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ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿ - Krishna Shastry
ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳು, ಶುದ್ಧ ಸಸ್ಯಾಹಾರ, ಪರಿಸರ, ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ವೀಗನಿಸಂ ಎಂಬ ತತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಇಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸರಳ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ ನಾನು.
ನನ್ನ ಇತರ ಆಸಕ್ತಿಗಳೆಂದರೆ ನೀತಿಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ನೀತಿಸಂಹಿತೆಗಳು, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ, ಆವಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳು, ವಿಜ್ಞಾನ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆ, ಭಾಷಾನೀತಿಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ.

I am a simple Kannadiga following veganism, that cares about animal rights, pure vegetarianism, environment and health.
My other interest include ethics, public healthcare, public policies, innovation, science & technology, Kannada language and linguistic policies.
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Monday, September 10, 2012

The death of Verghese Kurien, man behind Amul and White Revolution in India


Introduction

Yesterday, 9 Sep 2012 marked end of an era, when Mr. Verghese Kurien, hailed as “Milkman of India” and “Father of the White Revolution” passed away. He was the creator of Amul brand. More details about him can be found in following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verghese_Kurien

However, the main focus of this article is about cattle. Modern day dairy farming might have uplifted several people in rural areas, but what did it really do the cattle?

In my earlier blog article Happy California Cows, I have written about how a company tried to create a perception that cows in California are really leading an extremely happy life and thus it is a good thing to buy their products. I am sure their efforts might have very well worked the way they intended. That is because, our society by and large has become human-centric, considering nature and other species inferior.

How did cattle’s life change with modern day dairy farming?

OLD TREND – Natural mating process
NEW TREND – Artificial insemination, extremely frequent pregnancy-birth-milking cycles

Should cattle be happy to lose their sexual freedom and right to choose their partners?

OLD TREND - Natural grazing
NEW TREND - Man-made formula

Should cattle be happy after losing their right to choose their food and eat from natural sources?

OLD TREND - Roaming around most of the times
NEW TREND - 24*7 confinement within sheds

Should cattle be happy about their lost right to be free and exercise?

There is more - cows in dairy farming cannot choose their own medicines from natural sources, their sheds are not maintained in hygienic conditions in many cases, today man decides when a cow should or should not stay with its calf, male calves are mercilessly sent to slaughter houses, cows are fed with hormones to achieve higher milk production, foreign breeds are imported to India and made to suffer here under weather conditions that are not natural to them, and so on....

Was old trend good for cattle?

I am not saying that the old trend was perfect either. Drinking milk itself is an unnatural process, not-so-healthy and also not environment friendly. Even the old trend was not completely humane and did not respect all the rights of cattle. But modern day dairy farming has made things lot worse. With this long list of wrong doings against them, do you really think they are happy? If not, then what is the meaning of the below picture? Isn’t it a completely deceiving picture that cows are happy?



Conclusion

Modern dairy farming practices have severely hurt interests of cattle, a gentle species, and India is fast moving towards totally insensitive western mentality in this regard, treating cows as just commodities. That’s a fact that I cannot brush aside, though I admire and respect some great qualities that Mr. Verghese Kurien has shown.

Maybe Mr. Verghese Kurien had nothing against cattle specifically and only meant good for fellow human beings, and probably he was just a pawn in the inevitable sequence of events, which were anyway bound to happen due to ever increasing human need and greed. But the reality remains – Mr. Verghese Kurien ended up playing an important and direct role in increasing cruelty on animals. While trying to solve human issues, if he had considered rights of animals also, to live and be free, it would have been wonderful.

Ironical Fact: Mr. Verghese Kurien himself didn’t like milk and never used to drink it!

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Become a Vegan
For your health
To save our environment
To protect rights of all animals, birds and fish

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Disclaimer: I don’t know exact position of Mr. Verghese Kurien on veganism. I could not get any references on that yet.
 

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

ಕಾಲಚಕ್ರಕ್ಕೆ ಹಿಂತಿರುವಿಲ್ಲ.ಪ್ರಾಕೃತಿಕ ನಿಯಮಗಳನ್ನು ಅರ್ಥೈಸಿಕೊಳ್ಳುವಲ್ಲಿ ಮನುಷ್ಯನ ಅಸಾಮರ್ಥ್ಯ ಏನಿದ್ದರೂ ಎಲ್ಲವನ್ನು ಬದಲಾಯಿಸುವಲ್ಲಿ (ಒಳ್ಳೇದಕ್ಕೂ ಕೆಟ್ಟದ್ದಕ್ಕೂ. ಮತ್ತೆ ಉದ್ದೇಶಪೂರ್ವಕವಾಗಿಯೂ ಅಜ್ಞಾನದಲ್ಲೂ) ಕ್ರಿಯಾಶೀಲನಾಗಿರುವುದು ಇವನೊಬ್ಬನೇ. ಆ ನಿಟ್ಟಿನಲ್ಲಿ ಕುರಿಯನ್ ಎಷ್ಟು pawn in the inevitable sequence of eventsಓ ನೀವೂ ನಾನೂ ಅಷ್ಟೇ ಎಂಬ ಭಾವ ಮೂಡುತ್ತದೆ :-(
ಅಶೋಕವರ್ಧನ

Manisha Hariharan said...

