People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India have urged AMUL to switch to the production of vegan milk.
Would PETA ask Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to stop selling burgers stuffed with fried animal flesh and instead stuff aaloo tikki?
People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India have urged AMUL, India’s foremost, pioneering producer cooperative society that has changed the lives of millions of dairy farmers, 70 per cent of them landless, to switch to the production of plant-based milk, aka vegan milk.
Would PETA, which apparently has infinite love for bovines in mind, kindly explain how milking from the udders of cows and buffalos is unethical.
Does it have a similar concern for the bovines in Denmark, Switzerland, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, to just name a few countries that have a thriving dairy sector?
Zurich, Switzerland, is not only famous for its numbered bank accounts that arouse the curiosity of starry-eyed lay folks but also for its cheese, so much so that it is known as the cheese capital of the world. Would PETA dare to pontificate the denizens of Zurich, where most of the houses run a cottage industry making milk products, including cheese and chocolates?
And if ethical treatment of animals is indeed its prime concern, would it kindly ask Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) to stop selling burgers stuffed with fried chicken or mutton or beef any other animal flesh and instead stuff aaloo tikki?
Robin Cook, in his vastly informative and entertaining novel Toxin, makes a damning indictment of the American slaughterhouses and the packaged meat industry in the course of investigating the source of e.coli infection afflicting a young girl who had eaten a burger of a famous brand. Has PETA clamoured for the closure of McDonald’s and KFC or at least offered its unsolicited advice to them on the basis of the basic truths in the novel?
Instead, it conveniently tells one side of the story—“Painful inflammation of the mammary glands, or mastitis, is common among cows raised for their milk, and it is one of dairy farms’ most frequently cited reasons for sending cows to slaughter. There are about 150 bacteria that can cause the disease, one of which is E. coli. Symptoms are not always visible, so milk’s somatic cell count (SCC) is checked to determine whether the milk is infected,” says PETA. This may be true, but is it reason enough for throwing the baby with the bathwater?
Slaughterhouses’ unhygienic conditions, including indiscriminate heaping of bovine, flesh with their bones and their conversion into packaged meat slabs in factories is cited as a possible cause of toxin being passed on from burgers by Robin Cook in his novel.
PETA apparently has a beef with Indian culinary and cultural practices alone. A few years ago, it joined issues with the Indian government over Jallikattu, the Tamil Nadu version of the bullfight. Eating habits are basically spawned by availability, period, not by taste buds.
Guntur in Andhra Pradesh is known for its rich harvest of chillies which naturally makes Andhra food spicy and hot and enjoyable to them as well as to others. It is another matter that, in the long run, it might affect the liver linings due to sustained intake, just as sustained intake of alcohol too can inflict similar damage.
While caution on health grounds cannot be taken exception to, what could rile the lassi-loving Punjabis and milk-shake loving children is the condescension shown by PETA. Its assertion that vegan milk is fast replacing bovine milk is an exaggeration at best and a plain lie at worst.
For as per the draft FSSAI guidelines, plant milk and chemical milk are not milk at all in the first place. Incidentally, as recently as 26 May 2021, the Delhi High Court had issued a notice in a petition alleging “misbranding” and “mislabeling” of plant-based food/beverages extracted from almond, soya, oats etc. as “milk” and other dairy terms like ‘paneer’, ‘curd’ (dahi), ‘yoghurt’ (National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India vs. FSSAI & ors).
Let vegan practitioners and enthusiasts drink and use soya milk in making their coffee, tea and other beverages by all means but let them not run down dairy farmers and milk lovers, not even on the specious ground that bovine milk consumption leaves very little milk for the calves. Let PETA not be heard to say next that Goans, Bengalis and Keralites are leaving very little fish in the ocean for big fishes to swallow.