“For every questionable esoteric study vegans use to attract new converts, there is a mountain of research that confirms the nutritional values of natural whole milk. Yet vegans are reticent about these medical reports and that’s both embarrassing and bad publicity.”
Setting the Record Straight
As director of the American Vedic Association and a practicing Vegetarian I have embraced the tradition of honoring and protecting the cow as one’s own mother for nearly 40 years. I therefore share with the Vegan community their outrage at the cruelty inflicted on commercial dairy cows. I don’t however agree that the Vegan gospel “Thou Shall NOT drink Milk” is the most effective strategy for putting an end to the barbaric way the dairy industry exploits and abuses cows. In fact there is good reason to believe that Vegan Fundamentalists will be the ones responsible for perpetuating the suffering of cows well into the future for endless generations.
Irrelevant, Misleading and Distracting
Vegans are well known for generating a lot of propaganda about the sins related to drinking milk. One of the more aggressive themes they are fond of promoting is the declarative “Milk is Poison”  campaign. To defend their agenda for abolishing the consumption of milk, vegans start by demolishing the reliability of USDA recommendations. They then make long lists of all the various hormones, vaccines, and wonder drugs that have become a standard part of what the large corporate dairy farms must do to stay in business because of the unnatural, confined, factory like environments they subject cows to use in order to stay competitive.
This makes some dramatic headlines, but informed people already know how various food industries, such as the cattle ranchers and mega dairies, have historically influenced the daily nutritional requirements recommended by the government. Attentive consumers also know that itemizing all the extra controversial ingredients that find their way into the milk supply is irrelevant to any serious discussion related to evaluating the relevance of what whole, unadulterated fresh milk has on our diet.
Vegans also generate a lot of hysteria about the fat content in milk and the lactose intolerant population. They consider these things as further “Proof” why humans should not consume milk products. However if we accept these claims as legitimate reasons to avoid all forms of milk, then we should also abandon the consumption of peanuts, wheat and hundreds of other types of foods that are fattening or may sometimes cause allergic reactions.
Most people agree that the excessive consumption of any single food has a negative health impact and this is also true for milk. However, when backing claims of the negative health effects of milk, vegans often cite studies of people examined immediately after consuming a frothy milk shake or who are in the habit of eating way too many milk products. Studies also show that the body has a severe reaction to the consumption of hot chilies, but nobody gets alarmed about the capsaicin which causes those biological symptoms. Yet vegans act like they attained “culinary nirvana” and have been anointed with the great commission to save the world from the evils of milk. Just how prudent is it to promote controversial, fear based, skewed propaganda if we really wish to put an end to the abuse of dairy cows?
Independent neurologists have confirmed the importance of vitamin B12 in our diet. This nutrient is available predominantly in dairy, fish, meat, poultry, eggs and shellfish. A deficiency in B12 leads to anemia, irritability, anorexia, regression, poor brain growth and cognitive problems, particularly in young developing children!  However, vegans tend to ignore these important facts. They never mention the studies that conclude with the warning: “In order to reach favorable vitamin and mineral intakes, vegans should consider taking supplements…” 
It is therefore disingenuous for vegans to prance around giving people the impression that it’s easy for the average carnivore to just immediately cut all meat, fish, eggs, poultry, honey, and dairy out of their diet. The truth is that only a very small percent of the population has the fortitude to start the vegan diet and even a smaller percent can stick to it. At least part of the reason why some drop out is because vegans must plan their meals very carefully if they want to stay healthy, and who has the time for that in a culture addicted to fast food and frozen dinner convenience?
“Poorly planned vegan diets can be low in levels of calcium, iodine, vitamin B12, iron and vitamin D. Various polls have reported vegans to be between 0.2% and 1.3% of the U.S. population, and between 0.25% and 0.4% of the UK population.” 
Blowback from Fanaticism
When all the “studies” are objectively considered, the so called research used to buttress up the vegan agenda is very limited, controversial, inconclusive, speculative and zealously misleading. For every questionable esoteric study vegans use to attract new converts, there is a mountain of research that confirms the nutritional values of natural whole milk. Yet vegans are reticent about these medical reports and that’s both embarrassing and bad publicity. By failing to acknowledge the gaping flaws in the vegan doctrine the whole vegetarian movement becomes stigmatized as unreasonable and radically out of touch.
What’s particularly disturbing about the vegan dogma is the potential for irreversible damage in the development of innocent babies born to naive vegan parents. When the evening news starts interviewing pediatricians for children that were never allowed to drink cow milk and now suffer with underdeveloped brain tissue , the whole vegetarian movement will suffer a huge public relations catastrophe! Then the dairy industry will not only go unchecked, but we can expect that even more slaughterhouses will get built.
