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Sham Yemul

Managing Director, Intellisoft Computer Consultants Pvt Ltd

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Drinking Cow/Buffalo or any animal's Milk is Ethical ?

I feel, we are doing UN-justice to animals getting milk from their for day-today food needs. Right from schools and child-hood, we have been taught to drink milk of animals, specially in India we have cow & buffalo milk.
When I realized that its meant for animals(their new born babies) and not for human beings, we are really doing un-justice. Should not we find an alternative for milk ? should not we teach children that its not ethical to grab milk of new born babies for human beings.
We modern science, and techniques, adding the automation, it has really became a life like living machine for animals

should not be there a right to the animals to refuse giving their milk for human beings for their day-today consumption ?


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    Jun 17 2013: Well, I care more about human beings than I do about cows, so if the human beings are enjoying the milk, I am okay with it.
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      Jul 2 2013: Perhaps choosing to do no sentient beings harm, regardless of their species designation, would better position us to lead our society out of the discriminations we insist upon within our own species category.
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        Jul 2 2013: Well, it could cut both ways, Kelly. To me, milk tastes better than plants, and when I'm well-fed with food I enjoy, I probably treat my fellow human beings better. So for me it might be better to drink milk.

        Also, my impression is that plants are somewhat sentient. Haven't they done experiments where, if you hold fire close to a plant, the plant feels something like fear?

        I look forward to your response, no doubt I'll learn something from you.
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          Jul 2 2013: False. It's a taste habit that leaves your tongue in a month. The instant gratification of transient hedonistic pleasure seeking does not contribute to overall human happiness nor to fulfillment. Additionally, since you have yet to explore a wide variety of plant-based foods, you do not know what you will like or dislike. And if we are not doing unto others as we would have those more powerful than us do to us, than we give those to whom we are powerless the right to harm us. If you can find the study you mention, I would be very interested to look it up! But even so, they still do not have the fundamentally identical neurological structures that you share with other vertebrates for the experiences of pain, pleasure, fear, and desire. If you are screaming and crying, it is because you want the pain to stop, you are calling for help -- same with the cows. Additionally, one must eat plants to survive, but one does not have to brutalize and slaughter other likewise (recognizably) sentient beings to survive (beings who also have metabolisms and so consume, for cows, 7-13lbs of grain per pound of meat). You wouldn't force an innocent human or to your dog or your friend's dog to be permanently pregnant and hooked up to a machine that mutilates her, sucking out pus and blood with her milk and stealing away her children so that you could drink her milk instead (which was never meant for you -- think about sucking on a cow's utter for a second) while her babies are made to suffer the same fate or are shoved into immobilizing crates to be hacked up for their soft baby flesh, so why an innocent other fully sentient animal with whom you can empathize as well as you can with another human?
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        Jul 3 2013: Well, Kelly, as far as studies on plants go, I haven't looked into them thoroughly. I would think you could google "sentience of plants" or something similar and find much info on what I'm referring to. I did read the wikipedia article on "The Secret Life of Plants," which I believe was a film on this subject (with a soundtrack by Stevie Wonder), and it certainly seemed to maintain that plants are quite sentient.

        As far as milk goes, well, I've written about this before on TED, for the last five years I've been literally living on milk, every day I drink about two gallons of organic skim milk, and I don't eat or drink anything else, 365 days/year. I do it for my health, when I eat solid food, including vegetables, I don't feel as good, I find that the milk is easier for my body to process as it is food already in liquid form. Since I don't think my body is very different from other people's, I believe milk is better for other people as well, for the same reason, that it is very easy to process, but perhaps they aren't as sensitive to the different way that milk makes them feel versus solid food. So that might be a great argument for milk, that you feel better on it, which makes sense, as it is the first food nature provides.

        Beyond that I don't have much of an answer for you. I could say that there are many more cows in the world because we drink milk, in other words many cows get to live life who never would have been born if we didn't farm them. Also, one wonders if cows get any satisfaction out of knowing that some creature is drinking their milk and enjoying it, even if it isn't their own baby.
        These aren't super-powerful arguments.