Well written article & my sentiments exactly.I had the honour of meeting Mr Kurien briefly.Indeed a great man & like you v rightly said,had he considered the rights of animals also it would have been wonderful.Mr Kurien didn't drink milk but he ate beef.Like you ,a fact I can't ignore:(

Ashwatha said...

Who says old trend was for cattle to be "Roaming around most of the times"? Cattle have been domesticated and confined for most of human history.

Also, who said cattle had "natural mating process" ever? Before artificial insemination, it was typically one "devara gooLi" in a village that mated with every cow in the village; that's not necessarily "sexual freedom" for the cows. Also, very few animals in the natural world (even in the wild) have "sexual freedom" - it is usually the alpha male of the herd that as sex with the females (more like rape than consensual intercourse).

Also, you mention "choose their own medicines from natural sources" - come on, cows are not doctors!

I am not saying that current cattle-herding practices are better or more humane than in the past. However, the specific practices that you mention are not particularly relevant in judging current practices vis-a-vis past practices.

For example:

Past practice for male cows: castration

Past practice for post-menopausal cows: Force them to pull heavy carts

Past practice for sick cows in need of medical treatment: *none*

The point is: you can pick holes in both current and past practices. I also don't think you can analyze these using human-centric parameters like "right to choose", for example. Most animals do not have this even in their natural settings, and the problem when it comes to cows is that they haven't been in their "natural setting" since the dawn of human civilization - so no one really knows what they lived like before getting domesticated.

ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿ - Krishna Shastry said...

@Ashwatha:

Thanks for taking time to share your thoughts.

We can debate on specific points, but both of us agree that current practices are more cruel than the past. So, "we can pick holes in both past and present" kinda dilutes the seriousness.

I notice that we also agree that old trend was also not perfect. The castration of male cows - good that you brought up.

Regarding imperfect scenarios for the animals in wild, there is no human hand in it. I don't think it would be ethical to use that as a justification and abuse animals even more. That's just how I feel.

Lastly, regarding how cattle lived before domestication, following link can give us some insight:
http://www.chillinghamwildcattle.com/speculation

Besides, we still have varieties of wild buffalo. They live in herds and it is not too complicated to envision their natural life cycle.

ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿ - Krishna Shastry said...

@Manisha: He ate beef? No wonder he was quite insensitive towards cattle welfare during White Revolution.

Also, we all should note that this boom in dairy industry has clearly and directly boosted leather and beef industry.

Anonymous said...

Nice article...

Anonymous said...

@ Krishna Shastry, I wish there are more sane & compassionate minds like you in this world. Verghese Kurien was a scourge to say the least, he altered the dairy industry with his insensitive methods & is the cause of crores of cattle in India which died a premature death when was at the helm for decades at Amul. It is surprising how a staunch vegetarian like our honorable PM (then Gujarat CM for 3 full terms) allowed Kurien to continue with his evil designs till he died.

Our country which has Gau Puja & all should be less hypocritic. We worship the mother, kill her male calf, use leather, eat beef or export them, use the female calf to give us milk, when they get old they also are killed, eaten & their skin is used as leather. We humans even cant imagine giving such a punishment to our enemy also what we award to a defenseless cow, buffalo which only gave us milk for years without seeking anything in return. Hope the new PM starts introducing ethical dairy practices like what Iskcon does in their Goshalas, the first 6 months are for the calves & then the next 7 months for humans. The calves are not killed, they are allowed to grow to a strong bull & are used for tilling land. The milking process is also with hand & not with machines. Srila Prabhupada has shown all the right ways of living & promoted compassion between living beings.

Dorte Bæk-Sørensen said...

The real father of The White Revolution was my father: Svend Baek-Sorensen. He taught Mr. Kurien about daitying, as this was my father's education. He was a dairy engineer. My father was 36 when he came to Anand to teach Mr. Kurien how to start up a dairy. My father was working for FAO (United Nations)
In our country dairy and farming cooperation has been practiced for many centuries and my father has grown up in this tradition. When the dairy was opened in 1956 my father's mission was over. But nobody ever mentions him as the father of The White Revolution of India!! Dorte Baek-Sorensen

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