There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Sekha » Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:11 pm

Ben wrote:I'm wondering how many people know about the disturbing fact that in many countries, the vast majority of calves born to diary cows are slaughtered at less than five days of age. Knowing this, and that demand for milk perpetuates the intense suffering of diary cattle, is it still ethical to consume diary products?

I am glad to see you are now promoting such a logic.

I would raise another question: is it absolutely necessary to make cattle suffer beyond limits in order to produce milk? If the answer is affirmative, then it is clearly unethical. If not, the answer is not so clear, because IMO we are not responsible for the wrong choices of the farm industry, and of all those who pressure it to produce at low cost, no matter what it means for the cattle. But we then we would have to make genuine effort to consume milk that is produced without making cattle suffer, as far as it can be found. In case it is possible to get milk without cruelty, due to the fact that the cow may produce more than the calf's need, then I think it was okay in traditional societies such as at the time of the Buddha, because bulls were raised to plough fields, so they did not become useless.

That said, given the fact that dairy products are not necessary in our diet, and can even be a problem, it seems more logical to avoid them altogether, for all those reasons.
Where knowledge ends, religion begins. - B. Disraeli

http://www.buddha-vacana.org
User avatar
Sekha
 
Posts: 743
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:32 am
Location: French Guiana

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby SarathW » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:50 pm

Cow Dhamma

The following link give some insight into this OP

http://www.aimwell.org/cows.html
:pig:
SarathW
 
Posts: 2027
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby SarathW » Fri Nov 22, 2013 1:33 am

The only country in the world that has a Bill of Rights for Cows is India!!
SarathW
 
Posts: 2027
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 2:49 am

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby mahat » Fri Nov 22, 2013 2:44 pm

Industrialization of agriculture is probably the worst thing to happen to humanity and livestock. These livestock are treated as "things" and not living, breathing beings who suffer. All the meat, milk is tainted due to the torture and fear these animals face everyday. Not only is it unethical, the fear and pain of the animals obviously affect the food products.
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby cooran » Sat Nov 23, 2013 2:31 am

SarathW wrote:The only country in the world that has a Bill of Rights for Cows is India!!

What difference has it made? Nil. India is the largest exporter of meat in the world:
https://www.causes.com/actions/1749732- ... g-in-india

With metta,
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7510
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby robertk » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:30 am

that is most surprising
User avatar
robertk
 
Posts: 1235
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Digity » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:54 am

If being a non-vegan is unethical then why didn't the Buddha say you must be a vegan? Even back in the Buddha's day animals had to be slaughtered. It wasn't as bad back then, but it's still gruesome to kill an animal.

I would like to buy milk from cows that have been treated ethically, but supermarkets don't really make it easy to do so. They just give you a handful of options.

You can't guilt the universe into not wanting eggs and milk, etc. These are such staple items. What we need to do is change the practices at these factories. If you think billions of people will give up these food items tomorrow and then all the egg and milk factories will shutdown then you're dreaming. More companies that threat animals ethically need to pop up and when people start spending there money there maybe the other companies will wake up. For instance, a lot of US companies have stopped using bovine growth hormones, because people started buying organic milk which didn't use hormones. The companies got the message and stopped using it, because it effected their bottom line.

That's the only way to change their attitude. Companies think in terms of profit, profit and more profit. It's f'ed up, I get it! However, it's not going to change anytime soon. It's greed. We know how hard it is to uproot these things, right? I mean, we are Buddhist, we should have a sense of it. Either these guys will come around and learn to give up greed and want to treat all their animals more ethically or the demand for ethically treated animals will grow strong enough that the companies will have no choice, but too clean up their act. I'm not sure how realistic that it, but I do notice that interest in organic food growing....so it seems like people are getting more and more conscientious about what they put in their mouths.
Digity
 
Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby mahat » Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:22 pm

Digity wrote:If being a non-vegan is unethical then why didn't the Buddha say you must be a vegan? Even back in the Buddha's day animals had to be slaughtered. It wasn't as bad back then, but it's still gruesome to kill an animal.


Because it's a view that not many would take up since many people in the world eat meat -- Buddhism helps you whether or not you eat meat. There are people who live in extremely harsh places (ex.Alaska, Tibet) which did not have much agricultural land and so they also eat meat.

