The Environmental Impact of "Ahimsa" Milk Exceeds that of Beef

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"Ahimsa" Milk is milk that is produced without any apparent cruelty towards the cows. However, when we extract the maternal secretions of cows, we are essentially exploiting them. Further, we can show that the environmental impact of "Ahimsa" milk exceeds that of beef and therefore, "Ahimsa" milk production is hugely detrimental to wildlife. Here is the calculation:

The water footprint of milk is 1000 liters for every liter of milk. However, the water footprint assumes that we are ruthlessly turning the cow into beef as soon as she becomes "unproductive" at the age of 6 years. During this shortened lifespan, she produces milk for only 4 of the 6 years.

"Ahimsa" milk production occurs without such killing and therefore, the cow would live for a full life span of 20-25 years. The male calves would also be allowed to live out their full lives. Then the water footprint of a liter of milk would be 10,000 - 12,500 liters. The dry weight of a liter of milk is 140 grams, which means that the water footprint of "Ahimsa" milk is 71,430 - 89,290 liters per Kg of dry matter biomass. Please note that the water footprint would be proportionally greater if the calves partake of a portion of their mother's milk.

The water footprint of beef is 2500 gallons per pound. Each pound of beef has a dry weight of 0.38 lbs. Therefore, the water footprint of beef is 2500X3.79X2.2/0.38 = 54,860 liters per Kg of dry matter biomass.

Hence, the water footprint of "Ahimsa" milk exceeds that of beef. Please Go Vegan as there is no right way to exploit another.

Sailesh Rao

Dr. Sailesh Rao is an Electrical Engineer, systems specialist, Climate Healer, author of "Carbon Dharma: The Occupation of Butterflies" and "Carbon Yoga: The Vegan Metamorphosis", and Executive Producer of "The Human Experiment", "Cowspiracy," "What The Health” and “A Prayer for Compassion.