If we listen closely to moderate vegans, they sometime reluctantly acknowledge under their breath that there is a lot of hyperbole being spewed to leverage the public into denouncing milk. When confronted with long-standing facts, some vegans quietly acquiesce that there really isn’t anything wrong with a diet that includes a moderate amount of milk products. The Vedic rule of thumb is that one can safely enjoy the equivalent of one cup of milk a day, be it in the form of butter, gee, farmer’s cheese or home-made cultured yogurt, etc. Objective experts confirm this ancient wisdom: “Our study does seem to show that a bit of what you like [milk] does seem to do you good.” – Dr Andy Ness, Bristol University 
When the issues related to health are debunked and exposed, vegans take up an ethical assault against those who dare to patronize the dairy industry. One popular guilt-generating tactic is to dramatize the plight of a thirsty calf getting dragged away from its mother’s udder. Large commercial dairies no doubt do that at some point to maximize their harvest, but this overly dramatized event, and is not an honest reason to indict the consumption of milk for the rest of eternity. Such emotionally charged arguments may temporarily convince uninformed people to stop purchasing milk for a little while, but once the public realizes how their sentiments have been maneuvered they will resent giving up the occasional pleasure of cottage cheese and pineapple for absolutely no reason.
After giving birth a cow will offer approximately 50 lbs of milk a day. It is ridiculous for anyone to assert that a baby calf weighing somewhere between 40-100 lbs. could possibly drink that much milk! Furthermore dairy people know that if that excess milk isn’t removed from the udder of that cow in a timely fashion, it will be painful to the cow. When that happens a biological message is sent to the cow’s milk producing organs to start shutting down. By regularly milking the cow, both the calf and the person tending to the health and safety of the cow are provided with an abundant supply of fresh wholesome milk. This is actually the reason why the cow is so highly respected in agrarian societies, most particularly in India. The cow has the miraculous ability to eat dry straw, grass, and kitchen scraps and convert these uneatable things into one of the most nutritious, versatile and good tasting foods, long after humans are weaned from their birth mother.
“One popular guilt-generating tactic is to dramatize the plight of a thirsty calf getting dragged away from its mothers udder. After giving birth a cow will offer approximately 50 lbs of milk a day. It is ridiculous for anyone to assert that a baby calf weighing somewhere between 40-100 lbs. could possibly drink that much milk!”
Pushing someone into the deep end of the pool when they don’t even know how to swim is the best way to traumatize someone so they never want to be around a pool again. Our first task should be to educate the general public about the benefits of a vegetarian diet, not terrorize them into following fanatically austere eating habits they are completely unprepared for and will probably abandon. The purpose of this article is to show how this aggressive strategy is counter-productive.
The one ethical argument that is legitimate is in relation to all the business driven cruelty corporate dairies inflict on cows during their short lives. When the white-gold milk-wells run dry, these innocent animals are sent off to the slaughterhouse to be processed into USDA approved 50lb boxes of frozen fast-food burger patties. This is the epitome of ungratefulness and an atrocity no sensitive individual would ever condone. Determining how to effectively put an end to this barbaric arrangement brings us full circle back to the opening question. “What is the best way to alleviate the suffering of cows abused by commercial dairies?”
• • •
Mayesvara Dasa is the director of the American Vedic Association (AVA) located in Ojai California and has been a Lacto-Vegetarian since 1973. On the first and third Tuesday of every month he sponsors a discussion group to help educate the public about the great Vedic culture of ancient India and serves a Free Vegetarian dinner to all who attend.
He can be reached at email@example.com, and (805) 640-0405.
FOOTNOTES See Robert Cohens Exhaustive web site: http://www.notmilk.com/  Graham, SM et al. 1992. Long-term neurologic consequences of nutritional vitamin B12 deficiency in infants. J Pediatr 121(5pt1)710-4. & Stollhoff, K and Schulte, FJ. 1987. Vitamin B12 and brain development. Eur J Pediatr 146(2):201-5.  German Vegan Study 2002 See Conclusion At: http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v57/n8/full/1601629a.html  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegt http://www.devdelay.org/newsletter/articles/html/340-preventing-sensory-processing-disorders.html  Spinning Out of Control / Vegans say no to extreme “not milk” spin. See: http://www.mts.net/~baumel/Cohen.html  May 2001, BBC News See: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/1321000.stm
(vee-guhn naht-see) Someone who is a vegan and goes beyond the acceptable ways of professing this fact (wearing t-shirts and patches, handing out leaflets, writing 10-page facebook comments, chasing you down the street, and so on) and harasses people about their meat/dairy eating ways in a non-joking manner. (not to be confused with your garden variety vegan.)
E.G. – “dude, that kid started screaming at me for eating a cookie with milk in it… what a vegan nazi!”
– From urbandictionary.com
If by ‘esoteric studies’ you mean this http://www.nealhendrickson.com/mcdougall/030400pudairyproductsfalsepromises.htm , http://www.pcrm.org/health/veginfo/dairy.html , or http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/milk-1.html this, or the countless others or many well-researched books on the market on plant-based nutrition, then I possibly have a misunderstanding of the word ‘esoteric’.
I also want to point out that poorly-planned diets of any kind can lead to deficiencies, whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or an omnivore. For example, plenty of omnivores are deficient in iron (most common mineral deficiency), folate, magnesium, vitamin K, zinc and B vitamins.
As far as all your other scare-mongering goes, I would like to remind you that the American Dietetic Association of America and Canada have stated that a vegan diet is safe for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and childhood. The study you cite relates to B12 deficiency in infants, which, while serious, can be easily avoided without dairy products. Almost all commercial soy products are fortified with B12, and if you don’t consume these products, taking one supplement is not nearly as difficult as you make it sound.
