About Author


London. Formerly known as New Media. Vegan since 1992.
Comments (4)
  1. Dips (reply)

    October 1, 2012 at 04:34

    I wanted to know what the general view from dedicated vegans is about dairy products made in an ethical, organice, sustainable and non-harmful way. The Ahimsa dairy makes slaughter-free milk and dairy products.


    Is this classed as acceptible to a vegan or not? If so, then why? If not, then why not?

    Also, should the farming community be moving towards this type of farming?

    Many thanks and for your blog page etc.

    • David Taylor (reply)

      October 19, 2012 at 10:11


      Producing milk and dairy products that are ethical, organic, non-harming etc etc most people will agree is, by any measure, an improvement on the current system.

      But why do you NEED milk and dairy products? OK, the last big reason, you like the taste, you like eating them. But that’s not a need – it’s a want, which is now known to be an addiction.

      Putting that aside and assuming these creatures want to actually give another species their milk (who knows?) then the question then arises, are they any good for you? Can these generous creatures guarantee that their gifts will not cause atherosclerosis, cancer, osteoporosis, etc etc in humans?


    • Ian (reply)

      October 21, 2012 at 10:15

      Thanks for your question. We’re not going to go with a Q&A format for the November show – there hasn’t been a big enough response.

      Amanda, the Vegan Society’s press officer, responded to a question on their Facebook page with “I guess it almost goes without saying that ahimsa milk is not suitable for vegans?”. The answer to the first question is no. That’s pretty much a tautology.

      Although individuals vary, I think the classical vegan answers to your other questions are “Milk belongs to the cows & calves”, and “No, towards growing plants”.

      I did have a really interesting chat about Ahimsa Milk early this summer with a woman promoting it at an environmental fair in London.

      I think the question folds in to a bigger one of “humane” meat and dairy, with “slaughter-free” milk at the humane end of the scale – and that’s definitely a topic we should think about covering.

      So thanks for your question.

    • Diana (reply)

      October 22, 2012 at 13:45

      Hi Dips,
      From what I have read about Ahimsa milk they a) artificially inseminate the cows and b) they must take donations in order to keep the cattle alive until they die of old age. They also have no control over the treatment of the bulls that their semen comes from.

      As far as I can tell from the website they have good intentions but they have only been going for so long. Given that a cow can live 25 years and they retire their cows and keep all the male calves I wonder when the burden of keeping all of these animals that are not contributing to profit will outweigh what the market is willing to pay. Indeed from the donations aspect it already seems it has. I agree with you that it is the kindest way of producing dairy that I have yet heard of but it seems ultimately completely unsustainable. I will not be surprised if they go out of business and ultimately have to kill these animals.

      Furthermore, the domestication of cows who give milk could arguably be said to cause suffering since their bone density is compromised by the milk they give and they produce much more milk than their wild counterparts (leading to mastitis and a heavy udder). There are places in the developing world in which cows are not killed and are used for milk however there is also no veterinary care so these animals usually die of infection well before decades have passed. I live in the developed world where there are myriad ways for me to satisfy the taste and nutrition from dairy but it seems strange to have herds of animals eating grain that could be fed to humans so only a small fraction of them can be milked.

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