You are here

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.

who is "the guard"?  and by making up a name for these people, aren't you doing what you don't want others to do????

0 likes

I feel that this is all quite cliquish, and I just don't like the feel of it, but that's just how I feel. You poopular girls, you.

I think you are pretty poopular too.  Pope pooper.

http://www.humorcolumnist.com/images/Dscn0841RoyalGuard.jpg

The Royal Guard?  I can dig that.

0 likes

Can I be a Garment Guard?  They're a thing you can stick into the crotch of your pants if you don't like undies.

http://www.splendicity.com/files/359/2008/12/garment-guard-underwear-pads-thumb.jpg

0 likes

You're my garment guard, baby, and only mine.

0 likes

garment guards????  I want some of those

0 likes

Someone can be the Body Guard.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tAeJXbufNw4&feature=related

AC, we can call you Al!

0 likes

garment guards????  I want some of those

yeah, they look legit!

0 likes

:-D ... heheh, oh well, at least my posts were written in sincerity with attempts to reach out - but i guess seeing as how i've managed to ruffle the feathers of "The Guard" - that effort kinda goes in vain.  Better that I follow the immature tactics of "The Guard" (same people, never changes...) by"making fun of...." that which i'd prefer not to discuss ... which is *great* actually, because that does more to exhibit my points then any words i could have ever spoken or written myself - excellent and... i thank you  :)>>>

sirdidy, if you are still interested in the topic you originally posed, you could reply to my post ;) No one can argue that drinking milk is vegan, but of course one could argue that it's ethical. Anyway, if you're past that and would rather discuss "The Guard" then... ok.

0 likes

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.

In regards to the first and second question – I think that would also depend on whether or not all of a cows milk is used for her young?  I don’t believe that to be the case – but I don’t know for sure.  Maybe mothers that breast feed can shed some light on the same.  I don’t imagine that all of the mother’s milk is used? I imagine that the baby feeds when hungry and/or some milk may be extrapolated to put into bottles for later use – but I imagine the milk would always be available in the mother (not sure for what duration after pregnancy) and if that is the case, it might be the same for cows – again though, not entirely sure.

For your third point – it’s not something I’m familiar with but it’s an interesting point.  The difficulty in this would be that I imagine standard practice might vary from region to region and farmer to farmer.  It’s a good question to pose however, should the opportunity ever arise.

Another good point for consideration.  I would very much be interested to know what happens to the male calves.  As far as the cow population in India, i believe some cities do have cow populations – but whether or not that constitutes “over population” is a valid question.  I’m not sure what would make that determination.

As far as whether or not the calves are taken to Muslim provinces to be used for meat – I would venture to guess that wouldn’t be the case but as with anything, there are probably grey areas.

While not having any knowledge of the economics of milk sale in India, for many – their manner of living is very different then in the U.S. – so even if they make a very small sum per sale – that might very well be enough to sustain or at least, to help sustain their needs.  Again, I imagine the specifics to vary from person to person.

In regards to drinking animal fluids purely for taste – I can appreciate both aspects.  I can appreciate the weirdness of the notion that we’re consuming such a product while also appreciating that it’s part of our culture and something many are raised on - so it’s part of an integral part of how they relate to the world of what is acceptable and not.  Culture has a very large part in shaping who we are – and when someone grows up in a given culture – that culture plays an important emphasis (but not necessarily “the” deciding factor) on the person’s categorizations of what is right/wrong/acceptable, etc.

0 likes

In regards to the first and second question – I think that would also depend on whether or not all of a cows milk is used for her young?  I don’t believe that to be the case – but I don’t know for sure.  Maybe mothers that breast feed can shed some light on the same.  I don’t imagine that all of the mother’s milk is used? I imagine that the baby feeds when hungry and/or some milk may be extrapolated to put into bottles for later use – but I imagine the milk would always be available in the mother (not sure for what duration after pregnancy) and if that is the case, it might be the same for cows – again though, not entirely sure.

um...

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.

and

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).

0 likes

sirdidy, if you are still interested in the topic you originally posed, you could reply to my post ;) No one can argue that drinking milk is vegan, but of course one could argue that it's ethical. Anyway, if you're past that and would rather discuss "The Guard" then... ok.

actually, i had just replied to your post at the same time you post this.

While i started this topic with the hopes of intelligent discussion - if someone replies with stupidity - i have no problems replying to that in kind as well - let's just call it ummm ... multi-tasking.  If people, the Elite Guard, whathave you :P want to ..  play with themselves in an open forum - eh, it's a free world...

and umm... i'm curious - regardless of who can or can't argue whether or not drinking milk is vegan - ...."who" is trying to make this argument? where was that distinction ever made?

0 likes

sirdidy, if you are still interested in the topic you originally posed, you could reply to my post ;) No one can argue that drinking milk is vegan, but of course one could argue that it's ethical. Anyway, if you're past that and would rather discuss "The Guard" then... ok.

actually, i had just replied to your post at the same time you post this.

While i started this topic with the hopes of intelligent discussion - if someone replies with stupidity - i have no problems replying to that in kind as well - let's just call it ummm ... multi-tasking.  If people, the Elite Guard, whathave you :P want to ..  play with themselves in an open forum - eh, it's a free world...

and umm... i'm curious - regardless of who can or can't argue whether or not drinking milk is vegan - ...."who" is trying to make this argument? where was that distinction ever made?