Peace Is Coming For You
“I have embraced the tradition of honoring and protecting the cow as one’s own mother for nearly 40 years.”
I hope you don’t hikack your mother’s reproductive system. I hope you don’t fence, force-inseminate, and milk your mother over and over until she is “spent”. I hope you don’t treat your mother as a resource – as property – to be bought and sold like so many iPods. I hope that the term “mother” itself demands more dignity and respect as opposed to how you have slaughtered it’s meaning.
No mention of veal, tail and horn mutilation, or environmental consequences of “a cup a day”…interesting.
“Rule of thumb” is a horribly sexist phrase and likely shows the reason for your patriarchally-based assessment of the physical and sexual violence female bovine are subjected to – even on the most “humane” farms.
Respect your mother – don’t rape her, don’t steal her milk, don’t steal her kids, and don’t kill her. More clearly, don’t drink milk.
What the majority of the anti-milk studies tend to overlook is the quantity of milk products that the subjects consume. Considering the resilience of the human body it’s hard to believe that all these extremely terrible things will occur if a person consumes up to only 1 cup of milk a day. This is the standard I clearly pointed out in the article.
Which brings me back again to the whole intent of the article. It is not to argue about how milk impacts the body according to all sorts of controversial and sometimes contradictory speculative mundane research. It is about how to best stop the misery the Dairy Industry is inflicting on the mother cow. The article speaks for itself in this regard but it’s obvious that some , usually with very questionable qualifications, are so buried in the Vegan hate spewing rhetoric that they can’t hear what I am saying regardless of how many times I repeat it.
Instead these aggressive individuals keep proving my point with their condemning comments about those who don’t agree with their extreme dietary demands. Prohibition failed and nothing ever changes unless the public AGREES to be educated. That will not happen when they are accused of hijacking their mother’s reproductive system or torturing their calf’s etc. Less insulting philosophical based arguments can be put forth in a sane, sober and forgiving way to bring the public into the conversation and get the masses moving in the right direction by taking up a good vegetarian diet. Then they will be better situated to learn about the more egregious things done by the Dairy Industry and then they willing to take action on that issue in large numbers. For the most part the Vegan Nazi like statements just pushes potential vegetarian converts away due to their disparaging nature and holier-than-thou delivery
mayesvara dasa ACBSP, MBA/MIS, CCP
Director American Vedic Association
Ojai, Ca. 93023
Considering the tone of your piece was decidedly anti-vegan, it’s hard to engage in a rational discourse – “less insulting philosophical based arguments” – with people when you’re insulting them. Not all vegans are Nazis and not all omnivores are gas-guzzling animal haters. I find it offensive to be categorized as such.
I apologize for missing the main point of the article, which you had said is “how to best stop the misery the Dairy Industry is inflicting on the mother cow”. Really what I took away from this article was a personal attack on vegans. And honestly, I do think it’s logical to conclude that the best way to avoid creating misery to dairy cows is to simply avoid dairy products altogether.
I can understand how the other people who commented felt the article was personally attacking vegans, and exaggerating/stereotyping who they are and what they do. I do think, if we calm down our emotions here, is good point for discussion…basically, is boycotting milk the best strategy for protecting cows? Because, we all agree that cows should not be harmed…thats the common ground. The point about veganism seeming very radical for the masses…I have found that to be true in my attempts to educate people about giving up meat. I’m 34, and I’ve run into a few friends who were vegans in college, and later on, started having vision problems, and weakness…went to the doctor, were told they were nutrient deficient, and basically started eating meat again for “health” reasons. Sure, this is only anecdotal evidence…but a worthwhile consideration.
I think the article is weak and incomplete in the arguement, and probaly not understood by the public as to what the point is.
frankly I did not like the article in any way. The style. Poorly composed arguement IMHO.The implied attack vegans for obscure reason doesn’t make sense.Any rate I didn’t like it. If I were an editor the writer would not be on my list.
You have to realize most of the public won’t scrutinize the fine print, they will briefly look at articles, get an impression, and only some later based on that feeling (good or bad) will read / study the newspaper and articles.
So I see in this case what is bad is say you have Sally Public, she looks at the paper briefly. Sees (to her brief look) an article attacking vegans.. What The? No! I don’t get it! I’m a vegan (or my best friend is).. this is crappy journalism tactics, sensationalism and what’s the point anyway? They attack vegans, then something about dairy industry?What’s the real agenda to this paper to print his article I thought this way a ‘Yoga’ news or something?.. Weird..!”
Well sorry but that’s my opinion.
As a recent devotee, I brought my vegan lifestyle along with me into the Krishna consciousness movement, meaning no dairy. Otherwise, I don’t have any conflict with other devotees. But I don’t see it as “conflict”, rather opting out of through a boycott. The local temple does not have cows to milk, therefore they purchase many gallons of milk and butter from the supermarket or wholesaler. This is my issue, that they could use non-dairy products and be more compassionate. But I haven’t try to convince anyone in charge to change, since I just a neophyte. Perhaps if I am in charge of this later, I can effect some change. Until then, I will continue to distribute Vegan Outreach leaflets and stay a healthy, humble vegan. Hare Krishna! – David
For the Sake of Completeness I am attaching here my further comments that were posted on the Facebook Blog for this article in Mid October 2010.
