One of my favorite non-Buddhist religions to teach and to study is Jainism, which is a bit like Buddhist asceticism on steroids. Jains also share a deep respect for non-human animals and generally act on that in compassionate ways that put most other religions to shame. The religion is small, limited mostly to India, though there are Jains all over the world, so they rarely get much press. Yesterday I received the following newsletter from a Jain list I am on and I thought I’d pass it on to you in full. It contains information on veganism focused on India and the different ways that milk is obtained (by ‘conventional’ means and by a Jain dairy), and it requests a global day of veganism on Saturday, November 1st. You can subscribe at the bottom if you are interested. The photos inserted are mine from Bodhgaya.
WORLD COMPASSION AND VEGAN DAY Federation of JAINA, Young Jains of America, Young Jain professionals and many Jain centers of North America jointly celebrate Nov. 1, 2014 as a World Compassion and Vegan Day. Several activities will be taking place in Jain centers of North America. Please be VEGAN on this day (November 1, 2014)! Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products in all walks of life. Vegan diet is a strict vegetarian diet and do not consume meat, eggs, dairy products (milk cheese, ice-cream, Ghee, etc.) and other animal-derived substances. Vegans do not use silk, wool, and leather products. The basic and very fundamental principle of Jainism is Non-violence. Lord Mahavir said in Jain Agam Sutrakrutang that “One should treat all beings as one would like to be treated.” Since most of the Jains are vegetarian but they do consume dairy products, I have compiled the dairy related information in this short article. Operation of the Commercial Dairy Industry The Wikipedia explains the cruelty that exists in the dairy industry and also its impact on health and environment as follows (Ref – https://https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veganism): “To obtain milk from dairy cattle, Cows are kept pregnant through artificial insemination to prolong lactation. Male calves are slaughtered at birth, or sent for veal production or reared for beef. Female calves are separated from their mothers within 24 to 48 hours of birth and fed milk replacer, so that the cows’ milk is retained for human consumption. After five years or so they (mother cows) are slaughtered to be made into ground-meat products, although they might otherwise live for 20 years. The situation is similar with goats and their kids. In November 2006 a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, linked animal agriculture to environmental damage. It concluded that: Livestock farming (primarily of cows, chickens and pigs) has an impact on almost all aspects of the environment: air, land, soil, water, biodiversity and climate change. According to the report, livestock account for 9 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 37 percent of methane, 65 percent of nitrous oxide, and 68 percent of ammonia, and livestock waste emits 30 million tons of ammonia a year, which the report said is involved in the production of acid rain.”In June 2010 a report from the United Nations Environment Programme said that a move toward a vegan diet is needed to save the world from hunger, fuel shortages, and climate change.[154 A 2009 research review indicated that “Vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12. Well-planned vegan diets appear to offer protection against certain degenerative conditions, including heart disease,and are regarded as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle by the American Dietetic Association, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Dietitians of Canada. Because uncontaminated plant foods do not provide vitamin B12 (which is produced by microorganisms such asbacteria), researchers agree that vegans should eat B12-fortified foods or take a supplement.” A Jain Dairy Visit: The following practice is used by this Jain Dairy (size 25 to 35 cows) It keeps all cows pregnant not via artificial insemination but one bull is used to make them pregnant. Three months after the delivery, it makes the mother cow pregnant again. After birth baby calf is kept with the mother for upto six months. During this time it allows the calf to suck mother’s milk from one udder only. This way baby calf receives 25% of the required milk from the mother. It substitutes milk replacer (commercial product) to the calf to satisfy its remaining hunger. The remaining three udder milk is used for human consumption. Within six months, it ships the male calf either to Panjarapole or gives away to other dairy farmer who is in need of a Bull. When the calf is separated from the mother, the mother cow cries loudly and does not eat any meal for a day and does not produce any milk for a couple days. It remains depressed for a few days. At age of 5 to 6 years, it ships mother cow to Panjarapole because after three deliveries, its milk yield reduces significantly. Also during this time two year old female baby calves are ready to replace them. So long as cows produce enough quantity of milk, the Jain dairy farm takes care of them very well. The milk production cost of this Jain dairy is about 5 times than the commercial milk available in the market. One can see that even compassionate Jain dairy cannot afford to give all the milk of a mother cow to her baby. If it does, then there will not be any leftover milk for human consumption and the purpose of the dairy no longer exists. Cattle Slaughter in India (Ref – Wikipedia) “In a country where so many people view cows as sacred, India could soon become the world’s biggest beef exporter, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). India produced 3.643 million metric tons of beef in 2012, of which 1.963 million metric tons was consumed domestically and 1.680 million metric tons was exported. India ranks 5th in the world in beef production, 7th in domestic consumption and 1st in exporting.” http://www.financialexpress.com/news/india-could-soon-become-world-s-biggest-beef-exporter/1206978 Comment One can see that extreme cruelty exists in dairy and meat industries in India and everywhere in the world. The industry also destroys the environment and our health. Also the dairy product is not needed for our healthy survival (one billion Chinese people historically did not drink milk). On the contrary it destroys our health. Following is the simple explanation of cruelty in Dairy Industry:
- Cow does not produce milk unless she first delivers her baby Calf (just like humans)
- When the cow is just 15 months old, she is made pregnant the first time. She delivers her first baby 9 months later (similar to humans). This time she is just two years old.
