OK. I think this one is a no brainer, but here goes anyway.
I don’t think you should support slaughter-free dairy. I think people should stop taking milk from cows and only consume plant-derived milks.
What prompts this statement?
There is currently an IndieGoGo campaign raising funds for a ‘no slaughter’ dairy farm in the UK called The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation.
If you have ever thought that this sort of scenario is an acceptable alternative to industrialised farming, I would like you to consider some points I find problematic about this venture.
The organisation say the following of the cows they use to produce milk:
We retire our cows to pasture when they have given us their best, and instead of being killed, our male calves work the land when they are old enough to be trained.
The Ahimsa Foundation is positioning these animals as commodities. They are still being kept to serve humans. The male calves will be trained to work for humans. This is not in the best interest of the animal and is not progressive compassion when so many non-animal alternatives are widely available to all communities in the UK.
Patrick Holden of The Sustainable Food Trust states during the fundraising video that the Ahimsa Dairy Foundation “represents the very pinnacle of animal welfare”. I strongly disagree. Humans breeding and controlling animals to extract a product for their own use is falling way short of any sort of animal welfare pinnacle.
Another troubling statement from the campaign
It is an incredibly selfish approach to acknowledge the inherent and widespread cruelty of dairy agriculture yet still produce, promote and consume the products from cows. You don’t need cow milk to be alive. Promoting ‘cruelty free’ dairy works to legitimise the practice of cows being used for humans.
More troubling statements from The Ahimsa Dairy Foundation fundraising page:
Under our system, cows will only become pregnant every two to four years. We also want to primarily milk by hand. We aim to manage the size of our herd very carefully.
I wonder how the cows ‘become’ pregnant? I wonder if the careful management of herd size includes insemination to determine when the cows become pregnant and which male animal is involved? It is also concerning when they say they primarily want to milk by hand. Is it their preferred method but they will use machinery when necessary?
This is not an enterprise I think any compassionate person should back financially. It is a step sideways in the fight for animal liberation. It is greenwashing animal farming, breeding and commodification by trying to appease feelings of unease in people who know there is a better way.
Breeding cows for milk is not necessary.
As a side note, I find it extremely odd that Chrissie Hynde is featured talking in the fundraising video. As Chrissie is a longtime animal advocate and vocal supporter of PeTA, I am surprised to see her speaking in conjunction with this campaign. I wonder if Chrissie knows that she is in this video? If she does know, does she think this enterprise is acceptable?