My article speaks for itself. Many Eccentric Vegans cite the “Milk is Poison” charade that even John Robbins had to distance himself from. To downplay this fact or not acknowledge it shows a lack of awareness that hardly requires responding to. The fact that some people are so upset about the eccentricities I refer to that is OBVIOUS in the Vegan community confirms not only the merit of what I wrote but that those who wish to deny it are part of that population. Otherwise why respond so strongly if all I wrote was a bunch of radical nonsense that mature people would just ignore?
There were several citations to support the content of the article, so It’s interesting that the one that seems to get the most focus is from the USDA. Has anyone noticed that is exactly what I said VEGANS tend to do in the second paragraph of the article? It seems like perhaps I have characterized the Vegan community pretty accurately by this embarrassing typical response. But what about all the other references that are not as easy to dismiss?
My qualifications for writing the article have been called into question by some… apparently because they do not like the conclusions I come to? Besides being a disciple of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad in good standing, I would not have been entrusted with a Secret Clearance by the department of the defense for over 20 years if I did not have a good education or showed any sign of being emotionally unstable. But what are the qualifications of those who object to what I wrote? Do they have any formal education, certification, or professional recognition to lead us to believe that they are not just entrenched in their own self-justifying-eccentric lifestyle?
What do they offer to convince the objective reader that they are able to integrate professionally with others, have clear reasoning stills and are academically competent? What have they actually done that is worthy of serious consideration and distinguished them from the same deluded lunatic fringe as the author of the now infamous grossly misleading article “Milk Is Poison.”?
Any single vegan who accuses me of inappropriately attempting to speak for the entire vegan community is equally guilty of stereotyping that population when they turn around and do exactly the same thing. This is a sign of poor reasoning skills and a blind follower. How many websites, magazine articles or other types of media must I cite before a hard core Vegan will agree that the Vegan movement is rapidly becoming a surrogate impersonal religion unto itself?
We can toss statistics and references back and forth all day long but to what value? As devotees we are simply not persuaded by the speculative methods of Frances Moore Lappé, John Robbins, Joann Macy or anyone else who relies completely on their mundane senses to understand what is going on or how to rectify the problems in the Dairy Industry. The purpose of the article is to remind us where we are putting our life focus and who we accept in regards to finding that focus.
The fact is that Srila Prabhupada WAS aware of the horrors that were being inflicted on the cows by the dairy industry but he NEVER instructed that we should become Vegans. He DID want the devotees to develop their own farming community to insure the cows were treated properly and he started that effort with communities like Gita Nagarin and New Vrindaban in particular. But meanwhile he did not ask us to boycott the diary industry. He knew that many people, particularly in the West, became attracted to KC because they were lured to the Sunday Love Feast. Those feasts included wonderfully new and magically enchanting foodstuffs like glubjammans, sweet rice and halava. The same is true in regards to the consumption of sugar. Some devotees have boycotted sugar because of all the research that ties it to diabetes and hyperactivity. But this is our eccentric Western response to the otherwise more sane way of dealing with these threats which is to simply not eat sugar or milk products with everything we put into our mouth.
If individual devotees wish to follow a Vegan diet, then I have no objection… but that in itself is nothing spectacular and for the most part should not even become part of our conversation. If they condemn other devotees for NOT following that diet then they are essentially saying that Srila Prabhupadad did not know what he was doing. The more healthy way to approach this touchy subject is to recognize that there is a calculated trade off going on here… and that IS the whole point of the article I wrote.
Eccentric vegans just don’t want to hear about those who gave up that discipline any more then devotees don’t really want to know that someone started eating meat again or drifted off to any of the various new age traditions. But it does happen… and the more extreme the austerity… the more fall-out there will be. Either you see this axiomatic corolation and make a calculated managerial decision on how to deal with it, or you don’t . Those who don’t spin off into more eccentric Vegan Retorich about how the non-Vegans are torturing their mother etc. That will just alienate those who might be more sympathetic to adopting a well rounded Vegetarian diet.
For those who still are having difficulty comprehending the purpose of the article let me be more specific here. The ultimate solution to all the difficulties we face in this world is for the population to become Krishna Conscious. This was stated several times by His Divine Grace and hopefully nobody will dismiss that ideal objective as just another eccentric sentiment. The crimes of the Dairy Industry is one of those things we all want to see go away but that isn’t going to happen if the rest of the world remains in the mode of gross ignorance which is what the population of Kali Yuga is describe as. For a Vegan to believe they can turn a population entrenched in gross ignorance around to their satvic culinary preferences is the epitome of blind sentimental fanaticism.
Therefore clamoring for people to become VEGANS is counter productive and not helpful. To suggest that Srila Prabhupada was unaware of this alternative, or the problem didn’t exist when he came to America in 1965, is pure ignorance and maybe even com under the category of contemptuous heresy. This is confirmed by the fact that in 1976 Srila Prabhupada immediately dismissed the whole Jain community as missing the point because of their eccentric vegetarian diets:
“ What is the benefit? The Goats are vegetarian. Eh? There are so many animals. They are vegetarian. The monkeys are vegetarian.”
