Filed under: Got Milk?
by Gopananda dasa Adhikari
It is so nice to read so many concerned devotees debating the issues related
to cow protection. Here on the outskirts of Buenos Aires I am training two
jersey oxen as well as two horses to work the farm. But my main occupation is a
one-hectare bio-intensive organic garden. All that I have gleamed from this
conference comes down to the fact that to have cow protection one needs to work
oxen as the priority with milk as a by-product.Thus action not debate.
How many ISKCON farms are productively using their oxen, either if producing
goods or in services, like tourism for example?
How many ISKCON farms have organic agricultural businesses?
How many ISKCON farms are actually earning a living from selling orgainic
vegetables directly to the market?
How many ISKCON farms are adding value to this vegetable production to make
things like organic baby purees?
We can debate ad infinitum, but as any artist knows – when is the art piece
finished? Never. When is the debate finished? Never. Debate is in part useless
if it does not yield action. As Bhisma says in the Mahabarata, “the better part
of destiny is action.”
Syamasundara´s comments on milk costs and demand/supply considerations of
producing protected cow milk, and all other comments on the lacto-veg and vegan
arguments are all sound to an extent. But if we know that the viability of the
whole cow protection model rests in working the oxen and if that entails
organic vegetable and grain production, and if we are not doing it, then our
debate is just going around and around in circles, as an artist never finishing
The end of oil could well be a red herring – new technologies are available
to replace oil and keep energy abundant.
Consumer demand, especially from devotees, is highly sensitive to price
considerations, and will not easily pay 6 times the going rate.
Cow protection as a pure novelty for “krsna´s” is nice but non-replicable in
the larger stage.
That others will come and take the baby is dubious as we are way ahead of the
We are the cusp of the curve on this issue. But we need to litteraly take the
bull by the horns and more on to the next painting, the next stage.
At the moment, I am not using neither horses or oxen on the farm, though I
have every intention of doing so. First I am creating a profitable organic
vegetable business, then I will introduce animals into it where necesary and
when I and the animals are trained to do it.
As in business reengineering, so popular in the 90s, instead of devising the
business from “zero budget” and implementing it in staged, feasible parts, it
tended to concentrate on things like the implementation of new technologies.
This meant that rather than reengineer the business from scratch it just added
new layers of plasters to deep underlying problems.
We are in the same boat. The sacred cow is two fold, milk production and ox
work. But to have milk sales the costs need to come down, and to have ox work
we need to have economic activity using them – both goods and services.
First we need to form organic vegetable farms, with direct sales of freshly
picked, very healthy vegies straight to the consumer – often our congregation.
Then we can see how to put oxen to work as a complement to the farming system.
What I mean to say is that we need to concentrate on the business not the
technology (oxen). Then, when the business yields we can see in what way the
technology can be implemented in more efficient ways.
We are idealists too often and not pragmatists. Business just means the
quality of being busy. If we are busy doing an activity, but that activity is
loss yielding, then it is only a hobby, by which we finance it by other
We can not afford to keep cow protection and ox work as a hobby. If so then
you have a lot of money, for it is a very expensive hobby.
The profit motive is not bad; it is essential.
Greed is bad, profit is required.
Check out bio-intensive means of production. I have poured tons of manure
onto my double dug beds of 1.3 meters by 6 meters. It is a clay soil so I have
added a lot of sand. The veg that is grown is incredible. All that I need to do
now is stop the investment, as it is now complete, and concentrate on
efficiencies and making a profit.
The technology – oxen, will be found a place – ploughing, transport, and
tourism (eg. cart rides).
Knowing the Manor and other ICKON farms, you have everything there to do it -
Land, pleanty of it, Labour – employ it, Capital – lots of it. To the latter
one you may smirk, but then you live in highly developed countries, in the UK
the hindus are rich and money is peanuts. Here in the third world, money is
hard to get: There is no comparison.
What is lacking?
The entrepeneur – the person who gets up one day with the right idea and
organises land, labour and capital to accomplish hir vision.
