Ahimsa Milk – Happy Healthy Cows

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In contrast with most dairy farms, the cows at Bhaktivedanta Manor farm in Hertfordshire are NOT force-fed with high protein concentrate and pumped with hormonial drugs to produce more milk, and they do NOT suffer with unnatural and painful outsized udders or struggle to support their own artifically increased body weight. Nor are they killed when they are too old to produce milk. At Bhaktivedanta Manor farm the cows and their calves are free to roam as they please, and we call the milk they produce Ahimsa Milk!

Organic Milk is a good first step to cruelty-free milk

The Lotus Trust Ahimsa Milk ‘Happy Healthy Cows’ campaign aspires for a complete standard of compassion for cows. Organic standards, although not complete, are nevertheless a good first step.

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Cow Welfare

Unlike milk supplied by conventional farms, organic milk comes from farms where:

  • Cows are fed a grass-based diet rather than concentrated feed
  • Their diet must be based on organically grown foodstuffs
  • They must spend the majority of their lives outdoors
  • When they are brought indoors during bad wheather, the cows must have appropriate bedding and adequate space
  • Homeopathy and herbal remedies are used to cure disease
  • The feeding of calves must be based on natural milk
  • The amount of space allocated per cow is greater compared with conventional dairy cows
  • Calves must be kept together in social groups rather than seperated into individual pens
  • The use of hormones must be kept to a minimum
  • No synthetic chemical pesticides are permitted on fields on which the cows graze

Organic Cows produce a lower but more natural yield of milk and so are less likely to suffer from the problems associated with force-feeding of concentrates and excessive use of hormones.

In Nature, animals and plants lead an interlocked existence. The connection could not be closer, more permanent, or more crucial.
Sir Albert Howard (father of the organic movement)

If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
Paul MacCartney and Linda MacCartney

Consumer Health

A recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition and carried out in the Netherlands showed that the incidence of eczema in young children was reduced by 36% where the children consumed organic dairy products.

Recent research from Newcastle University shows that organic milk contains more nutritionally desirable fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, including up to 60% more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) during the summer months. These sunstances have been linked to lower risks of heart disease and cancer.

Organically reared cows, which eat high quantities of fresh grass, clover pasture and grass clover silage, produce milk which is on average 50% higher in Vitamin E, 75% higher in beta carotene (which our bodies convert to Vitamin A) and two to three times higher in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, compared with non-organic milk.

The results of independent research funded by OMSCo and carried out by Dr Kathryn Ellis at the Universities of Liverpool and Glasgow from 2002 to 2005 looked into the compositional differences between organic and non-organic milk. The results, published in the Journal of Dairy Science in 2006, showed that organic milk is on average 68% higher in total Omega-3 than non-organic milk.

The Ahimsa Milk Standard

Although the treatment of organic milk producing cows is far better than that of regular dairy cows, we don’t think organic standards go far enough to be considered ahmisa milk!

Two Main Reasons

  • Unless they will later be used for breeding purposes, male calves are killed soon after birth
  • When dairy cows are too old to produce milk they are killed

We believe that cows deserve better. We propose a new standard – The Ahimsa Milk Standard.

Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word from ancient India meaning “non-violence”. The Ahimsa Milk Standard will see cows being able to live out their lives, and calves being kept with their mothers, in cow sanctuaries like the one at Bhaktivedanta Manor.

“Even now in the Indian villages surrounding Vrndavana, the villagers live happily simply by giving protection to the cow. The keep cow dung very carefully and dry it to use as fuel. They keep a sufficient stock of grains, and because of giving protection to the cows they have sufficient milk and milk products to solve all economic problems. Simply by giving protection to the cow, the villagers live so peacefully.”
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

“Cow-slaughter and man-slaughter are in my opinion the two sides of the same coin.”