Why Is Amul Needs To Rethink Plant-based Milk

🧢 Tags - #Vegan_Blog

On May 29th Peta India tweeted a letter sent to Amul urging them to take advantage of the opportunity and start producing plant-based milk products. This started a war of words between the two. From calling it foreign propaganda to how cow’s milk is considered holy in India.

Let’s take a critical look at this matter and see the problem with Amul.

Why Amul’s Reaction Was Over The Top?

PETA India's letter to @Amul_Coop in full, letting the company know about the business opportunity the rise in #vegan eating presents. @Rssamul #PETA pic.twitter.com/W7PMnkua6D

— PETA India (@PetaIndia) May 28, 2021

The linked tweet shows the exact letter that was sent to Amul.

The problem started when R S Sodhi, the managing director of Gujarat co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) Which sells Amul-branded dairy products, said that PETA wants to snatch the livelihood of 100 million poor farmers.

Peta wants Amul to snatch livelihood of 100 mill poor farmers and handover it's all resources built in 75 years with farmers money to market genetically modified Soya of rich MNC at exhorbitant prices ,which average lower middle class can't afford https://t.co/FaJmnCAxdO

— R S Sodhi (@Rssamul) May 28, 2021

As seen in the letter, It does not say to stop producing Cow and buffalo’s milk but to gradually expand its lineup towards plant-based options as the world is moving towards dairy-free alternatives. The letter also gives many details of how businesses are profiting from this demand and how Amul can capitalize on it. Amul has the facilities, the manpower, and the distribution network to become the leader for plant-based milk products in India. The message from PETA could have been taken positively, instead of taking a stand against PETA. So much so that MS Sodhi urged the prime minister to ban these NGOs who fight against animal cruelty.

Animal Cruelty

For a second let’s forget about PETA and Amul altogether and answer the real issue, Which is animal cruelty.

India has the most cattle in the world a total of 302.3 million as of 2020. Which equates to almost 30% of all cattle in the world.

The problem is that most of these animals are not taken care of properly and are abused regularly. Even if R S Shodi says β€œIn India, cows are given names and treated as members of the family. They are given food before anyone in the family and are properly bathed and taken care of. There is no scope of cruelty with such behavior.” But this is far from the truth.

The Amount Of Milk & Beef Produced In India

India is one of the biggest producers of beef in the world. With 1.4 million metric tons of beef produced in the 1st quarter of 2021. This is the case even after many states banning the killing of Cows.

India leads as the largest producer of milk globally, supplying 22% of global demand and producing 198.4 million tons in 2019-2020. Being the world leader in milk forces India to keep ramping up the production thereby creating an opportunity for more beef production as well. The scale is such that the government can’t scrutinize every farm and farmer to see if the animals are being abused or not.

Infographic: The Biggest Exporters of Beef in the World | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

How Farmers Exploit Cows And Buffalos

The cruelty just doesn’t start at slaughter, These animals are abused from birth many are even killed just after birth as shown in the points below. Dairy animals in India these days are forcefully impregnated. This is often done by people who are not professionally trained, making it extremely painful for the animals.

Even though not all farmers are intentionally cruel to the animals but, using an animal for its secretions in itself is cruelty. Especially when dairy products are not necessary for our health. More on farmers down below.

The difference between the American way of making beef (factory farms) vs our Indian beef (milk farmers) in a diagram form.

How Does Future Demand For Milk & Beef Look Like In India?

Source 1 & 2

The demand for milk and beef is growing in India at a rapid pace. Many youngsters are inclined towards dairy products other are into beef as well.

The milk industry in India is expected to grow at a 15.4% CAGR over the forecast period of 2021-2026. The beef industry will follow suit with a predicted annual rate of 9.62% CAGR.

It’s Not Just About The Cows

India has a preference towards cows, as being a holy animal which is why in many states like Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, and Lakshadweep it is banned to slaughter cows. But the same rules don’t apply for buffaloes. Why you might ask? Because they are not holy. This just goes to show the amount of speciesism that we Indians have in the name of religion.

Most of the beef in India comes from these buffalos as they don’t get any rights against the slaughter.

Male Claves Are Killed For Being Male

Source

As male claves do not produce milk they are often starved to death by farmers. After killing the calves their skin is stuffed with cotton and kept in front of their mothers who continue to produce milk thinking it’s for their babies. Although not all people stuff calves but this practice is getting adopted in India. If the calves do not go through this, Still around 60-80% are killed for beef and leather soon after birth.

How Much Of Milk Comes From Cows Vs Buffalos

Source

Source

The smart thing about Amul is that it doesn’t own any animal. It’s similar to Uber, as Uber doesn’t own any taxis itself but still is the biggest taxi provider out there. Similarly, Amul doesn’t own any cows or buffaloes itself.

Different farmers big and small collect the milk and bring it to Amul as seen in the diagram above.

As Amul doesn’t own the animal but only provides independent services, legally they are not obligated to care how the animals are used or abused. This creates a very unique problem for anyone who wants to blame Amul as they are nothing more than a milk processing company that gets all its milk from the farmers. As they are not legally bound to care for the animals they are free to ignore any kind of abuse that the animals are going through.

The promotion of dairy products throughout the country is creating the market because of which more farmers are inclined to join Amul. This increasing demand means more animals in the supply chain. More animals in the supply chain mean more abuse and slaughter in the end.

Amul Can’t Govern Every Farmer And How They Treat Their Animals

With the more than 1 crore farmers and millions of cows and buffaloes in the supply chain, Amul can’t govern how farmers treat their animals even if it wants to.

The only thing they can do is, ignore the problem completely and say β€œOur farmers don’t abuse animals.”

When you look at it logically there’s a conflict of interest at this point. With the number of animals in the supply chain and the demand ramping up. It’s in their best interest to produce more milk in any way possible.

So What Can You Do?

Raise your voice for the animals, open your eyes and see what is happening to animals. This is not about propaganda, Amul Vs PETA, or Indian industries Vs Western Industries. It’s about the animal holocaust that’s happening right around you and you never realize it.

There are more vegetarians in India than in any other country. With time this number has been going down. Especially with young people being influenced by the western culture and eat all kinds of animals.

Spread the awareness for those who can’t speak for themselves. If you’re not vegan yet, you can go vegan. It’s not as hard as you think. It’s more cost-effective and healthier as well. You might not think you can’t make a change but, every step that you take towards stopping animal abuse is better than not taking any.

https://theprint.in/india/amul-turns-to-lord-krishna-goumata-to-counter-peta-hail-indias-cultural-links-with-milk/683311/

https://theprint.in/india/vegan-awareness-has-amul-worried-explains-its-aggressive-ad-says-peta/687656/

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/opinion/why-amuls-disregard-for-peta-indias-vegan-milk-request-is-short-sighted-7320591.html

http://www.amuldairy.com/index.php/the-organization/an-overview

Peta tweets https://thelogicalindian.com/trending/know-why-amul-and-peta-are-engaged-in-a-twitter-war-28767?infinitescroll=1

How many Cattle In India

https://www.nddb.coop/information/stats/pop

Livestock census

https://beef2live.com/story-world-cattle-inventory-ranking-countries-0-106905

Beef produced chart

https://www.statista.com/chart/19122/biggest-exporters-of-beef/

Animal equality India | dairy

https://animalequality.in/issues/dairy/