I was recently involved in an online discussion about honey after the “Vegan” Bros had made a post that basically said that advocating for veganism would be soooo much easier if we could just tell non-vegans that it’s okay to eat honey instead of just, you know, sticking to our principles and advocating against all animal use.
The “Vegan” Bros were adamant in their position that vegan advocacy would be so much more effective if we’d just relax our rigid “rules” about things like honey and let all those non-vegans who “draw the line” at honey into our exclusive vegan club. (I have yet to meet a non-vegan who would happily become vegan if only they were “allowed” to keep eating honey.)
Of course, I waded right on into that conversation and advocated strongly against the “Vegan” Bros’ stance. Unfortunately, most of the people involved in the discussion were welfarists, spouting the usual “we all have the same end goal of ending all animal use” bullshit.
And, of course, one of the welfarist “vegans” had to bring up “Ahimsa” milk, extolling its virtues and assuring me that it really is possible to use animals humanely.
I had heard of “Ahimsa” milk before but had never really bothered looking into it because it still involves using animals and as far as I’m concerned, it just falls right there under “happy” and “humane” exploitation, which we all know is a bullshit story people tell themselves to feel better about using animals.
“Ahimsa” milk is a lie. The word ahimsa means “do no harm”. I’m sorry, but what goddamn planet do you live on if you think that forcibly impregnating cows (whether by using a bull or by using artificial insemination) does not cause harm? In what way is bringing a calf into the world for the sole purpose of exploiting his mother’s body not causing harm? In what way is treating someone like an object not causing harm!? These cows are slaves, and slavery causes lots of goddamn harm! How does anyone not fucking get this?
Human beings have no need whatsoever to consume milk past infancy. We certainly have no need to consume the milk of another species, ever. I find it utterly perplexing the lengths that humans will go to in order to continue consuming something for which they have absolutely no need—it’s baffling.
Producers of “Ahimsa” milk claim that no cows are sent to slaughter; rather, they live out their lives in sanctuary.
There are a couple of problems with this. First, that doesn’t make it “Ahimsa” milk; it makes it—at best—“no slaughter” milk (because it’s still slavery and slavery causes harm). Second, how many fucking sanctuaries are there in the world that we can just keep tossing cow after cow after cow their way? I mean, this doesn’t seem like the most sustainable venture out there. If we don’t kill them, cows can live a good, long life (like, 20-some years). So, given that there are billions of people demanding milk and dairy products in this world, how is this a sustainable way of doing things?
Answer: it’s not. It can’t be. If everyone started to consume this “no slaughter” milk, we’d soon have a massive overpopulation of cows. And we still need to feed these cows, now for their entire natural life of 20+ years. Whether we grow feed crops or let them graze, this just isn’t a feasible, long-term way of obtaining (completely unnecessary) milk.
But even if it were, it would still be wrong. Why? Because it’s fucking slavery, that’s why, and slavery is wrong! Every kind of wrong!! In case you didn’t get that from the previous times I’ve said it in this piece.
This is why welfarism is so dangerous. Welfarists (calling themselves vegans) rave about “Ahimsa” milk as though it helps animals in some way. They do this because all they care about is how we TREAT animals, not that we USE them. This is why the “humane” and “happy” exploitation movement has become such a fucking juggernaut—it allows people to feel great about causing harm to other sentient beings and to never have to think about that harm.
“Ahimsa” milk does nothing at all to challenge our deeply ingrained speciesist mindset that other animals are here for us to use. All it does is reinforce the idea that other animals—other sentient beings—are nothing more than resources we can use in whatever ways we please to satisfy our selfish desires. This kind of thinking is the root of a helluva lot of evil in this world, and it’s the kind of thinking that welfarists perpetuate.
There is no such thing as “Ahimsa” milk because when you exploit another sentient being, you are, necessarily, causing harm. The only true ahimsa milk is plant milk.