There was also another wrong view, that the meat itself was impure, i.e. if someone offered a sage meat, by accepting this offering of meat the sage became "impure" and lost his "practice" - this argument was nullified in the "Amagandha Sutta".
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Mkoll » Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:45 pm

Digity wrote:If being a non-vegan is unethical then why didn't the Buddha say you must be a vegan? Even back in the Buddha's day animals had to be slaughtered. It wasn't as bad back then, but it's still gruesome to kill an animal.


Monks don't have much choice in what they eat because they subsist on the generosity of others. Therefore they can't be vegan because they can't make that choice. On the other hand, laypeople have a choice in what they eat, much more so today than in the Iron Age. Back then, you might have had to eat animals and animal products to subsist because it was all that was available; today, we have more than enough plant food to feed the whole world several times over and choices are endless in industrialized countries.

I would like to buy milk from cows that have been treated ethically, but supermarkets don't really make it easy to do so. They just give you a handful of options.

Then why buy the supermarket milk at all? Better to just avoid it if you don't want to support bad practices. One dollar, one vote.
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 2934
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 24, 2013 6:33 pm

cooran wrote:India is the largest exporter of meat in the world:

Actually, what the article says is:
India is set to emerge as the world's leading beef exporter this year

Holy cow!

It's logical if you think about it. They cannot sell much beef in India, so most of it gets exported.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby cooran » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:20 pm

---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
User avatar
cooran
 
Posts: 7510
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Sam Vara » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:51 pm

Mkoll:

Monks don't have much choice in what they eat because they subsist on the generosity of others. Therefore they can't be vegan because they can't make that choice.


It depends on the setting. Where monastics are given a wide variety of almsfoods, it is very easy for them to be vegan. I know several vegan monks in the UK and elsewhere. The politely refuse any non-vegan food, and supporters who know them ensure that they get what they require.
User avatar
Sam Vara
 
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 24, 2013 7:59 pm

To be fair, I think you need to give figures per head of the human population.

USA = 33,205,000 cattle slaughtered in 2013 (pop 317,128,000)
India = 37,825,000 cattle slaughtered in 2013 (pop 1,236,840,000)
Brazil = 41,060,000 cattle slaughtered in 2013 (pop 201,032,714)

I think that shows it in a fairer perspective.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Mkoll » Sun Nov 24, 2013 8:18 pm

Sam Vara wrote:Mkoll:

Monks don't have much choice in what they eat because they subsist on the generosity of others. Therefore they can't be vegan because they can't make that choice.


It depends on the setting. Where monastics are given a wide variety of almsfoods, it is very easy for them to be vegan. I know several vegan monks in the UK and elsewhere. The politely refuse any non-vegan food, and supporters who know them ensure that they get what they require.


I should have been more specific: I was speaking with the context of Ancient India in mind and of mendicants in general. Beggars can't be choosers.

Today, of course, I agree with you: many monks have the means to choose to be vegan and I'm happy to hear that you know of some who make that choice.

:anjali:
Peace,
James
User avatar
Mkoll
 
Posts: 2934
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: California, USA

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sun Nov 24, 2013 10:08 pm

In Cow Dhamma:
Ledi Sayādaw wrote:Monks who try to observe the Vinaya rules, only gain purity of body and speech. They must observe the Vinaya rules since the Buddha alone is competent to promulgate them. The Vinaya rules are issued from the Buddha’s authority, that is the power of command. Monks breaking the Vinaya rules incur the guilt known as rebellion against the Buddha’s command (nāvītikkamma). This danger is always present. So when the Buddha allows meat with the three-fold purity to be taken by the monks, the monks have to obey. Moreover, the monks have to beg for food, relying on the help of the laity. They cannot refuse what has been offered on their daily almsround.

Having accepted meat or fish, eggs or milk, a monk does not have to consume it. He can share it with his fellow monks.