To suggest that man should NOT drink the milk of another animal because no other animal does so is similarly philosophically bankrupt as
Srila Prabhupad further stated:
“…So that is not a good qualification, to become vegetarian and become an animal… we are NOT going to be animals. We are going to be Human Beings.”
Even a neophyte devotee knows that the difference between a human being and an animal is we can ask questions and get good instruction from God himself via the Vedic Literatures. The harsh true is the Church of the almighty Vegan is actually a spin-off of the new-age and environmental movements which are entrenched in impersonalism and all sorts of liberal nonsense. They not only don’t concur with goals of the Vedic siddhanta, but in many cases contradict it. Unfortunately for many, Veganism, has become yet another type of distraction that competes for the highest welfare one could adopt which is to develop unalloyed devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krishna.
Therefore our foremost mission is to awaken the sleeping soul from the lap of maya. Considering the depths of how far the Western world has fallen into that illusion, it is nothing but eccentric to think that the AVERAGE person will simply step out of such terribly bad habits as eating animals, into a strict Vegan diet because it is the right thing to do. Yes… I know there are a few rare individuals who have done that and good for them. But they are also the ones who have the most difficulty accepting the fact that others will not be so willing or capable.
What is more important is that people not only rethink what they are eating, but what they are doing in regards to each of the four legs of dharma. Do they gamble, take intoxications, and carry on with illicit sexual passions? How many vegans are working on those issues which also cause incredible suffering to our human condition? For those who are you have my dandabats,… but the overwhelming majority are not.
In the early days when someone wanted to become a devotee but had a bad smoking habit Srila Prabhupada was lenient about helping that person overcome their addiction. He instructed the temple presidents to monitor that such an individual was progressing steadily towards smoking less, with the goal of eventually giving it up. He did not insist that they must stop smoking immediately because he knew how the senses were so strong and take control over ones willpower. However he also knew that with the proper devotee association that bad habit could be controlled.
SO in a similar way the majority of society is addicted to eating animals and consuming dairy. To demand that they give both of those things up immediately is the symptom of myopic eccentricity. Itt reveals NO compassion for how inflicted these poor confused individuals have become with bad habits . Instead, Srila Prabhupadas program was to wean the conditioned soul away from those bad habits by offering them something better and getting them to associate with devotees. Instead of eating the cow, he taught we can drink the milk from the cow and make gee from that milk. In that way, over time, we learned how to eat food that is more satisfying the actually eating the flesh of the cow. In the same way the rest of the population will learn how to control their milk consumption. Eventually everyone will insist that the current dairy industry change the way they do business by purchasing their milk from goshallas managed by devotees.
Those who continue to campaign strong resistance to this pragmatic approach towards correcting the ill habits that plague our society are not following dharma regardless of how “compassionate” they wish to portray themselves. It is false religion. Commendable sentiments, but not a part of the Gaudi Vaishana way of life nor what Srila Prabhupad wanted or taught. In this regards the Vegans are on their own. Their reasoning can be compared to the false religious arguments Arjunas made for going to the mountains instead of fighting for real dharma. “While speaking learned words, you are mourning for that which is not worthy of grief.” – Bg. 2.11
Vegans are making a similar mistake. They insist that their choices are morally superior because they are based on protecting the cows from harm. If that is what they are really committed to then the most significant thing they can do towards realizing that goal is help build the alternative dairy industry. The issue is NOT the consumption of milk, or the vitamins that are in it. To keep pounding that drum misses the point completely and is asat, untruth.
Instead let them immediately go to help Balabhadra dasa, the founder of the International Socity for Cow Protection, (www.iscowp.org ) and offer their assistance to build that new cruelty-free-dairy world. Balabhadra is the real vegan, even though he milks cows every day, because he has dedicated his life to building the alternative farming communities that will be in big demand as the world wakes up.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Vaishnava community, who is neither enamored by the fad of veganism or the false cocoon it envelops one in, will continue to do what Srila Prabhupad wanted. The Vegan Nazies (If the shoe fits wear it) will never be convinced, but the less extreme person will hear this call to reason. Many of them already have and informed me accordingly, albeit not on this thread.
The active devotee will not shy away from luring in those who are addicted to following their tongue with the time tested power of Krishna Prasadam in the form of sandesh, rubbery and milk-cakes etc. While the new candidates for devotional service are appreciating the loving exchange of such nice foodstuffs, they will be most receptive to hearing about ALL the principals of dharma we are called to embrace and teach. This is the real solution to the plight of the dairy cows, as well as all the other problems faced by a population run completely amuck chasing the illusions of maya.
mayesvara dasa ACBSP, MBA/MIS, CCP
Director American Vedic Association
Ojai, Ca. 93023
All due respect, the tone of your article is both aggressive and defensive while failing to communicate what you actually believe WOULD ensure protection of cows.
I feel “The Vegan Threat to Bovine Welfare: debunking vegan hype” is a
little bit unnecessarily aggressive and may even spur more anger
towards people like me and my family and friends just because of our
choice to live a vegan lifestyle. Its very hard in this society to
avoid harassment as a vegan. I hardly tell anybody I’m vegan, because
when they find out they begin assaulting me with reasons why they love
animal products (I dont want this information about other people, it
makes for an extremely uncomfortable situation) and the harassment
ensues. From my observation, most vegans would rather not talk about veganism with non-vegans. Its rude to talk about veganism at the dinner table with vegetarians or meat-eaters because the subject leads to comments that make everybody’s stomach upset. I never heckle anybody to go vegan. I’ve enjoyed 8 years of veganism.