Why won´t we do it?
That is what I am asking.
Filed under: Got Milk?
Based on the assumption that we should continue drinking milk, apart from
our own farms with hand milked cows what are the better alternatives. Even
organic farms use milking machines.
There is a major crisis within our society as you know very well. Srila
Prabhupada has asked ISKCON to produce their own food as well as other
things. This is certainly not prioritised within the management structures
and resources are not generally directed to developing more self
sufficiency. At the same time are own production of milk taking into account
the entire herd is protected and the oxen are used to care for the farm and
grow all the food needed milk will be at least 6 times more expensive than
is available in the market place (at least that is the case in the west).
As far as I know milk in India is 15 Rupees a litre and with a minimum daily
salary of 100 rupees that means a litre of milk is one sixth the cost of
days wages. In the uk with a minimum daily wage of £38 (7 working hours)
that would make a litre of milk at £6 equivelent. Would our devotees pay
So we have to be sure what we are asking of our devotees. Protected milk is
not available in the market, at the same time devotees seem unwilling to pay
the real price from the goshallas. At the same time we must drink milk. So
in identifying what is wrong with milk we should not be pushing our devotees
into veganism as Srila Prabhupada could have asked us to do that but did
From what I can see at the moment there is no push to provide milk for all
our farms even, what to speak of the other centres and projects and what to
speak of the devotee congregation.
If we dont get it together then somebody in another organisation or
buisiness will do it and we will be left feeling somebody has stolen our
The solution is for ISKCON to provide its own milk and products and that way
we dont have to source them commercially. This is not easy. Until we make
cow protection livelihood based it will not take off but it will continue to
decline as it has been steadily over the last decades. We are witnessing the
demise of more and more farm projects if something drastic is not done soon
then it will be a great disaster.
Filed under: Got Milk?
By Radhe Radhe devi dasi
I just read this article on Dandavats and it encouraged me to hurry up and write an article that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Most of the information in this article is from Peta, the vegan society, and http://www.milksucks.com/ (I know, not a nice name, but they have some good info).
One of the first things I heard when I met the devotees was “you can’t be a vegan devotee.” This is because Krishna loves milk and milk products and devotees love to offer them to him.
The problem is that the milk we (in the cities) are offering to Krishna is not pure. As Jahnava mataji said last Saturday, actually all foods in Kali Yuga are considered to be impure.
Krishna doesn’t just love milk, Krishna loves cows. So how does he feel if we are offering him grocery store milk that is laden with antibiotics and growth hormones—milk that comes from cows that are abused and mistreated and finally sent to the slaughterhouse?
To give milk the cow must be pregnant and then have a calf. On both organic and non-organic farms, cows are kept continuously pregnant. On non-organic farms mother cows are treated like machines, chained by their necks in concrete stalls for months at a time, their udders are swollen so large that they sometimes drag on the ground. Cows give milk for the same reasons humans do—to feed their babies. To keep milk production high, cows are kept pregnant by artificial insemination and their male calves are taken away at 1-2 days old and chained inside cramped dark crates to be killed for veal. The milk meant for them is what we buy on the grocery shelves. They are not even given a chance to drink their mother’s milk.
It is too easy to turn a blind eye to what goes on behind the grocery store shelves. After all, how can we not offer milk sweets to Krishna? How will the Sunday feast go on without sweet rice?
But how can we offer milk sweets to Krishna using milk that (unless organic) contains hormones, antibiotics, disease, blood, fish and who knows what else? Cows are so dear to Lord Krishna that I just cannot imagine he would want to taste milk from cows so horribly abused, or even if not abused (organic cows), nevertheless sent to the slaughterhouse.
The ideal is, as Sivarama Swami says, to support the Iskcon farms in their efforts to protect the cows and offer pure milk to Krishna. But for those of us who live far from farms and must buy milk from the store, it seems that abstaining from milk products is the only choice. A vegan diet is the only option for cow protection living in the city.
Find the full article at http://namahatta.org/nh2/en/node/5535