practical use.

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Small unavoidable animal products have nothing to do with the topic at hand, which is drinking milk from a cow.  Again, if you want to discuss fertilizers, make a new thread?  It's not really relevant to the question about drinking milk in India.  If you're trying to avoid animal products, drinking milk is a pretty blatant breach of that.

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...I'm gonna flip shit. 

This is me flipping shit:
http://www.saturdayniteconnections.com/Images/AngryGirl%20(MorgueFile.com,PIC1085122995152).jpg

sunbeam, I think many of us are frustrated with that because we've had the debate you seem to be yearning for about 1321 times.  Rummage through the old debate threads and you will find that many iterations of the same debate.  Arguing minutia becomes really tiring and rarely has any practical use.

I wasn't mentioning the killing of flies, I was mentioning something that isn't accidental, thank you.

And I've already been through why I think it's something that needs to be discussed, otherwise it wouldn't be in the discussion.
The reasoning behind why vegans don't drink milk. It's been cleared up whether or not drinking milk is vegan, however we were asked things such as if it's about taking what's not given then we should be fruitarians so on so forth. Just because something has been discussed before doesn't mean it can't be discussed again, and if you really feel that way about it and moan about the content of the posts I make instead of putting up some half decent rational thinking of why I'm wrong, or, just don't reply to that which you don't care for, then you wouldn't be having a problem.
I don't think I've made any false or invalid arguments, and if you think I have then all I ask is that you challenge them by refuting them instead of whining.

And in the wise words of Dylan Moran when playing Bernard Black, you "have the cold dead eyes, of a killer".

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And in the wise words of Dylan Moran when playing Bernard Black, you "have the cold dead eyes, of a killer".

Psssst......the pic isn't really me.........

I'm done with this thread.  Have fun debating about fertilizer!

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Sunbeam, you want to discuss whether to have a discussion about the philosophical and theoretical importance of veganism - without saying a concrete thing about the philosophical and theoretical importance of veganism.  If you're adamant/persistent about a whole discourse on whether there should be a discourse, it would make sense for you to start a new topic about it.

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Sunbeam, you want to discuss whether to have a discussion about the philosophical and theoretical importance of veganism - without saying a concrete thing about the philosophical and theoretical importance of veganism.  If you're adamant/persistent about a whole discourse on whether there should be a discourse, it would make sense for you to start a new topic about it.

whilst there is room for another thread for it, my point is that subjects like these should end up going into those realms.

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whilst there is room for another thread for it, my point is that subjects like these should end up going into those realms.

I get that, but it's a whole topic in and of itself.

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As for the question of whether drinking/purchasing milk from a 1-cow farm is ethical... Not sure. Some things to consider:
- if the cow can be milked without undernourishing her calf
- if lactation can be extended past the weaning point of the calf
- if increasing a cow's milk production (past the point that her calf needs) is harming her health
- the fact that, ultimately, the cow will have to be repeatedly pregnant to yield enough milk, and what happens to her calves
- the economic situation that allows for a person to sustain themselves off of one cow's lactation (I'm not sure here, if the cow is a pet and the owners sell the milk on the side, or if that's really all they have going for them)

For the first one, I believe it depends on the breed of the cow (though generally, with enough stimulation, I think any lactating animal can do this... but to what extent? is it really enough surplus milk to sell?). U.S. breeds have been bred for enormous milk production. But these cows (are they the sacred cows or some other type?) may not have that ability, or it may be quite limited. I remember hearing that sheep (differently animal, but still) will only make 25% more milk if they have twins. I'm guessing cows not bred specifically for dairy production might be in the same boat, as they are also ruminants who typically only have one calf per pregnancy. So would the calf be taken away before weaning (sold?)?
The second point (if lactation can be extended), I'm pretty sure this is true, but the amount of milk produced naturally declines with time.
The third point (harming the mother's health) I know to be true among many U.S. dairy cows - so called "milk fever" and "downer cows." Cows suddenly produce so much milk after giving birth that their body cannot handle the loss of calcium, and they become partially paralyzed, and possibly go into a coma. This is treated with IV calcium supplementation, but would this be an option in India (it sounds like these little villages are rural)? How much extra milking of this type of cow does it take for these effects?
Fourth point: continual pregnancy. What happens to these calves? Is this farmer increasing his herd? What about the male calves? Something must happen if this one-cow operation is common in India. Otherwise you'd have a huge and growing cow overpopulation problem (apparently there is some trouble with this in certain areas). Is causing overpopulation responsible? Or, if the calves are taken to Muslim provinces and used for meat, what's the ethics in supporting this (it's like milk & veal)?
Fifth: I can't imagine that milk fetches too high of a price. Is this farmer adequately able to support himself and his cow (& possible family) with the sales of one cow's milk? What quality of life must he have? If it's just a side business, then what's the ethics of profiting off an animal (someone else's work)? I think that issue is similar to parents profiting off their kid's acting/whatever. Yes, they do take care of the kid, so maybe they earned something there, but shouldn't the profit go to the performer (lactat-er?)?
But, if we were to ignore these issues and go "let's pretend that those are all fine and dandy. *Now* is it ethical?" it no longer becomes an practical ethical analysis, but a theoretical question like when omni people ask you "if you were stranded in a desert with absolutely no food, but there was a steak/cow, would you eat it?" The unlikelihood of either situation just makes it a meaningless thought experiment. Is it inherently unethical to drink the bodily fluids of some other animal, assuming absolutely no harm was done or would ever result? Hell, I don't know. If it was done for survival, sure. But purely for taste? The whole idea's weird to me.