I feel that as long as nutritional requirements are met, it doesn’t
matter how. Vegan diets have proven to be perfectly balanced and
healthy by the American Medical Association after numerous studies.
One of the most important developments in vegan nutrition has been an
ongoing study by Michael Klaper, MD who tests the blood, urine, and
dietary information of vegans worldwide to compile a verifiable vegan
food guide for optimum health. The Vegan 6 food groups fulfill the
dietary requirements of all humans, from infancy to body builders, to
pregnancy and the elderly.
And yet, your article insinuates vegans are unhealthy, damaging to the
animal rights movement, and generally this article perpetuates a
stereotype that vegans are somehow pushy assholes. I feel personally
attacked by your article. not because you address ‘vegan nazi’s. I’ve
met one of those. they ARE assholes, and they’re usually teenagers and
they’re also not common. and to assume that all vegan fundamentalists
are “the ones responsible for perpetuating the suffering of cows well
in the the future for endless generations” is not only enraging to me
because its not true, but also a great injustice to our community as
vegetarians. We are the same. vegans are just vegetarians who want to
go a little further. there is no validity in your accusation. I
believe your article will unjustly perpetuate anti-vegan sentiments in
our community. and this saddens me greatly.
You will never find the truth when you generalize a group of people based
on the negative actions of a few individuals.
You mention the importance of B12 in the diet as an argument against
vegans. Vegans must be aware of b12 and omega fatty acids. Every vegan
knows that because its part of the vegan food guide. Every person
vegan or not must be aware of getting a balanced diet somehow. B12 is
readily available for me and my family in the form of losenges,
multivitamins, powdered drink mixes, cereals, processed foods and
energy bars, fermented foods, tempeh, miso, seaweed, kombucha, energy
drinks, you can even get b12 patches and shots from the doctors
office. there is no shortage of b12 in san diego. B12 is not a product
of dairy, animals, or eggs, B12 is a bacterial excrement. the animals
that produce dairy and eggs get the b12 from bacteria in the soil of
the foods they consume. Vegans get B12 in the same way.
I think its pessimistic to assume that we cant all do it if we wanted
to. To each their own, but i think we are both fooling ourselves if
you really think veganism is impossible for most people. Its so easy i
hardly remember i’m vegan until somebody brings it up, or somebody
begins to vegan-bash as you have in your article, which i picked up
and read without expecting to find an article that would attack my
lifestyle in a very nice spiritual magazine like 16 rounds.
It is NOT hard to plan my meals. and it doesn’t have to be done “carefully”
either. it just takes education and habitual behaviors (like
purchasing collard greens and squash regularly!) really really. It
takes no time at all to prepare my meals, and the last time I went to
the doctor to get a blood test, all my levels were normal (except i
had more calcium than the normal range, but it wasn’t harmful). you
can see how these accusations in your article came as a shock to me. I
understand you must know little about vegans and veganism, and I want
you to know that I am open minded and not trying to convert anybody, i
feel the need to defend my lifestyle from your harsh accusations and mistakes from the article. that is all. I dont care who drinks milk and who doesn’t. its not something I think about as a vegan.
poorly planned diets can be low in vitamins PERIOD. the percentage of
vegans in the united states and the UK is not relevant to the previous
sentence. Theres a reason for food guides, they’re based on research
done on nutrition and bodily requirements, everybody should follow scientifically formulated food guides for this reason.
Of course there is a lot of vitamins in milk. all mammals produce milk
for their babies to grow strong offspring. The milk of every species
is formulated specifically for the nutritional requirements of their
btw: you weren’t very specific, and I’d like to know what the “gaping flaws in the vegan doctrine” are. (looks like you used a thesaurus for more articulate vegan-bashing)
In the paragraph where you refer to “naive vegan parents” i wonder if
you’re referring to the negligence of the 2 parents who wouldn’t
breastfeed their baby (or give him formula) instead they only gave the infant
apple juice and soymilk, and didn’t even take the baby to the doctors
because they were psycho. this has nothing to do with veganism. Vegan
infants grow up big and strong just like everybody else. There are
many books that explain the nutritional requirements of vegan breastfeeding mothers and pregnancy and children, and its very easy to follow. In fact, two of my friends just had a child, and their doctor told them
that the only thing they needed to be aware of, as vegans raising a
vegan baby, is getting enough b12.
Breast milk is the best food for babies, if a child does not get breastmilk, their immune system suffers (babies dont have fully functioning immune systems
until 1 full year!) In medical emergencies where the mother cannot
breastfeed, doctors will recommend a nutritious formula in an attempt
to fulfill the baby’s needs. its never the same though. Once the
child has been weaned (about 4 years world wide) the body stops
producing lactase, as now the child is growing into a fully functional
adult and no longer needs to absorb lactose. In fact, to introduce
lactose to a fully weaned adult causes much bodily distress, untill
the cycle of lactase production is forced. It is not natural for
adults of any species to drink milk. Its no more natural for a human
to suck on a cows udders. These are a couple reasons why I personally
have made the choice to get my calcium from other, more alkaline
sources, like vegetables.
I think its wrong to take milk from any
baby. and I would never, as a woman, want any other woman to
experience another species pulling on their breasts to steal milk from
their mammaries without consent. I feel that the dairy industry is
offensive to womankind. As a woman, and a mother, I dont approve of
I’m not a fan of peta or anything, and i haven’t looked at any of the antimilk websites you reference. i’m not really aware of the campaign against milk in general.
If one wants to drink a cup of milk a day, instead of a cup of
vegetables a day, for the same nutrients, i wont judge them. To each
their own. but to claim milk is a superior form of nutrients to the
other sources is uneducated. Dairy causes a form of acid induced
hypocalciurea. where the body uses its own stores of calcium to fix
the pH of the milk ingested after the protein separates, releasing the sulphur bonds, which raise the acidity, causing bonds with
the calcium contained in the milk. and the excess is bonded with the osteoblast’s calcium stores. this fixed balance is then unattainably
urinated out of the body, and the calcium absorbed is less than other
more alkaline sources. this is one reason why i’d rather drink a cup of calcium fortified orange juice or 3 corn tortillas than a glass of milk. (calcium is so easy to get from veggie sources!)
there also are strong correlations to osteoporosis
in countries that drink the most milk.
a mother cow produces the amount of milk her baby calf needs. once the
calf has grown and weaned naturally the milk is no longer produced
until another pregnancy happens. the accusation of painful udders is
an uneducated one. any woman who has breastfed can tell you what
mammary pressure feels like. Humans and Cows have the same milk
It is true that dairy cows are forced into pregnancy 6 or 7 times
before becoming burger cattle, and the 6 or 7 baby calves are sold to
the veal industry. I believe the best way not to contribute to this
form of suffering, is to not purchase or consume dairy products. I am
buddhist in order to impose the least amount of suffering to other
beings, and veganism is how i realize this goal. I understand that the
process of dairy causes more suffering than the normal process of meat
production per cow.
Please in the future, try to be mindful of the widespread effects of an article
that bashes a harmless lifestyle choice. i’m not the only person who
was affected negatively by your words.
Genevieve, I can’t speak for the author, but from my perspective, as the editor of this publication, though I agree that the article is aggressive, I don’t think it is saying that by being vegan you are a threat to bovine. It rather says that those who are pro exclusive veganism are in a long run not solving the issue, but are perhaps even indirectly contributing to it.
Thank you for reading our publication and thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback.
the article is called, “the vegan threat to bovine welfare”, I am pro exclusive veganism, and i can not for the life of me foresee an end result of more bovine suffering from vegans like myself boycotting the whole industry. It is very easy to introduce new habits, and wean off of milk.
I mean, I understand the whole purpose of veganism for me is to avoid contributing to bovine suffering.
the only information I see from the article to try to support the point that vegans cause more bovine suffering in the long run, is that the author thinks veganism is somehow unhealthy (which is not true) and that vegans are aggressive nazis (which is also not true) and those 2 people who murdered their baby by neglect are the reason people shouldn’t be vegan because they made vegetarians look bad? (those people were insane, they wouldn’t even breastfeed their child because they didn’t understand what vegan means)
Hitler was a vegetarian, not a vegan. by the author’s logic, vegetarianism should be too much to ask from the public because of the bad publicity hitler caused the ‘movement’.
veganism is one step further than vegetarianism. its easy to make the switch once casein addiction is overcome (milk contains opiate derivatives to keep the calf breastfeeding for survival). we are all capable of learning how to cook new things. I have a great amount of faith in humankind. It is my honest opinion that the only reason most vegetarians drink milk is out of ignorance of the process (ignorance truly is bliss). most humans are lactose intolerant naturally, its is a genetic mutation on a genome in caucasian individuals that first began allowing adults to tolerate milk. its amazing that the milk of another species was tolerated at all! (there is an immune response to foreign animal proteins) the act of manipulating the lactation of another species has historically helped humans survive through tough times in order to evolve into what we are today, and now we have the choice to drink or not to drink. i feel that is a blessing to have a choice.
veganism has been around for thousands of years, practiced by monks, and more recently in the 1940s the american vegan society branched off from the UKs vegetarian society. Vegans are also vegetarians, we need to respect each other and value every effort made to reduce suffering in animals. All vegetarians (vegans included) should be supported, not condemned.
It is my intention to live my life in a way consistent with my personal values of loving and respecting other beings, cows and their babies included, my entire purpose for veganism is to prevent suffering, I feel it is a mistake to call us strict vegetarians: victims of a ‘fad of veganism’ enveloped in a ‘false cocoon’. what is false about trying to avoid all animal products? I suppose my biggest question is (if its nutritious and easy), Why Not?? We can make nice non-dairy foodstuffs to share to our brothers and sisters who want to opt out of dairy consumption, vegan recipes are overflowing off the internet. From what I understand, Srila Prabhupad would seemingly agree that we dont have to drink dairy if we dont want to, and we shouldn’t be judged by other people for refusing dairy. In his time things were different. It was seen as a sacrifice to refuse meat. Today you can go to a fancy restaurant and order a crazy delicious vegan meal, you could go to taco bell for bean burritos or burger king and order a BK veggie, or call a number and get a delicious, nutritious veggie pizza delivered to your door.
