I am part of a group called Jain Vegans. It’s a great way for us to share info, ideas and seek advice. Recently there was a discussion comparing vegetarianism and veganism. This is what Nandita wrote. It is brief, well articulated and quite enlightening too! 

I do think there is a big difference between vegetarian and vegan because many vegetarians (in India at least) are replacing all the meat that others eat with dairy. So it really does not end up being less cruelty, nor better ecologically or healthy.

Vegetarians in India have the same rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer as their non vegetarian counterparts.

I have friends in Europe who, though vegetarian, eat such large quantities of cheese, that they may as well be non vegetarian.

I agree with Robert Cohen when he says that milk is white blood, and what’s even worse is that we do not connect it with blood. 

So here is what I think – if you can get someone to go vegetarian, then why not get them to go all the way. With soy milks and tofu and faux meat it’s not that hard. In fact it is easier in the West where everything can be easily replaced.

These are just my thoughts.

I didn’t realise that cheese was such a big thing in India until a few months ago. I went to India in December 2007 and the menu was not inundated with cheese. However, my brother in law and his fiancé went in October and they were quite shocked to find cheese in most dishes. It was harder to find a dish without cheese than it was to find one with it!

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Categories: DietVegan

1 Comment

Sagar Shah · February 15, 2009 at 2:38 pm


I definitely think that consumption of cheese and dairy products is on the increase in India… but I’m not sure that people there ‘might as well be non-vegetarian’…

The average dairy cow in Western Europe produces 20litres of milk a day, and about 3-4liters of milk in India (though varies massively from State to State) – and the average cow will be in lactation for 280 days a year…

Given that one cow life will be ruined per lactation (either a bull calf will get slaughtered), or a (female) cow will be forced into a life of forced pregnancy and lactation….

Using these calculations for a rule of thumb approximation…

In India – if one drinks 1litre a day of milk products – one will ruin approximately one cows life in every 3-4 years.

In Europe, consuming the same amount one will ruin approxmixately one cows life every 20 years.

Comparing to meat consumption – it is quite possible to ruin the lifes of multiple animals a year…..

Also bear in mind that most people who eat meat, also tend to eat a lot of dairy products

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