“Without protection of cows, brahminical culture cannot be maintained; and without brahminical culture, the aim of life cannot be fulfilled.”Srimad Bhagavatam 8.24.5

The discussion of whether devotees should use industrial milk currently has 3 schools of thought.

1. Use it and ok if it is offered .

Advantages: Fulfills Srila Prabhupada’s (ACBSP) instruction use milk to develop finer brain tissues

Fulfills ACBSP’s instruction to use milk to lure meat eaters to prasadam

Scaleable as what is needed can be purchased as needed

Cheap and abundant

Cow unknowingly benefits from having milk offered to Krsna

Disadvantages: Requires animal slaughter to subsidize cheap price

Cows lives shortened unnaturally and generally raised in poor unnatural conditions

Lose credibility with animal rightists and situational vegans

Creates complacency in not following ACBSP’s instruction to get from protected cows

2. Become a vegan

Advantages: Not implicated in animal slaughter or suffering

Credibility with animal rightists and situational vegans (preaching to Westerners programs   double size when menu shifts to vegan)

Disadvantages: Most devotees can’t/won’t perform the austerity

Doesn’t fulfill ACBSP’s instructions to use milk

Creates complacency in not following ACBSP’s instruction to get from protected cows

3. Drink milk only from protected cows

Advantages: Fulfills ACBSP’s ideal

Credibility with animal rightists and vegans

Cows live full life naturally and reciprocate loving relationship with devotees

Better quality safer milk

Major step towards varnashram

Disadvantages: Benefit (milk) short term but obligations (care for cows up to 20 years) long term

Capital intensive – up to 6 times more expensive than industrial milk

Requires dedicated milker(s)

Requires 20+ year commitment to calves born

Requires enforcement mechanism so money collected now is there for cow’s old age

 Not easily scaleable – good for small groups not peak events or increasing numbers

 Complex logistics to supply devotee and well wishers diaspora

Requires oxen program to be true cow protection

A fourth alternative has been discussed, Milk Offsets. It is based on the widely accepted concept of Carbon Offsets which is applied a couple of ways. One is when renewable energizes are produced they are given credits that utilities purchase to fulfill state law mandates that they produce a % of their energy from renewables. They are also offered to individuals paying their electric bill to pay a premium over what they owe and the extra used to buy renewable energy credits offsetting their individual usage.

  4. Milk Offsets

 Advantages: Anyone anywhere can do it requires no authorization

Use of industrial milk and its disadvantages offset by donation to cow protection program

Donation is used by programs to expand cow protection

Milk is used and a cow is protected

Scaleable as Krishna Consciousness spreads and for peak events

Concept accessible to animal rightists and vegans who tend to be environmentalists

Disadvantages: Cows still suffer

Requires financial sacrifice

Not understood by persons unfamiliar with current environmental practices


Carbon offsets

Srila Prabhupada on why devotees should protect cows

 European GBC discussion of the milk