These are times of choice, not necessity. The alternative dairy industry is thriving and growing, Silk the soymilk company recently was bought out by a mainstream dairy because they know many health conscious people are switching to soy and almond milk. Vegan diets are being prescribed to patients with heart conditions by doctors and surgeons (my uncle was one of these patients). veganism is not a fad, but an old lifestyle, recently gaining popularity because of the health benefits(5 a day), the ecological benefits (in these times of global warming), and our own ignorance of the dairy process (veal industry).
The only reason my vegan friends stopped going to the krishna temple, is because they found out the temple puts milk and ghee in everything. If you want to include our vegan brothers and sisters we only have to omit the animal products from the food. you cant even taste the difference! and then we would unify the vegetarian movement with love and krishna consciousness. not THATS good public relations. (just a suggestion)
I feel I should emphasize that vegetarianism is a path in which veganism is the logical result. Not everybody has to go there. But I also agree vegetarianism should be attained (and gotten used to) before going to the next level.
Its easy to say, ‘stealing milk from a lactating mother is a violent action’ but i recognize the long transition, I was vegetarian for several years before deciding to commit to veganism.
As veganism is a total commitment to non-violence, you must commit to some non-violence before committing exclusively.
Genevieve, you wrote:
“The only reason my vegan friends stopped going to the krishna temple, is because they found out the temple puts milk and ghee in everything.”
Think about it.
Krishna steals butter and yogurt, and feeds His friends, and monkeys, with it after eating milk products Himself. God is not vegan 🙂 Are you, or your friends, more compassionate toward cows than Govinda?
Milking cows is what Srimati Radharani, and her friends in Goloka Vrindavana, are doing, knowing it will be given to Krishna. Is Radharani somehow abusing cows? Krishna is Govinda, giver of pleasure to cows (and senses). Why would God, Krishna, do something that abuses cows if He loves them so much?
If you want to be vegan, go ahead. Just don’t insist that Krishna changes His dietary preferences. Devotees would like to see vegans start taking gentle care of cows, and offer cows’ milk to Krishna. Would vegans let cows roam in wilderness, “unexploited”, and neglected? Would they neglect bulls, as not to exploit their workforce in farming? Can you offer a working example of vegans taking loving care of cows and bulls, and engaging them in meaningful farm work?
Even if you say that cows’ udders would dry out, and offer only the amount of milk their calves need, you need to feed Krishna too, and His devotees, and you need to be around those cows when they experience discomfort from their overflowing udders. Cows’ physiology is not like human mothers’, and calves will not drink all the milk. Your compassion would take over soon, and you would milk those cows, and they would lick your face in gratitude 🙂
I understood that this article you commented upon was talking about possible negative impact of veganism on cow situation in the long run, because of difficulty to sustain the practice, for most people who would otherwise be able to maintain lacto-vegetarian diet. The question is: who would take care of all the cows? And, what Krishna wants? What your friends say about Krishna’s personality, His choices?
Your vegan friends should remember that in Krishna temple we offer food that pleases Krishna, and then we take with respect whatever He leaves behind on the plate.
Eating food in Krishna temple is optional. It is not the only way to offer devotional service, however pleasing it is to our tongues. Your friends can still benefit from Bhakti-Vedanta philosophy, and develop Krishna Bhakti in association of devotees. What service did your friends try to do in the temple? Temple is the place for divine service first, then entertainment and socializing later, all centered around Krishna. Divine service is what satisfies the heart.
Yoga takes time, to see results, and in Krishna temple we practice Bhakti-yoga. If Krishna wanted us to eat meat, we would not be vegetarians. Our vegetarianism is incidental, result of Krishna’s preferences, and not the essence of our yoga practice.
Many animals are vegetarians, but that doesn’t make them yogis. To eat meat would mean we are against Krishna’s instructions for civilized humans, and that wouldn’t help us develop Krishna bhakti. We should eat only that which can be offered to Krishna first, and that includes milk products.
We may write articles referring to research and common sense, but ultimately our practice is guided by spiritual tradition we are inspired by.
Krishna will accept vegan offering too, when cooked with love in our home. But, on the temple altar we are obligated to offer what Krishna wants. In our house, Krishna is a guest, but in the temple, He is in His house. Different standards altogether.
I’m so excited to see this newspaper! This is the first I’ve heard about it. I read the article on the Krishna fests, and that one was great. This article however was kind of abrasive and embarrassing.
Vegans and Hare Krishnas share the goal of protecting cows. I think that a better way to approach the vegan community would be to make veganism an option. Did Srila Prabhupada ever speak against boycotting companies that abuse cows?
All I’m saying is attacking vegans and the compassion behind what they’re doing probably isn’t the best way to convince them to chant 16 rounds, which is what I’m hoping you’re trying to do.
Still, overall marvelous and inspiring paper, and I’m going to check back to read the other articles.
We live in the age of Kali…Kali Yuga, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Unless people have access to and embrace the absolute truth, all of society will be in illusion about just about everything.The human form of life is meant for self realization and fighting over anything should only be for the goal of spiritual advancement, otherwise, it is useless and alienating.