        I go for organic milk because the cows are raised more humanely than on the factory farms that produce the "conventional" milk.
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          Jul 3 2013: "Organic" just means "not pumped with antibiotics or hormones." They are still in small cages; still feed grains that are incompatible with their systems; still raped with metal rods for insemination; still permanently pregnant their very short lives until their utters are exhausted at which time they become hamburgers; still get hooked to mutilating, painful machines; still have their infants stolen from them to suffer the same fate or be shoved into immobilizing crates to be sold for their baby flesh. And no, a COW's milk is NOT the first food nature provides for a human. Would you suck directly on her udder all day (after doing all the things listed above to her yourself, experiencing her writing and screaming yourself)? What you should really be doing is breastfeeding from human females (we could make a farm for these human females, stuffing them into small cages; feeding then wheat all day; raping them with metal rods for insemination in order to force them to be permanently pregnant their very short lives until their breasts are exhausted at which time they could become dog food; hooking to mutilating, painful machines; and stealing their infants from them to suffer the same fate or be shoved into immobilizing crates to be sold for their baby flesh).
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          Jul 3 2013: Additionally, even if you do insist on unproven plant sentience just in case (as frugivores do -- they just eat what is made to fall off the plant) then should the aim not be to do the minimum damage possible for one's own survival? (When you consume one pound of beef, you kill the cow and 7-13lbs of grain).
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          Jul 3 2013: Aaaaaaand we seem to have also forgotten the ecological costs (livestock are responsible for more GHG emissions than transportation, in addition to water and soil pollution, and the use of a full third of our arable land, and incredible water consumption (100x as much water per pound of cow carcass as per pound of wheat) when there are droughts and 1.5 million children dying of starvation every year and the effects of anthropogenically accelerated climate change have already started damaging our world?
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          Jul 3 2013: And more still! Plant-based nutrition is THE healthiest option. Even Kaiser is now pushing for its 17,000 doctors to recommend it to EVERYONE.

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        Jul 3 2013: Well, Kelly, organic I believe means different things in different states. In California, for a farmer to call his milk organic, his cows have to graze on actual grass growing in a pasture at least 75% of the year. I'm not going to say these cows have a great life, but it is better than the "factory farms" where they are corralled rather densely in small corrals (although a corral is not quite as bad as a cage), and fed hay that has already been cut and is dumped in front of their corrals.

        No, a cow's milk is not the same as a human mother's, but it is the closest we can get, it doesn't seem right to ask human mothers to provide milk for fellow adult human beings unrelated to them.

        Again, I hate to say it, but the only way I feel at least moderately good physically is to live on milk. If I eat solid food, I feel bad physically, I think this includes vegetable dishes. Certainly I have it in mind to be as humane as possible, I pay twice as much for organic milk knowing the cows have a better life.

        I hope we'll see more and more movement toward organic and even more radically humane ways to raise cows. What interests me the most is the Masai way of herding cows, where they take them to the plains all day and graze them on naturally growing grass. They are a tribe in Kenya, if you've never read about them, they're pretty interesting.

        I still rank people above cows. If people feel better and perform better on cow milk than plants (which I do, and believe others do although they may not be as tuned in to it), I'm going to let the cows have discomfort rather than short the people.
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          Jul 3 2013: "It doesn't seem right to ask human mothers to provide milk for fellow adult human beings unrelated to them" BUT MILK FROM ANOTHER SPECIES IS OKAY? (Again, NEVER meant for you in the first place! Suck on a cow's udder all day if you insist otherwise!)

          So WHY rank the homo sapiens designation "above" other species? (Just as white slave drivers in the 1800s ranked pale-skinned humans over humans with decidedly sufficiently dark pigmentation.)

          "Short the people"? See my comment about the ecological costs (the costs TO PEOPLE) of livestock.

          And see the rest of my comments above.
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        Jul 3 2013: Well, for me, milk from another species is okay. Honestly, Kelly, I have sympathy for animals, I'm the guy who will rescue a fallen baby bird and take it to an animal rescue, but, well, I don't really know why, to some degree I think it's just because I can, but I'm okay with people dominating animals. As I say, for myself, I believe I perform better on milk than I would on a vegan diet, and I would guess that others do, too, although they may not be as aware of it. Do you think people are more intelligent than animals, because if you agree people are more intelligent, wouldn't it indicate that animals don't suffer as much from being dominated as do humans, since they can't think about their situation as much.