In my opinion, it is more important for monks (and lay people when invited by others) to practice contentment with whatever is offered. However, one should not eat food that is bad for one's health. One can usually eat a little of most things without any ill-effects. If food or (anything else) that is not allowable for monks is offered, then of course they can refuse it. If he already has sufficient, then he can also refuse it. One should not accept more than the almsbowl can hold.
AIM WebsitePāli FontsIn This Very LifeBuddhist ChroniclesSoftware (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)
User avatar
Bhikkhu Pesala
 
Posts: 2007
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 8:17 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby mahat » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:16 pm

As someone belonging to an Indian farmer's family, we only milked cows AFTER their baby calves were completely fed. Only then would we take the milk for ourselves. This was the ethos of most Indians before we came to the US…modern India is a whole different animal...

Milk from happy and loved cows are like ambrosia…it is so naturally sweet and nurturing…I have been fortunate to have tasted this milk... :twothumbsup: I still have some farmland back there and I hope someday I can make use of it.

If you grow a being from birth, they are like your family. To kill the animal is a breach of trust. I don't consider such people to be real farmers, if the very animals you raised can't trust you, how can I? There's no such thing as, "I bought these animals for slaughter"…
mahat
 
Posts: 71
Joined: Fri Nov 15, 2013 2:36 pm

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Digity » Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:40 am

I plan to switch to Organic Meadows milk. According to their FAQ the animals are treated ethically. Also, the milk actually tastes a lot better than regular milk. What are thoughts on organic milk? Seems like a good answer to the ethical question of drinking milk.
Digity
 
Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Ben » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:53 am

Digity wrote:I plan to switch to Organic Meadows milk. According to their FAQ the animals are treated ethically. Also, the milk actually tastes a lot better than regular milk. What are thoughts on organic milk? Seems like a good answer to the ethical question of drinking milk.


With regards to ethics - you should find out from the diary what they do with the male offspring of their lactating cows. If the male calves are sent to the slaughterhouse, them that would be something to consider.
Kind regards,
Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

- Hereclitus


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
User avatar
Ben
Site Admin
 
Posts: 16061
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:49 am
Location: Land of the sleeping gods

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Digity » Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Ben wrote:
Digity wrote:I plan to switch to Organic Meadows milk. According to their FAQ the animals are treated ethically. Also, the milk actually tastes a lot better than regular milk. What are thoughts on organic milk? Seems like a good answer to the ethical question of drinking milk.


With regards to ethics - you should find out from the diary what they do with the male offspring of their lactating cows. If the male calves are sent to the slaughterhouse, them that would be something to consider.
Kind regards,
Ben


Here's what they say in their FAQ:
What happens to the bull calves that are born?

Bull calves are obviously born about 50% of the time. Each of our farms are individually owned and operated so the decisions made at the farm level are up to the farmer.

When a bull calf is born our farmers have the following options:

First, they can be raised for breeding, however not many bulls are used for this purpose because they can become quite aggressive, which becomes a safety issue for small children.

Secondly, the bull calves can be raised for organic veal. Fortunately, there isn’t a large market for organic veal and our farmers don’t usually go for this option.

And lastly, which just happens to be done almost all of the time, the bull calves are raised on the family farm or sold to be raised for beef, ideally on an organic farm.


Source: http://organicmeadow.com/why_organic/faqs?s=&c=3
Digity
 
Posts: 582
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:13 am

Re: There's blood in your milk. The ethics of consumption

Postby Sokehi » Mon Nov 25, 2013 5:18 pm

I lived vegan for 5 years and maintained an extroardinary good health (regularly checked by my doctor). Not doing this anymore, but still avoiding milk wherever possible (added medicines, hormones etc. don't seem to be very tasty, healthy, appropriate) I mainly drink rice milk or soy milk from good environmentally aware sources. At least that's over here in germany possible.
Get the wanting out of waiting

What does womanhood matter at all, when the mind is concentrated well, when knowledge flows on steadily as one sees correctly into Dhamma. One to whom it might occur, ‘I am a woman’ or ‘I am a man’ or ‘I’m anything at all’ is fit for Mara to address. – SN 5.2

If they take what's yours, tell yourself that you're making it a gift.
Otherwise there will be no end to the animosity. - Ajahn Fuang Jotiko

https://www.youtube.com/user/Repeataarrr
User avatar
Sokehi
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:27 pm
Location: Germany

PreviousNext

Return to Ethical Conduct

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest