Dairy farming and Hinsa (Cruelty) - Should we as Jains consume milk products?
At AtmaDharma.com, our aim is to present only true, original and authenticated material - the book "Vegetarian Food & Jain Conduct" has been presented as it is. However due to lots of feedback pointing out the cruel processes used by modern milk industries, this page has been added.
While milk consumption is not forbidden under Jainism, the current practices in milk production are such that consuming milk is not compatible with the kindness expected of Jains.
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Don't just read the key points - watch the videos - they are far more informative.
Why is practicing Jain Veganism an aspect of practicing of Ahinsa? - A talk by Dr Jina Shah on 22 Sept 2013 (in Gujarati & English)
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Introduction to Speaker:
- Speaker Name: Dr Jina Shah, M.D. M.P.H.
- Profession: Family Doctor trained in Medicine working near San Franscisco, USA. Also involved in medical research, especially Preventitave Medicine
- Other information: Dr Jina has been a vegan for more that 20 years
- Talk on:
- Why Veganism is important in promoting Ahimsa
- The Health Benefits of being a Jain Vegan and
- Nutrients required for a healthy Jain Vegan lifestyle & Q&As
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Introduction to Topic:
- What does the term Vegan mean? Vegan does not mean just vegetarian but also no consumption of dairy products. The practice of Jain veganism is an aspect of practicing Ahinsa
- Questions to Audience:
- Q1: How many people think our most important ethical practice is ahinsa in Jainism? (Almost everybody)
- Q2: How many people here practice vegetarianism? (Almost everybody)
- Q3: Among the people who you know are vegetarians for long time - how many people have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or cancer? (Most people)
- Q4: How many people know someone who is Vegan? (Lot of people)
- Q5: How many vegans do you know long term vegans (at least few years) who have heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or cancer? (No one)
- This exercise indicates that there may be benefits to becoming Vegan. More on that later.
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Why is practicing Jain Veganism an aspect of practicing of Ahinsa?
- Jainism, Milk & Himsa
- In Jainism, Milk and its products are allowed then how can consuming this be hinsak? OK in olden times as cows were very well looked after as family members. But today in UK, US and even in India consuming milk is an activity involved in hinsa. How?
- Natural life of cows is 20-30 years.
- When cows are used in commercial farms or organic farms their milk production is reduced after about 5 years so the cow is sent for slaughter by the meat industry. Milk consumers are subsidising meat consumers as the farmers making money on the milk so the meat can be sold cheaper. So by drinking milk we are becoming co-doers in this hinsa / violence
- Every Cow kept constantly pregnant forcefully - Cows only produce milk following giving birth. Cows are only allowed to rest for 2 months following giving borth before being made pregnant again. In UK & USA artificial insemination is used to make cows pregnant. This is also the case in India. The process of artificial insemination is akin to rape
- What happens to the calf at birth?
- Once the cow has given birth the calf is taken away. Think about the strong bond between mother and child we are responsible for breaking this by separating them
- In commercial dairies calves are separated from their mother within 0-3 days. At separation time mother is distressed so much that they try to attack the guy separating them in the same way as humans suffer pain when mother and baby are separated the cow (a 5 sensed being with a mind) feels pain
- What happens to the calf afterwards?
- The female calf has the same life as the cow
- The male calf is used for veal meat industry. Veal is tender - a delicacy for meat eaters
- The calf is taken from mother and tied so it cannot move so no muscles are formed and meat is produced
- The calf is fed an iron deficit diet so meat is soft
- They are kept in the dark for 6 months without any sunlight
- After 6 months of this torture, the calves are slaughtered for veal meat
- India is the largest exporter of Cow meat - this is directly linked to the large number of milk consumers
- Milking process
- Milking is via machines
- Length of milking time set to 3.5 minutes
- Not every cow produces same amount of milk some produce less, others more, but milking timings are same
- When cow does not produce enough milk and the machine is still pumping you can see cows blood coming out into the milk
- Regulations allow up to certain parts per million (ppm) blood (called somatic cell count) in milk! This can be tested using spectrometers
- Due to the way cows are NOT looked after they often become ill and so pus is also allowed in milk in the same way
And in organic farms antibiotics are not allowed to be fed to the cows so organic milk also has pus in milk
Points by audience member
- What is the cow feed made of? The cow food is made from: 20% waste products from the slaughter houses (i.e. meat) & 80% from vegetable grains. So due to human exploitation, cows are no longer vegetarians!
- At separation time of calf and mother
- the cow is so shocked that for 2-3 days it does not produce any milk. Shock is similar to that if someone has died!
- the cow senses that they are no longer going to see the calf. The cow cries the voice that comes out, even though so many years have passed by, Pravinbhai (the other speaker on this topic) can still hear that haunting voice!
Summary - In contrast:
- in the olden times when milk was used by our Grandfathers this was relatively ahinsak cows were kept as family members and allowed live their full lives
- This is not the case today consuming milk today we are co-doers of hinsa / violence- therfore by abstaining from milk and milk product consumption we are practicing an aspect of ahinsa
Next points to come
- Is milk necessary or not?
- and is there benefit in consuming milk or is there harm?
For further information about these methods visit any of the following links:-