        I tend to think that cow's milk is actually the most cost-effective because it is so cheap. If you were to live on cow's milk, let's say of the conventional variety, you could live on two gallons a day, which would cost you six dollars, and you'd be well-fed and happy. Could you make a really satisfying vegan diet for a man for six dollars a day, when I do check vegetables in the store, they seem pretty costly. That's not even to talk about lost work-days, because I tell you, Kelly, people perform better on milk than they do on vegetables, and can do more work.
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          Jul 3 2013: So surely you must be okay with people dominating other homo sapiens who merely happen to be powerless to them then -- you must be "okay" with robbery, rape, and murder. "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" makes NO exclusionary clause for those powerless to you, it is entirely the point, because you would want others powerful enough to hurt you to decide not to.

          If I can justify hurting others because I am more intelligent than them... then is it acceptable for me to exploit the 99.9% of the human population who scores lower than myself on an IQ test?

          Again, not cost-effective, not cheap, look at those ecological costs. Beans and rice are cheaper, financially, ecologically, and ethically. And no, no we don't perform better on a pure cow-milk diet (our bodies are not made to digest even HUMAN milk after a couple years, much less the milk of another species), unless of course you have the peer-reiewed evidence to support that claim (I showed you Kaiser's paper on plant-based nutrition). Nutrition has nothing to do with "beliefs" and you cannot possibly know that your health would not improve if you do not TRY (and the scientific literature should give you a solid predictability of how much your health would improve).
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        Jul 5 2013: Another advantage of living on milk is that there's so little cleanup, very little washing of dishes, waste of soap and hot water, rarely any food waste or garbage or food packaging to throw away. Every day I just carry a couple of empty plastic milk jugs to the recycling barrel.

        I also think milk tastes better than vegan dishes, and I give human beings the right to eat food that tastes good.

        I also think there is a natural balance where we cannot treat cows too badly or they will die, and we don't want that. Our own selfish interest in keeping cows alive forces us to treat them at least somewhat well.
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          Jul 5 2013: False. Even if it's "free-range" and even if your find "grassfed" dairy, the cows are repeatedly raped them with metal rods to inseminate them so that they can be permanently pregnant and hooked to mutilating machines (that suck out blood and pus along with the milk) and life out very short lives before becoming hamburgers anyways and are torn from all of their infants who suffer the same fate or are crammed into immobilizing cages to be sold for their baby flesh all so that humans can drink her milk which was absolutely not meant for us anyways (we can't even digest human milk properly after infancy -- and go suck on a cow's udder) instead. And if not "free-range", she's in an immobilizing cage her whole short life. Literally ZERO of that can be called anything other than cruel, much less "somewhat well". Taste (no use to survival, or health (and detrimental to health, as discussed earlier in several links) and ps that taste habit goes away in a month anyways) =/= justification of violence.
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        Jul 5 2013: Well, "rape" might be a slightly strong word, it does not seem to me that a cow is as terrified by being artificially inseminated as a human woman is by being raped. Are cows really permanently pregnant, when I've talked to dairy farmers I believe they suggested the cow keeps giving milk for up to a year after giving birth, so there is no need to immediately get her pregnant again. Are the machines mutilating, as I say we have a real interest in not mutilating valuable livestock. Do the cows mind being torn from their calves, they actually are not torn away immediately, they do nurse for a while, they rarely fight being separated, I don't know how they feel. I don't know about us not being able to digest milk, as I say I've been literally living on skim milk for the last five years and I definitely feel better than when I eat solid food. As far as that goes, I think milk will always taste better to me than vegetables, I've certainly had ample opportunity to compare the two, having been alive 53 years. I don't know, Kelly, I tend to believe that plants also suffer when we harvest them, for example I don't think an orange tree particularly enjoys being denuded of all its oranges in one fell swoop. I suppose all eating involves some exploitation of another creature, I guess we are just an apex predator, I'm okay with it.

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