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Invite me to a dual, whatever. Don't do it here.

Yeah! Fencing! This should happen, it would be awesome. (Non-lethal) dueling should stage a comeback.

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Invite me to a dual, whatever. Don't do it here.

Yeah! Fencing! This should happen, it would be awesome. (Non-lethal) dueling should stage a comeback.

Ooooh, good call. P knows how to fence well, and I have the basics. Are you challenging?

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I thought of something about breastmilk.  It's just plain uncomfortable to be carrying around all of that extra milk weight and have tender breasts and nipples.  Or so I've heard, being that I haven't lactated.

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Invite me to a dual, whatever. Don't do it here.

Yeah! Fencing! This should happen, it would be awesome. (Non-lethal) dueling should stage a comeback.

Ooooh, good call. P knows how to fence well, and I have the basics. Are you challenging?

No, I don't have any quarrel with you, and I don't think you live in Southern California =(
I had the basics like 8 years ago though! Kind of.
Maybe there should be a vegan vs. vegetarian or carnivore fencing match though.
I just like the idea of duels, where the loser can't complain anymore.

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I thought of something about breastmilk.  It's just plain uncomfortable to be carrying around all of that extra milk weight and have tender breasts and nipples.  Or so I've heard, being that I haven't lactated.

As a currently lactating woman, I can verify that this is the truth.....generally not a problem if you feed your baby on demand. But I had oversupply issues at first (I produced 150 fl oz over a 3 day period-- yikes!) and I was always uncomfortable and always leaking.

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Drinking dairy is clearly not vegan. It is an animal product. I think some people are asking can it be done ethically?  This probably varies for each person. For my conscience, this is the only way it would be ethical (but still not vegan, and IMO, not healthy):

Cow gets pregnant naturally without human interference. Calf dies a natural death for whatever reason. Cow is uncomfortable. Human milks the cow – but only enough to relieve pressure/pain. Human drinks milk. Eventually by only milking for relief (not to maintain a milk supply), the supply of milk will dwindle and the cow will stop producing so this will not go on indefinitely (this was essentially the method my lactation consultant had me use to dwindle my oversupply of milk – pump to relieve pain and no more – this reduced my milk supply to only what was necessary to feed my baby).

Any other way you have ethical issues that arise IMO. Maybe the way I've described has ethical problems for other individuals, but this would be ethical for my own personal standards.

Now, echoing what FB says....this is very impractical and unlikely to happen so it is a moot point.

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Drinking dairy is clearly not vegan. It is an animal product. I think some people are asking can it be done ethically?  This probably varies for each person. For my conscience, this is the only way it would be ethical (but still not vegan, and IMO, not healthy):

I really like your and fb's analysis.  As long as cows are domesticated (which is the only way they exist as we know them), the fictitious "humane" milking situation will never happen.  And even if it did, drinking milk would still not be vegan, because vegan is a descriptor for things that don't come from animals. 

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I've travelled in India and I don't recall seeing anyone drinking a glass of milk.

Most of the milk is used to make yogurt or cheese, called paneer, which can be avoided or you can ask it to not be added to dishes.

More problematic would be avoiding ghee, which is essentially clarified butter and used in a wide variety of dishes.  But I imagine this could also be avoided with a polite request.

India is an unbelievable and incredible country and if you have the chance you should definitely go there.