- Now Mother cow starts to produce milk for her baby calf and just enough for her calf (it is also a law of nature for humans as well as animals).
- Nature has not provided any ability to the cows or any other animals or humans to produce more milk than the need of their babies.
- When baby calf reaches to 8 week of age she starts to eat other foods along with milk, and the mother cow’s milk production ability slowly reduces under natural environment.
- However under commercial environment, the new born female baby calf is given mother’s milk for only 3 to 4 days and then she is separated from mother and fed with milk replacer and some regular food upto 8 weeks, and then only regular food upto 15 months. At this time the dairy farmer will make the 15 month old female calf (now cow) pregnant by bull or artificial insemination.
- Also under commercial environment the newborn male baby calf is separated from her mother after 3 days and he is shipped to the veal industry or to a slaughter house.
- Also under commercial environment, the dairy farmers make the mother cow pregnant after 8 weeks of delivery so that she will continually produce large quantity of milk.
- After three deliveries, the mother cow’s natural milk producing ability drops even if she is kept pregnant. Hence she is not economical viable commodity. So the commercial dairy farmer ships her to slaughter house and Jain dairies in India ship them to Panjara-poles.
- No one wants to take care of less productive cows.
Summary: In summary, we steal milk from cow, feed her female baby calf substitute products, slaughter her male calf in three days for veal or within six months for beef, and slaughter her in 6 years. The milk and meat productions destroy the environment (cruelty to environment), and we destroy our health (cruelty to our self) by consuming dairy products. We become a part of this cruel cycle so that we can enjoy tasty foods using dairy products (milk, ice-cream, cheese, butter, ghee, sweets, etc.) not only in our homes, but also in Jain functions! Now can we ask ourselves – Are we really Jains practicing Ahmisa in its true spirit? Notes: Are Jello and Jello pudding dairy products? (a question was asked by our youth) Jello is an animal product, but not a dairy product. It is made of gelatin, which comes from the marrow of animal bones. The slaughterhouses produce gelatin after boiling bones, cartilage, hooves, skins, and the fat and meat by products. The gelatin is filtered out and dried, and sold in sheet or granulated form. Jello is a mix of water, gelatin, sugar, artificial colors and flavorings, acids for sour and tart taste, preservatives, and contains no milk or dairy products. Jello pudding however is based on cornstarch instead of gelatin, and requires milk to set, so it is a dairy product. Hats off The Jain community of Shree Digamber Jain Association, in London, UK, held their annual Swamivatsalya Bhojan (after Das-Laxana Paryushan Parva) on 14th September 2014, and the committee served only vegan Jain food on this occasion. In the menu they served following items: Vegan Bundi Ladoo, Puran puri with coconut oil, Mix vegetable shak, Daal instead of Kadhi, Samosas, Daal bhajia, Rice, Salad, Chutneys, Coconut water, and Plain water. To my knowledge, this is the first major adult Jain community function serving all vegan food to the community. It seems that the adult Jain community in UK is very receptive to Vegan concept. Jain vegan group in UK is very active in the community for the promotion of veganism Also there is a UTube video of a Digambara Jain muni describing the reasons that we should not consume dairy .products http://veganjains.com/2014/07/30/jain-digambar-muni-urges-jains-to-renounce-milk/
Veganism in America: The Huffing post report predicts that: “No Lie Can Live Forever: Predicting a Vegan America by 2050 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kathy-stevens/predicting-a-vegan-america_b_4905691.html Vegetarian Times Study Shows 7.3 Million Americans Are Vegetarians and an additional 22.8 Million follow a Vegetarian-Inclined Diet. Approximately 1 million, of those are vegans, who consume no animal products at all. In addition, 10 percent of U.S., adults, or 22.8 million people, say they largely follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.” With regards to Jain community in America, Young Jain of America (YJA) and Young Jain Professionals (YJP) are two committed organizations with regards to Veganism. The last two YJA conventions were almost vegan conventions. Now we are very happy to know that Federation of JAINA joined the Vegan movement this year. We sincerely hope that the JAINA will put in practice what they are supporting and make the next JAINA convention of 2015 totally vegan and environmental friendly by not using dairy products, plastic/foam plates and cups. JAINA Education committee is totally dedicated to Veganism for the past 15 years. All our Päthashälä books are dedicated to the people around the world living vegan way of life. We do not support dairy products and other products such as silk, wool, and leather in any of our Päthashälä books. Also we sincerely hope that the Jain adult community of North America who are associated with various Jain centers learn some thing from our American born Jain youth and make every Jain functions environmental friendly and serve only cruelty free foods. . Significant resources are available on Internet to educate our selves with regards to Veganism, cruelty in dairy and meat industry, and impact on environment by these industries. The education committee is in process of compiling educational information on Veganism and cruelty in dairy industry. This information will be available via Jainelibrary website within a few months. I sincerely apologize if I have hurt your feeling. Pravin K Shah Jaina Education Committee Jain eLibrary Project email@example.com 919 859 4994 Home 919 889 1900 Cell To subscribe from Jain eLibrary Mailing list. – Please click the following Link http://jainelibrary.org/