My friend Sagar wrote the message below. He sent it to many of us last year. I saved it in order to send it out this year. I’ve had so many responses to the one and only reply I received about it; I had to share them.
Below you’ll find the message by Sagar, followed by the message from my anonymous friend. The comments that followed will appear in the comment section below the post. 🙂 Please feel free to add your tuppence!
The message I forwarded which was originally written by Sagar: –
As many of you will know, Paryushan, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness has begun.
During this festival, members of the Jain faith traditionally fast and participate in pratikraman. For lay members, fasting often entails avoiding activities that are traditionally thought to cause more himsa than others, such as eating root vegetables.
In today’s complex society, the process of milk production causes far more suffering and killing than typically meets the eye. Dairy cows are forcefully and artificially inseminated to stimulate pregnancy and milk production. They are immediately separated from their offspring at birth. Any male calves that are not reared for veal or beef are slaughtered immediately after birth (since they have no intrinsic value to a dairy farmer), and their sisters are forced to go through the same agony and suffering as their mothers. A dairy cow could live up to 30 years in a natural environment, but will almost always get slaughtered before the age of 10, as her milk yield drops, and it is no longer financially viable for a farmer to use her for milk production (or anything else).
It is the unfortunate (and inconvenient) truth that our consumption of milk and other dairy products contributes to the above processes. In light of this, it seems natural that Jains (adherents of Ahimsa) should acknowledge and consider the suffering caused to cows in the milk production.
So…. why not give up dairy products this Paryushan?
For more information, please see the following documents addressing the reasons to give up / reduce animal product usage, alternatives to dairy products, and possible health concerns:
Problems with dairy products: http://sagarkiritshah.googlepages.com/ProblemswithAnimalProducts.rtf
Alternatives to dairy: http://sagarkiritshah.googlepages.com/DairyAlternatives.rtf
Health concerns: http://sagarkiritshah.googlepages.com/Healthconcerns.rtf
Many members of the Jain community have made steps to completely remove dairy and other animal products from their diets in order to reduce their himsa footprint. If you would like to find more, or have any questions about reducing dairy from your diet (over Paryushana or longer), please feel free to JainVegansfirstname.lastname@example.org, or join the Jain Vegans e-group by e-mailing JainVegansemail@example.com.
If you think giving up all dairy products will be too difficult, please consider reducing dairy products. For example, you could have two dairy free meals a day, or try and just replace milk and chaas with soy milk or rice milk. Every little step will help reduce the harm and suffering caused.
Please forward this message on to anyone who you think would find it relevant or of interest.
Micchami Dukkadam (sorry for any offence or harm caused by this message),
The reply from my anonymous friend: –
I want you to consider the result of this action.
The dairy farmer is in business for money.
His sales of milk and milk products drop.
He starts making losses on his dairy farm.
He thinks. There is more demand of beef than dairy!
He changes his farm to beef farm.
Presently he sends his bulls to the abattoir because they are of no use.
If the cows also become of no use to his dairy profits?
Then of course he will fatten them with hormones and non-eatables!
He will send the cows to the abattoir with the bulls.
By not using dairy products ARE YOU DOING ANY FAVOURS TO THE COWS?
This is a deception being spread by a few who do not respond to the above thought process.
What do you think? Any comments?