Gain for one does not necessarily have to result in the loss of another. However, this is exactly what PETA India recommends. In the recent controversy raked up by the alleged animal welfare organization, PETA India wants to shut the flourishing dairy industry under the garb of ‘veganism.’
So much so, that the organization issued sermons to Amul India, one of the largest contributors to the dairy industry to start producing ‘vegan milk’ instead. The campaign being run by PETA India is not only ignorant but a direct attack on the country’s economy.
The organization had to be schooled by Amul’s MD, RS Sodhi who questioned if the NGO will give livelihood to 100 million dairy farmers, 70% of whom are landless. “Who will pay for children school fee, how many can afford expensive lab-manufactured factory food made out of chemicals, and synthetic vitamins”, he asked.
Will they give livelihood to 100 million dairy farmers (70% landless) , who will pay for children school fee .. how many can afford expensive lab manufactured factory food made out of chemicals … And synthetic vitamins .. https://t.co/FaJmnCAxdO— R S Sodhi (@Rssamul) May 28, 2021
The organization continuing with its campaign indulged in virtue signalling by claiming that no one needs milk after infancy and if at all one wants to consume, one should go for non-dairy milk, like the ‘milk’ made from soya, coconut and other nuts. When questioned about the affordability by one Twitter user, the organization advised the user to produce plant-based milk at home.
Nobody needs milk after infancy but if you want the creamy taste, try milk best for humans, not calves, such as from peas, rice, soya, coconut, hemp, tiger nuts, macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, oats, peanuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds or other plants. 🥛🥥 #vegan— PETA India (@PetaIndia) May 30, 2021
When probed by the netizens about its selective targeting and inaction on animal slaughter/ cruelty during Islamic festivals, PETA India quickly took shelter of a topic sensitive to the Hindu community. In a bizarre insinuation, the organization pinned the blame of cow slaughter on the consumption of dairy products.
PETA India remarked that dairy consumption remains the major reason why the ban on cow slaughter in India has been inefficient and on the contrary encouraged beef consumption.
To justify their bizarre hypothesis, PETA India has been sharing a video from 2010 shot at a stable with no facts, figures or statistics to support the claims but simply implies that animal cruelty for milk production, abandoning milk-producing cattle and artificial insemination is prevalent across the dairy industry.
This is why many people are choosing vegan. https://t.co/lmJPiaDvxQ— PETA India (@PetaIndia) May 30, 2021
But here’s the catch. We need not shut an entire industry to safeguard animals from cruelty. We have a better campaign plan for the organization should they choose to pay heed.
Animal shelters and gaushalas
Since PETA India claims that dairy consumption has led to an increase in cow slaughter as agriculturists are forced to sell their cattle when no longer profitable, the organization can instead encourage building gaushalas and animal shelters.
In fact, as an animal welfare organization, PETA India must start its own gaushala to rescue the cattle allegedly abused by the dairy industry.
The organization in fact can also run extensive online campaigns urging people to support organizations like Dakshin Vrindavan, Peepal Farm, Bhaktivedanta Swami Goshala and Gau Nandi Seva which work towards rescuing cows from slaughter and giving them a home and treatment if needed.
The aforementioned gausadans do not in fact milk cows and just act as a shelter home where they are given proper care, medical attention and love.
Some gausadans instead make use of cow dung to create products in demand to help sustain themselves. A little help from a world-renowned organization will surely help them take care of more cows and cattle thus contributing to their cause of animal welfare.
So instead of snatching away the livelihoods of 8.4 million diary farmers and jobs of millions, the organization can promote animal shelters, thereby opening new avenues of animal welfare, employment as well as income in the nation.
Why shutting down of dairy industry can prove lethal
The dairy sector not only provides employment to millions of rural households but also contributes to the economy accounting for 67.2 per cent of the livestock sector. As per a report, 8.4 million farmers depend on the dairy sector for their livelihoods annually, out of which 71 per cent constitute of women. Empowering the farmers, around 60 per cent of the consumer price from milk goes to the farmer in India.
While a dairy company may be able to switch to plant-based products from milk, the dairy farmers won’t be able to. As already pointed out by the Amul MD, most of dairy farmers are landless, which means they can’t cultivate the crops that can be used to produce ‘vegan milk’. While cows can be reared almost anywhere, the specific crops that can produce milk alternatives may not be suitable for all climates and land types. This means, even the dairy farmers with land may not be able to grow them.
Another important fact is that contrary to claims by PETA India, ‘vegan milk’ may not be safe like dairy milk. This is because, the ‘plant-based milk’ is produced from soya, nuts, rice etc in food processing industries where the crop goes through extensive processing, and where several chemicals are used to extract the ‘milk’. It also means that while at present the Amul is owned by millions of farmers, only few big corporates having such processing plants will control the ‘milk’ market, if the market moves from dairy milk to ‘vegan milk’.