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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This thread may be offensive to some vegans because the talk about the cows will seem to treat them as objects. But I think this thread is better suited to the vegan forum.

I often wonder how much milk would cost if none of the cows went for slaughter. The males would be kept alive and roaming around in the fields and the milking cows would also be out there when they dried up. Can the cost even be calculated? It seems like there should be a way to figue it out but I can't get my head around it.

-- From a recent account of a former dairy farmer, cows are milked for between 5-10 years. So let's say the average would be 7.5 years of age for a cow.

-- How long do cows live for if no one slits their throats? Maybe 30 years? We would have to know that.

-- The price of milk right now would be calculated by how much feed the cow would get, how much the workers are paid, and then overhead and stuff.

-- The added costs would come from the feed for the males for a lifetime and the females for a lifetime rather than just the feed for a female for 7.5 years.

-- There would also be added costs from not being able to sell the cows and the male calves. How much money do they get for them?

The reason I ask this is because I think as a L-vegetarian I was trying to think of the suppliers of my organic yogurt as not having the dairy cows slaughtered. But for that to be true it seems the price of the yogurt would've been very high. Way too high to be considered viable. So thinking that milk can be obtained without killing any of the cows is almost wishful thinking it seems. How much would someone be willing to pay for dairy prodcuts if the farms were truly humane?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Sun View Post

But for that to be true it seems the price of the yogurt would've been very high.
soy yogurt is about $0.80 USD, is near identical in taste and texture, and doesn't cause cows to be killed.

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Way too high to be considered viable.
$0.80 isn't bad for a cup of yogurt.

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So thinking that milk can be obtained without killing any of the cows is almost wishful thinking it seems.
They seem to do a good job at it, and only ~$3/QT

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How much would someone be willing to pay for dairy prodcuts if the farms were truly humane?
"humane" farms are not feasibly cost-effective for large scale production.

learn2vegan imo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh, I hadn't considered this:

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Foot and Mouth is not a killer, but does reduce the meat and milk, and thereby the animal's commercial value. In the 19th century Britain took the lead in aggressively pushing a policy of killing animals sick with the disease, and forced other countries to follow suit.

There are, however, still many countries where foot and mouth disease comes and goes; the result is reduced yields but still a level playing field for that nation's farmers. Unfortunately, the current policy of 'culling' has meant that many farmers' livelihoods have been either wiped out or irreparably damaged, resulting in widespread despair and even suicide. Was that worth it?

Yet we should reflect that for every dairy farmer saying a tearful farewell to the named milk cows he has tended on the family farm for a decade, there are just as many farmers that think nothing of arranging for the same cows to be slaughtered when they can no longer give milk. And although the number of animals killed during the epidemic has been vast, we would do well to remember that every single week of the year, when there is no foot and mouth, this country mechanically electrocutes, shoots, slices up and wraps in plastic 50,000 cows and 230,000 sheep. Every week. We may not hear their screams as they die, and we do not see mounds of smoking corpses, but it goes on day in, day out, with chilling efficiency. If we take so seriously the plight of the fox that it occupies hours of parliamentary sessions, perhaps it would be well to re-examine our attitudes to all four-legged life?
http://www.iskcon.org.uk/news/2001/may/index.html

That would also push the price up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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The Hare Krishnas once ran a commercial dairy at New Vrindaban with a herd of 430 cows, but the operation was running only to cover its own costs. The reason for this, according to a devotee, is that Hare Krishnas do not sell their cows to be slaughtered because of their spiritual practices and most money made in a commercial dairy operation is made through the slaughtering of cows.
http://www.pluralism.org/resources/s...mber=&slide=36

Bolded part: is that true? I doubt it is. But the Hare Krishnas would run a humane dairy and it seems they found it to be unviable. Although they do seem to still have dairies for the members of their communities. It just seems that if it isn't commercially viable it would also be a huge waste of human resources to have a dairy.
 

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Last I checked the Krishnas were training the bull calves as oxen. The oxen plow large tracts of land to grow foods for the cattle and the people.

In theory, this is how it's supposed to work: Cows are kept for the production of milk. Female calves grow up to become milk producers, and male calves become breeding bulls or team oxen. The oxen plow hayfields to provide food for the cows, and vegetable fields of organic produce to sell. The cows' manure fertilizes it all. When cattle are no longer able to produce milk or plow, they are retired on the farm. The milk products and vegetables are sold to support the farm and "retired" animals.

So basically it is a set-up we may have seen before the Industrial Revolution. Is this commercially viable beyond small groups of Krishna devotees? I think it's easy to surmise the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Except pre Industrial Revolution they would've been killing all the cows when they dried up.

So far the best number I can come up with is the feed would cost about eight times as much to have a humane farm. That based on a cow having the same # of male and female calves. I'm not sure what that ratio is -- I'm not sure if it's one to one or not.

I'm thinking the cost of feed is probably the major cost on a dairy farm but I really don't know.
 

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If the idea is to approach something that could be called "humane," would this mythical farm:

- No longer forcibly impregnate the cows every year?

- No longer start the impregnation when the cows are younger than they would normally have their first calf?

- Let the calves stay with their mothers as long as they want and have all the milk they want?

- Use cows who have not been bred to produce much more milk than normal (cince taking all that milk from cows drains their bones of calcium and other minerals, which is why half are lame by the ime they're five years old)?

If they did all this, the cows would produce enough milk for their calves, and no more.

And we didn't even get to the ecological damage, or the fact that the cow might not want you pulling her teats, and that in the wild a nearby bull would defend the cow and not let you get under her to milk her.

And I guess the last thing that comes to mind is, "humane" seems somewhat incompatible with "how can I coax something from her body that I want but don't need?"
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, here's a Hare Krishna farm that breaks down the numbers:

http://www.newtalavana.org/adoptacow/budget.html

It seems the cost for each cow (males and females) is $340.

You make some really good points vegzilla. I would like to visit a Hare Krishna farm someday to see how it operates. I still think that it's a huge waste to raise cows just to get some milk from them. But it seems it's a part of their religion and maybe that's why they don't seem to consider giving it up. I guess in the same way that lots of people seem to feel that companion pets are an intergral part of our culture now and wouldn't want to see an end to that.
 

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Cool questions.


What if the government subsidized keeping the cows alive?

As far as the soy yogurt, it takes getting used to, but it's been getting better. Silk has a new one out that's a lot closer to cow yogurt than ever. But afaik, it *just* came out, like maybe 2 weeks ago. And the only one I tried was the key lime flavor.
 
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