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Jeez, are we five years old?

Mmmm? Ok? Thanks?

This happens time and time again, where you ask people what they think of something, and unless they validate it, you think they're being a bully.  And I'm using "you" generically here.

Communication is ~~always~~ the responsibility of the communicator – period, end of story. If you make presumptions of what the reader “should infer” by your message, it’s probably not wise to be too surprised when they don’t infer as you had intended.

The challenging part of your statement above is that I (although you may have used “you” in a generic sense, you used it in reply to a thread that I initiated) never asked for validation.  I would even challenge you to find any part of my postings that was a request for validation (we’re talking about my literal writing  not your personal interpretation).  There’s a big difference between putting a discussion on the forum because of wanting to have a theoretical discuss and between asking for validation.  If you’re going to make such statements – stand behind them accurately.

It’s your prerogative to choose whatever label you prefer (“bully”, etc) – but in any conversation – online or otherwise – it’s the tone that speak volumes.  I don’t have discussions for the purpose of changing one’s opinion (nor, for the sake of validating my own) – so if I’m discussing something, it’s for the purpose of the free flow exchange of ideas and concepts and perhaps – viewpoints that I had not previously considered myself. 
If I’m communicating with someone who seems intent to not share opinions – but rather belittle the opinions of others and not desire to share in an open communicative way – that pretty much shuts down the conversation. 

Now granted, everyone’s style of communication is different.  So for myself – I have no desire to engage in communication as if I’m preparing for mortal combat, however for some people – that is what floats their boat.  For some people, no conversation worth having doesn’t include heated tempers, presumptions, and a bit of manipulation of the conversation.  There are are types of people, with all types of preferences in regards to communication and the subject matter of the communication – so alas, I can only speak for myself here – but I’d be remiss if I didn’t notice other people starting what they hoped would be conversations, only to find the topic quickly in debate – and it’s not “the differing opinions” that necessarily make the debate, but rather the tones of the conversation.

On a vegan forum, I know we all have the same background knowledge and familiarity with what "vegan" means, so I take a different tone.

Well – you admit to taking a different tone – so that’s good at least.  You may profess to “know” what it means to be vegan while at the same time – seem to show no ability to differentiate between your “knowledge” of the technical meaning of the word vegan and versus what other people may define as “living by vegan principles”.  It’s your life and your choice how you wish to communicate – I just offer that with a more open and balanced approach – you’ll stand a greater potential of reaching more people. 

It is a huge, huge slap in the face to thousands and thousands of people's personal philosophies when you drink "happy milk" and call yourself vegan.  I think drinking any milk is atrocious, like many, many other vegans.  (I don't feel the need to go into why--I assumed we are all familiar with this.)  It is offensive to me and what I believe when you refer to drinking milk as vegan. 

No, it’s a huge huge slap in the face to “you”.  And I respect that there may be other people that could share the same opinion as “you”.  I don’t respect your stance to speak for “thousands and thousands” – that’s more then a bit of a stretch. 

Another difficulty we have is in reading comprehension.  As earlier, where you mentioned about people wanting validation – when personally, I never put any statements out there requesting validation – you’re now commenting about “me calling myself vegan”.  It’s odd you would say that because in fact, I ~don’t~ call myself vegan, I don’t feel the need to.  This doesn’t mean I consume dairy, not does it mean I do not consume dairy – what it means is that it’s a word, and people get so caught up in identifying themselves with a word – it’s mind numbing to me, but … that’s just my opinion, nothing less, nothing more, nor do I profess to speak for “thousands and thousands” either, just little ole me. 

I think it’s ridiculous say, never drink milk – and then get bent out of shape when someone else does something that “I don’t consider vegan” – calls themselves vegan, while at the same time there are any number of ways we live our lives that are so NOT vegan.  I also think it’s a crutch to say the following (from the “Freeganism, and other such things thread - http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=29384.0):

To everyone that swears they're a diehard vegan - please - i don't think such a thing hardly exists. Do you avoid any/all sports that use animal products, do you avoid airplanes that have leather seats, the list can go and and on...and on.

is so tired and absurd. We live in a freaking NON VEGAN FRIENDLY society. This doesn't mean it's a free for all, be vegan, but do whatever you want. My car might have animal products, oh well, I guess I'll eat some dead raccoon. I mean, give me a break!

