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it seems i have stepped on a nerve with some vegans on Facebook on the issue of dairy. i was taught that not only is Dairy in violation of veganism and enslavement no matter how 'humane' it is made out to be, but now i am being told that there is such a thing as 'cruelty-free' dairy, known as Hare Kirshna ISKCON dairy. i even got blocked by some fellow vegans there on my calling it yet another neo-welfare stand and helping once again promote more free-range milk

 

if you want to read here is a sample from one 'vegan' commentator:

 

As a practitioner of veganism before coming to Krishna consciousness this is something close to my heart.
Many devotees don't know the facts about modern dairy and use it without question, yet ISKCON should be moving towards either cruelty free dairy or veganism instead of justifying use of factory dairy which isn't necessary. It's often a discrepancy in our preaching when many people are vegan and see use of modern dairy on a par with eating meat almost.
I'd love to support ISKCON farms that can supply milk to people in cities, and the next best thing would be the offset idea which will hopefully allow the farms to sustain and increase their important cow protection programs.

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Of course, being vegetarian is different from being vegan, that's why people react like this. Vegans refuse to use any animal product, saying if non human animals had the choice, which they don't have when bred by humans, they wouldn't give us their milk, or any other part....so taking the cow's milk is exploiting animals, and vegans refuse all non humans' exploitation. It's not about how the cows are treated, it's that NO cow should be used by humans.........and cow milk, anyway is very bad for humans. It's only good for calves!
I agree and would add that (as I assume you know) that veganism is a life philosophy whereas vegetarianism is a diet. It bugs me when people thinking veganism simply means you don't eat meat, dairy, and eggs. However, that dietary choice is just one of many behaviors that derive from a vegan philosophy. (I always define veganism not in terms of what we avoid but rather in terms of what we embrace, also.)

"safe in the knowledge it is truly ethical ..."

 

So says the audio on Ahimsa's website ... accompanying an image of a calf with a plastic tag in its ear ...

 

I'm sure they have good intentions, but there really is no way to exploit another living being in an ethical manner.

in french, we have a word for people who don't eat any animal product, but still wear leather shoes for example, we call them "végétaliens", which could be translated "vegetalians". I don't see it used here on the site though......they are not vegetarians, as vegetarians do eat dairy....

 

I've had a similar experience, Nick. I guess most of us have engaged into some discussion with either ISKON or other religious group finding excuses to use animals in some way. The answers given were pretty much the same as the ones you posted there not knowing the present reality of milk industries, supporting "happy" milk, and the possibility of going vegan altogether. This latter option was fortunately supported by some members of the Uruguay ISKON community last year, including a priest (or master, I don't remember), but only to the extent that the rearest ISKON farm is several hundred kilometers into Brazil.

Yet other members even mixed the characteristic "mystical bond with the mother cow" with somehow "rational" excuses to use dairy as "cow milk is the only food that can wield brain connection" or something of the sort!

All in all, and putting all this into my own (don't blame me, I like to reflect this way! ;-D) "Rational/Irrational" scheme: traditional religious beliefs supporting the use of dairy as "traditional" to their rituals could be understood as some kind of "addiction", while the second position, fearing not being able to weld our brain's connections, could be understood as "fear".

First of all let's be clear about this, I agree exploitation is exploitation no matter what, no controversy.

The so called "cult freedom", just as any other freedom ends where other being's freedom begins.

I don't know which is more of a cult, religious use of animals, or (new)welfarist "happy" use of animals. Have you guys argued with any supporter of welfare? That's one of a huge cult!

Whether or not we realize it, we ALL have this ethical struggle in how we THINK about food and how we treat animals (if we treat them) FOR that food (and that includes what we feed carnivorous (or even OMnivorous) 'pets'.

 

Unless we manage to effectively ABOLISH all animal agriculture, the 'cultural synthesis' that ISKCON and many Hindus and Jains propose is 'eco-friendly' codependency with beasts of burden (and milking them).

 

But let's look back at what Immanuel Kant taught about ethics:

"There's NOTHING GOOD EXCEPT a GOOD WILL."

Now, for all that the religious faiths (wisdom traditions) have taught about the failure of the good will, the moral BONDAGE of human volition (Puritans and Calvinists, perhaps Buddhists also), and the moral fallibility of the will (even PETA says, as far back as the 1980s, that "Good intentions are not enough."), the moral legitimacy OF good will (and good intentions) is something that we don't have sufficiently throughout the 6.9-billion-person strong human species.

 

The demonstrations in Egypt have been plagued by (a) first hate speech (yes, about the dictator), (b) then physical violence (clashing demonstrator).  Good will?  It wasn't negotiable in civil social relations, and that's a problem.  In AR circles, polemical wars get us very little, yet they far too often characterize OUR version of 'free speech'.

 

In the Bible, as in OTHER wisdom traditions, we read that we are NOT to vaunt ourselves (be proud and vain).

 

Yes, there IS such a thing as 'political realism' and 'social realism' where (as we often hear around here in bioethics at Harvard) "The perfect is (or may be) the enemy of the good."  Is a lower (more "realistic") target to be preferred over keeping the higher standard 'out there' in front of others?

 

Consider the abolitionists who don't want us working on 'welfarist' issues because animals aren't better in the long-run [we've just rescued some, but we've not saved (m)any in the long-run].

 

Is dairy necessary?  The rise of successful veganism shows that it is not, but our social history will provide the vegan fodder for empirical, epidemiological research on our historical experiment.  Will we REALLY have succeeded when the data is all in?  

 

In our "Ethical Vegans' LinkedIn forums, we don't allow discussion of dairy cows as a live historical option UNLESS we discuss these issues vis a vis ever-improving vegan possibilities (because without a long-term historical commitment to abolitionism, are we liberating animals at all, or do we have any MEANINGFUL concept of 'rights' for sentient nonhumans?).

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