For Immediate Release:
27 May 2021
Dr Kiran Ahuja; [email protected]
Hiraj Laljani; [email protected]
Mumbai – In response to Amul’s recent ad disparaging vegan milks, which reeked of desperation, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India fired off a letter to the company today offering some sound advice: stop panicking, accept that delicious dairy-free milks are here to stay, and make the ethical, business-savvy decision to switch to producing them exclusively – or other companies that are smart enough to diversify will leave you in the dust.
PETA India’s letter to Amul Managing Director RS Sodhi is available for download upon request.
In the letter, PETA India points out that the demand for vegan food and beverages is so great that a report by Grand View Research revealed that the global dairy alternatives market is estimated to reach USD$52.58 billion by 2028. Analysts at the British financial services company Barclays predict that the vegan food and beverage market could increase by more than 1,000% by the end of the decade, and a 2019 article on a website run by Franchise India Holdings Limited found that the number of vegans in India has risen by 360% in the past decade.
“Much of the world – and that certainly includes India – has turned sour towards dairy over animal welfare, environmental, and health concerns,” says PETA India Vegan Outreach Coordinator Dr Kiran Ahuja. “PETA India is calling on Amul to realise which way the wind is blowing and switch to producing the creamy dairy-free milk that today’s consumers want.”
In India, most people would be astonished to learn that the dairy sector is the primary supplier of cattle to the beef industry and that most family farms are now gone. Today, most cows and buffaloes used for dairy are raised in a factory environment and artificially inseminated (that is, raped when workers insert an arm into the rectum and a metal rod carrying bull semen into the vagina). Their calves are typically taken from them shortly after birth so that the milk nature intended for them can be consumed by humans instead. You’ve seen them on the street: male calves who are of no value to the dairy business, cast out to starve. Others are sold to be killed for their flesh and skin, while females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers: they’re used as milk machines until their bodies give out, at which point many are abandoned or slaughtered for cheap meat.
Such is the dairy industry’s panic that the National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India has made a plea in the High Court of Delhi that only animal milk be permitted to be called “milk”. However, in a 2018 article, the Smithsonian Magazine explains that referring to plant-based milks, such as coconut milk, as milk dates back centuries and is consistent across countries. In vernacular terminology, it is referred to as badam ka doodh and nariyal ka doodh.
PETA India – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – notes that major dairy companies around the world – including Nestlé, Epigamia, Chobani, Danone, and Yoplait – are now investing in non-dairy options.