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Milking Cows in India – Is it fine?
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Milking Cows in India – Is it fine?

I have talked about the treatment towards cows in India before too, and here is a detailed description of the same. Cows are treated as holy animals and are worshipped in India. Cows not only give us milk, even their waste is found to be of great medicinal use. Two to three decades ago, Indian households use to have cow as a pet in every house. It was worshiped and taken very good care of. Limited amount of milk used to be taken from the cow and selling the milk of a household cow was considered a sin.

Let us explore into the milk extraction process. Wherever cows or buffalos are used for commercial milking, the milk is extracted forcefully. At some places this is done manually while at others, it is done through machines. However, in ancient India this was not the case. This practice is still followed in some rural areas.

People keep a cow as well as its calf together as pets. When the calf needs the milk in the morning, it goes to its mother and asks for it. Then the cow naturally releases the milk and the calf consumes milk according to its requirement. After the calf is done, only then the cow is milked. It is good to see that the cow does not resist when the milkman attempts to milk it at that time. However, the process is very difficult if milking is attempted before the calf has had its part.

These villagers use no drugs or machine to milk a cow, it happens smoothly and happily. They take care of the cow and its calf and supposedly the cow does not mind sharing some of its extra milk in return. The amount of milk taken is very little and is used within the family only. It is a custom to still keep the cow even during its old age when it does not produce milk anymore. They treat it like a member of the family and even the cow responds to the affection and respect it gets.

However, this culture is fading now. People have started living in nuclear families and small apartments where keeping a cow at home is no more feasible. We have started to rely on dairy farms where hundreds cows and buffalos are bred and milk is distributed on a daily basis. The process is still manual at most places, but we don't know what future holds.

 

In my current opinion, consuming a little milk occasionally is fine. Like everything else, excess of dairy demand can go bad. Cows and buffalos would be under pressure to give more milk than they can naturally spare, and that would definitely be against animal rights and such situation must be avoided. I have heard of cows being given certain drugs to produce more milk which is a big drawback of commercialization of the process.

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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)

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  1. Sumit  Bhardwaj
    Sumit Bhardwaj
    Great Post Akanksha! I agree with you since I come from a village background. The milk given by cow because of the motherly feeling towards its calf is much better, purer and "satvik" compared to what we get from dairy farms. I can tell you that from my personal experience. It is difficult to describe it in words for me....but it feels really different to drink that milk.
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Thanks for the input and the share Sumit!
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  2. Carolyn
    Carolyn
    Vote #5! Sorry I have not been on the site in a few days. Interesting article! I love reading about the traditions in other countries.
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Thanks Carolyn..good to see you :)
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  3. dianabart
    dianabart
    I was so happy to hear that cows were treated like family. I am sad that they are falling into dairy farming... I truly pray that it don't become like it is here in America. The unfair treatment of cows plays a HUGE part of why I choose to always stay VEGAN. You still have my vote! :)
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Yes, I hate the fact that sometimes people are so impressed by the technology (even I was when I saw it for the first time) that they copy America hoping to become a 'developed' country. Many ancient Indian practices have faded out in quest of technological 'advancement', even when they were beneficial..this is sad.
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  4. Veganara
    Veganara
    Vote no 7. Very interesting and thought-provoking article. It sounds like the traditional method of treating cows in India is kind, the only concern I would have is that they are constantly being made pregnant to produce the milk, which must put a strain on their bodies. And do they get to keep their calves? It sounds so much more humane than the modern factory-farm methods anyway. Just like Diana, who commented above, I went vegan when I found out how dairy cows are treated commercially here in Britain. Nothing can justify that. And when they are too old to produce milk, and are completely worn out, they still go to the slaughterhouse anyway! So, if anything, dairy cows are treated even worse here than beef cows.
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    1. Sumit  Bhardwaj
      Sumit Bhardwaj
      You put a valid point there Veganara. If we go completely by the traditional method, then No, they are not "made" pregnant to get the milk, that would be almost similar to the dairy farming thing, its not natural. Cows get pregnant naturally during their heat period which comes 2-3 times atleast in the life of a cow. So usually cows naturally get pregnant 2-3 times and that is enough to provide good supply of milk for a family. And in villages, its not always just one cow, there can be 2-3 of them in a family. The calf is also kept with the cow and is raised. if its a male, it helps a lot in traditional methods of farming, otherwise, well, its again a cow :)
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      1. Akanksha
        Akanksha
        Yes even the bulls are treated well even though their physical strength is used for farming. They stay with one farmer family as long as they live. And they usually live at home and do easy work when they are old. However, these days, some people may sell their old cows/bulls etc for slaughter to other communities illegally for money..but I suppose that is very rare. Even other communities that do not have religious beliefs attached to cows, respect the sentiments and do not kill it. I love the fact that cow is called mother in India, because we consume its milk, just like our own mothers :)
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  5. violatat
    Vote #9. What a fascinating and heartwarming article. Thank you!
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Thanks for reading :)
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  6. oooowow
    That's interesting..thank you..I didn't know anything about this topic...namaste'....
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Thanks :) I had heard about it, just came to know it a little more recently and decided to share it here.
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  7. pftsusan
    pftsusan
    I haven't been on in a while.Vote # 11. I think that is a very good and informative blog.
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Thank you so much Susan!
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  8. garima mahendru
    Interesting...
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      Thanks for reading Garima :)
      Log in to reply.

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