Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India gathered in Pune to distribute vegan (plant-based) buttermilk made by nutrition start-up Nutriva on Friday. “Many vegetarians and others who consume cow milk and other dairy products have no idea that they are supporting the beef industry by doing so,” said PETA campaigner Radhika Suryavanshi. “Yet in India, cattle aren’t raised specifically for beef. This industry gets its supply of cattle to kill largely from the dairy industry after the female animals’ milk production wanes and because male calves cannot produce milk.”
A statement issued by the organisers highlighted that the dairy industry is “systematically inhumane”. It said: Farmers repeatedly impregnate cows and buffaloes through traumatic artificial insemination, which is actually rape. They also commonly inject cattle with oxytocin to force them to produce more milk, causing pain, similar to being in labour. Shortly after mother cows and buffaloes give birth, farmers typically tear the calves away from them, the statement said.
If the babies are female, they are often fed with milk replacer and, just like their mothers, will be treated like milk machines and usually ultimately abandoned or killed for beef. If they’re male, farmers generally abandon them, let them starve, or sell them for beef, the statement read. PETA India recommends that people switch to soy, almond, or another non-dairy milk.