Answer: It depends.
As veganism is getting more and more traction, many questions have been raised about certain products being vegan or not. Many standard products fall into this list. However, this list is topped by one of the essential food items that complete a balanced diet, milk.
Veganism focuses on not causing any pain to the animals and not exploiting them for food products either. The food that constitutes the vegan diet is nutrition-rich. It is easily digestible by the body without creating any hassles. This trait is another reason behind the popularity of veganism.
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The Origin of Milk
Humans have long been consuming the milk of other animals. Cows have been the wealthiest and most preferable source of milk for humans. But as the availability of this milk was getting scattered, humans came up with consuming all sorts of animals’ milk.
Around 85% of the total milk consumption depended on cow milk, so humans were continually looking for more alternatives. The list includes buffalos, goats, horses, sheep, camels, and many other animals.
The definition of the term milk says that it is a nutrient-rich white liquid food from mammals’ mammary glands. Milk is the first thing that a child can digest, and that is why the diet of infants is restricted to their mothers’ milk. This is the other reason why vegans do not like to include animal milk in their diet. They do not want to have something which was not meant for them in the first place.
Is Milk Vegan?
You must have read the primary reason why vegans do not consider milk as a part of their diet. But the reason for not including milk is not restricted to that fundamental reasoning. There are more intricate reasons that have set a barrier in the minds of people who are following the vegan diet.
Their reasons include the cruelty and harsh truths that are involved in the process of turning milk into a commodity. The commercialization of milk has started to cause suffering to the animals who are responsible for providing it. This scenario is yet another reason why vegans stand tall against having animal milk.
The Harsh Commercial Reality
You must have been excited to visit the dairy farm when you were a kid. Dairy farms have always been portrayed as happy places since we are kids. However, the reality is dramatically different. There are many thought-provoking movies and documentaries that show the truth about these places. Here are some of the harsh facts.
Cows or Machines
The perspective of these places in terms of treating cows has fallen miserably. A cow is only treated well until it can provide gallons of milk every day. If it cannot serve well, it is discarded instantly.
The worst part about this process is the fact that there is no happy ending. The cows which cannot produce milk anymore are sold to slaughterhouses. Firstly, the cows live on to give a food source and then become a source of food themselves.
There is one more reason why cows stop lactating at dairy farms. The reason is unreal expectations. Cows are expected to provide milk incessantly. Their natural tendencies are hampered so that they can produce more. This causes their internal balance to shake, and therefore the point of satiety comes early for them.
Each cow at a dairy farm has a minimal life span, which is full of pain and suffering. One of the most fundamental rules of veganism is not to cause any other animal pain or suffering, but the whole process of attaining milk in a commercial setting is in contrast to it.
There is nothing wrong with the process of inseminating cows artificially. It is a healthy way of reproduction and should be appropriately administered. The problem comes in when this method is used without any check-in place.
Even when dairy cows live a longer life than the cows reared for beef, they have massive pain which comes alongside. They are always pregnant so that milk production can occur, and when the offspring comes, it is killed for meat. When the offspring is not destroyed in rare cases, it is provided the same fate as its parent.
The pregnancy cycle for these cows is vigorously abused. It is dependent on only one thing, and that is the standard gallons of milk. If the standard is not attained, the need to impregnate the cow arises.
Lifespan of the Cow
Cows are designed to live a life that consists of multiple decades. However, the cows which are forcefully turned into milking stations have no such luxury. They live a very brief life that is full of suffering.
The maximum that a cow lives at a dairy farm is around 5-7 years, and that too when the cow is continuously lactating. If this stops, the exhausted cow is cruelly replaced with a new one. Cows are being treated like a variable product for the needs of humans. This is one of the core reasons why vegans do not prefer to have milk.
A Better Approach
There is a better way to look at things in this scenario too. If milk can be treated as a limited commodity with restricted usage, the whole situation will change. The problem lies when milk is available to cater to people’s needs and not as a by-product of a natural process.
If small herds of cattle can be reared and their milk is used, it does not create a problem. But, this is not a very economical or rational solution to this problem. The answer lies at the heart of how you feel for these animals. If consumption can be monitored, the demand for milk will go down. If the market goes down, there will be no need to push these animals for quantities that are not naturally possible.
If you think that vegans do not consume milk, you are mistaken. There are plenty of sources from which milk can be derived. It is a part of so many other items that are having an animal-specific variant is not particularly necessary.
These kinds of milk are usually richer in nutrients and are easy to digest. They have more proteins and can be attained without causing any harm to any creature. If you can make these variants a part of your daily lifestyle, you will stop feeling the difference in no time. Here are some variants of vegan milk!
Soy milk is a plant-based drink. It is rich in protein and also consists of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids cannot develop inside the body on their own. They help us fight diseases such as dementia and Alzheimers. Soy milk is a by-product left after the creation of tofu. Tofu is yet another protein-rich food item that acts as a substitute for regular dairy items.
Almond milk is another plant-based milk. It is very rich in vitamin D and vitamin E, and it has a high calcium content. It is low in sugar and calories and thus can be consumed without much fear. There are many other alternatives to animal-based milk. The list includes milk from quinoa, coconut, rice, rea, flax, and many more. You can shift to any of these variants.
The fact about whether milk is vegan or not depends on the type of milk you consume. The cult for veganism has been growing at a fast rate. If you understood the gruesome reality behind the commercialization of milk, you could take the first step for yourself.
If you want to study more about other variants of plant-based milk, you can click here. This link will tell you all about the different types of milk and whether you are ready to take this next step toward a better and healthier lifestyle!