The point being, is not to use one reasoning for another – i.e. I’m not making a justification for saying “my car has animal products – let me eat animal products” (nor would I necessarily judge someone for making such a statement, because it’s a personal choice) – but, my point is that if you’re going to make wide sweeping sentiments of what is means to be (let’s insert “vegan” here) – then don’t simply pick and choose which principles are convenient to follow – and dismiss the principles you don’t follow as “the fault/blame of living in a non-vegan society” – that to me is, to borrow your words….tired and absurd! 

Being “vegan” may translate to you as “not eating animal/not wearing animal” etc, but it’s a myth, because just by being alive – we cause harm to other beings, and in so many varied ways.  So for that purpose, I never saw the sense in calling myself “vegan” because it’s just … a word… and defines … so little.  Instead i say that I try to live my life by what I perceive as vegan principles. 

So, let’s put this out there again, I never called myself vegan, nor vegetarian, nor anything – I don’t feel the need to, if you feel the need/desire to label yourself – that’s your prerogative, I respect that, and would be happy to discuss our different opinions of what it may mean to us, each – as an individual to live – to the best of our abilities – by vegan principles – but if you insist on standing on a mountain and roaring “I am vegan – hear me roar” – to me that’s akin to spitting in the wind.

So all I ask is, before you reply to my posts – read, carefully – thoroughly, and reply … accurately.  Fair thing to ask, right?

That being said, it's not as if I give a shit about one person's personal decisions, so whatever, go ahead and drink happy milk and eat some free range eggs and call yourself vegan.  I think it's bizarre, but then again you asked for my opinion.  I thought.

More of the same…..

I made this comment in another thread, and I think it bears repeating:  things have names.  They are established for clarity of communication.  We all call a hippo a "hippo."  You can call it an elephant if you really, really, really want to, but you will confuse everyone else.  And it doesn't change the substance of the hippo.  So if we just call a hippo a hippo and an elephant an elephant we can all communicate better.

Well – you’ll have to forgive me if I see a difference in defining an animal for the sake of science as an entirely  different beast (no pun intended) when compared to defining (“labeling) a lifestyle, which – and maybe it’s just me here, but something I view as intrinsically more difficult to label.  Goodness, even taking your example of “an animal” – there are many animals that “don’t” fit neatly into one set category – an animal may have many varied characteristics depending on it’s heredity.  Then science comes in and determines, oh – this is a new species – having some characteristics of animal “a” and some of animal “b” and some of even, animal “c” – so as it’s not actually any of those – let’s name it something new instead. 

To me, and mind you – this is my personal opinion only – but trying to label what “a true vegan” is like, sounds eerily familiar to trying to label “a true Christian” or “a true Hindu” or “a true Muslim”, the list goes on and on.  What seems like it should be readily evident and obvious to one – is actually seen as more complicated and involved by another.  The problem lay not in the difference of opinions – the problem lay in one’s almost insistent demand that “their view” is “the view”…the “only correct view” – and from that rigid stance – that’s where the tension begins.

I'll thank you not to refer to me as a "young girl" and condescend to me again.  That was totally uncalled for, and my age and gender have nothing to do with the conversation.  Keep your prejudices about others out of here.  You don't even know me.

Interesting that you took my comments as “condescending” yet saw nothing condescending about your comment below:

I can't believe we're discussing "is dairy vegan?".  Really?

But, be that as it may – I’ll happily and sincerely apologize for my comment perhaps seeming condescending and in return, I trust that you’ll equally refrain from condescending/disparaging comments about threads that I (or anyone, for that matter) start (for that, adds nothing to the conversation or topic at hand) and limit your comments to the actual subject matter.  If you aren’t willing to adhere to that, I can hardly see how you would get upset when others decide not to adhere as well. 

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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......

well - i guess to me - your question doesn't even make sense.  There was nothing to agree or disagree with, in regards to what i said.  I never said "this is what i do .. or don't think".  I put a rhetorical question out to the forum - and asked for varied interpretations.  

So let's get this straight - i never got upset at anyone for not agreeing with me.  

But thank you for inferring i was rude - even if you just took my whole subject matter out of context.  Moving on...

Please tell me, what is it that you don't agree with me on?  Please show me the specific statement i made, giving my opinion - that you don't agree with?  Last i checked, i didn't make one - but maybe you know better, i dunno...

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enough of this already guys... were over it let's all be nice :)

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yeah, I don't think this needs to be rehashed

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Moving on...

We agree!

eta: rehashed is such a funny word. rehashedrehashedrehashedrehashed weird.

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