I caught up with an old friend a few days ago about an initiative in my city to block backyard slaughter of animals ( that post will go up next). In the course of our conversation, he told me he has made a tradition of going vegan during paryushan. And that’s how a number of people got started on their vegan diets…
Sagar posts on the Jain Vegan list-serv:
Please consider giving up dairy products this Paryushana
As most of you will know, Paryushana, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness is due to begin at the end of August.
During this festival, members of the Jain faith traditionally fast and participate in pratikraman. For lay members, fasting often entails avoiding activities that are traditionally thought to cause more himsa than others, such as eating root vegetables.
In today’s complex society, the process of milk production causes far more suffering and killing than first meets the eye. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated by means of artificial insemination to stimulate milk production.
They are immediately separated from their offspring at birth. Male calves are killed within hours of birth or sold on to be reared for veal or beef (they are of no other value to a dairy farmer), and their sisters are forced to go through the same agony and suffering as their mothers.
A dairy cow will normally get killed before the age of 10, even though she could live up to 30 years if given the chance. This is because her milk yield drops after about 5 lactations, and it is not does not make financial sense for a farmer to keep her alive when he is able to obtain milk from her younger (and more productive) daughters.
[My addition to Sagar’s post, with the photo above is to show how they are treated like machines. It is also easy to see how infections, such as mastitis, are likely to develop in these mama cows, adding to their suffering].
It is an unfortunate truth that our consumption of milk and dairy products contributes to the killing and suffering cows. In light of this, it seems natural that Jains (and all adherents of Ahimsa) should acknowledge and consider the suffering caused to cows in the milk production when undertaking pratikramana.
So, in addition to the other activities you undertake this Paryushana, why not also consider giving up dairy products?
For hints and tips on how to avoid dairy products, beyond the resources on this site, you are invited to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and/or visit the Vegan Society website.