0 likes

In regards to the first and second question – I think that would also depend on whether or not all of a cows milk is used for her young?  I don’t believe that to be the case – but I don’t know for sure.  Maybe mothers that breast feed can shed some light on the same.  I don’t imagine that all of the mother’s milk is used? I imagine that the baby feeds when hungry and/or some milk may be extrapolated to put into bottles for later use – but I imagine the milk would always be available in the mother (not sure for what duration after pregnancy) and if that is the case, it might be the same for cows – again though, not entirely sure.

um...

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.

and

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).

like, OMGosh, goodness, my sillyness - like *thank you* - wow!  you'll have to forgive me that i don't scour and read every post on every thread, (or even every thread) so sometimes...like sometimes *gasp* there might be something said on another entirely unrelated thread that *gadzooka gasp* i might not have been aware of - i know, i know - i'll say it one more time *gasp*

so anyhow, i thank you for presenting that information (hmm, sincerely) and i'll look over it.

ok, well like i'm umm off to read every post on every thread now because *gasp* gosh forbid i be subject to one more "um" and "and" - i don't know that me little heart could take any more...

0 likes

ah, i stand corrected - the posts you quoted were on this thread - good job!  You must forgive me (oh purty please???) - for my feeble mind is having such a difficulty keep up with you and your sister brethren that i have yet to even get that far into the postings - i'm trying hard as i can though - you can trust me on this....

i think i can, i think i can.. i think i can..

0 likes

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.

What i observed is this, i posted subject matter that people took exception too - without even reading thoroughly to see if i actually gave a definitive opinion on the matter - that's fine.  But conclusions were made and then disparaging remarks were made that went outside the realm of the subject matter at hand.  You personally commented about "oh, i can't believe we're having this conversation again" - there was no constructive purpose to insert that - and the only thing such a statement will do is put someone on the defensive.

You did give an opinion about veganism.  You stated that you have a vegan lifestyle and then you questioned whether you would refuse an animal product, thereby inferring that it would fall inside the realm of veganism to consume animal products on a qualified basis.  People rejected the notion of qualification.

0 likes

no - i did not.  you're statement is *totally* stretching. 

i opened a thread with a rhetorical question for the sake of discussion - i didn't give an opinion. 

i trust ... we all know the difference between "an opinion" and "a question"?  A question is *not* inferring, it'sjust that - a question.  If i was to ask say "is it cruel to eat animals?" - that's a question.  What does that infer? Does it infer that i believe it's cruel to eat animals? Or does it infer that i believe it's not cruel to eat animals? Or does it infer - neither.  The answer - it infers "neither" - because, again - it's .... a question. I'm not responsible for yours or anyone else's lack of reading comprehension.  That's not a nice thing to say, i know this and i own that and while i say it i apologize for the same.  But with the immaturity displayed on this thread - i can see it's pointless to try and be civil and discuss topics "on point". You can convince yourself all you want - but please stop trying to validate your lack of a sound argument by projecting your weakness on to me - it's a bit pathetic at this point! 

last - and although i've mentioned this *many* times, i'll mention the same again, i differentiate between "veganism" and "vegan lifestyle/principles".  Views of "Veganism" can tend to be taken very literally and "by the letter" (as evidenced by the many posts on this thread) - which i personally consider poisonous (as again, evidenced by the behavior of a few individuals on this thread) whereas the the latter - as i see it, lends itself to a more broad scope of personal interpretation - lending itself more to conversation, and less to strife and conflict.

People rejected their interpretation and their own projection of what they keep insisting that i said - which in fact, i never did - amazing at that.  All of this continued fuss/childishness over something that i supposedly said/inferred - which i never did.  So i'll say again, amazing that!

It's odd, you referenced some posts by another person - that i originally had not realized were in this very same thread.  I made some comments on the same, comments which proved to be inaccurate.  I could have deleted my post to save face.  I didn't, i simply followed up with "oops - i made a mistake".  It's no big deal for me to do, i make mistakes, errors .. all the time.  If i make a mistake, i have not one single problem saying i did exactly that. 

But, please feel free to keep insisting and looking/searching/stretching, in earnest,  for ways to validate your points and your behavior..... .... ....all someone need to is read, and see ... ... ..

0 likes

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.

Close although - i'm not actually asking if it can be done ethically - because as you said, that decision is one that can be decided upon only on a personal basis.  Thus, my purpose was more just to get different views, from different people - on their take of the question.  So although it might be inaccurate to say that i'm asking "is *this* ethical?" - it would be accurate to say that i'm asking "would you consider this ethical on a personal basis?"

I agree, that obtaining milk in the method you described would not seem practical - so further i agree - for that particular method - it would be a moot point.  At the same time, I don't agree (or disagree) that your example would be *the only ethical way* to obtain milk.  It's not something i've decided on because there can be so many varying factors from one person, one farmer, one locale, etc.  Of course, that's what led to me posing this question - to gather more information, ideas, concepts, while not necessarily for the purpose of "making up my mind" (although that can happen too) but more for the purpose of giving myself more concepts and information to even be able to first conceive of the bigger picture.

thanks for your take, though - much appreciated!

0 likes

You continue to state that the original post was devoid of position or opinion.  It wasn't; position and opinion were built into it and that's what people were responding to.

0 likes

and you never answered who you were calling names, who is the guard and brethren sisters?  I just want to clarify who is doing name calling and getting personal here.

0 likes

So what exactly is it that we should be discussing in this thread Sirdiddy?  What would we do if we were in India and cows milk was presented to us?

Just trying to clarify what is the original question is because at this point im a bit confused with what it is we are all suppose to be speaking about.

0 likes

Pages

Log in or register to post comments