U.K.-based Ahimsa Milk is the first and only company that sells “slaughter-free” milk — milk that is produced without killing any cows, calves or bulls. But what exactly is slaughter-free milk and is it even feasible on a larger scale?
In conventional dairy production, dairy cows are usually impregnated yearly and pumped with hormones to produce as much milk as possible. But dairy cows can’t produce milk forever — and that’s when they’re slaughtered. Calves and bulls are also slaughtered when they’re no longer “useful”. In short, the lives of dairy cows are cruel and heartbreaking.
The horrible treatment of dairy cows is exactly why something like slaughter-free milk is such a great idea. Rather than face death when they can’t produce milk, Ahimsa Milk’s cows will retire to a sancutary to live out the rest of their lives.
Ahimsa Milk’s economic model is undoubtedly more humane — but is it realistic? Erik Marcus of Vegan.com has serious doubts. He writes,
Start thinking about the feed, veterinary costs, and housing costs involved and it’s clear that the future financial obligations entailed by a glass of slaughter-free milk dwarf its production costs. And that goes double if the cows are receiving high-quality veterinary care, and are given spacious accommodations during their productive lives and their retirements. Now also consider that at four calves per cow, two of those calves will be males. Are they really going to give these two males accommodations and veterinary care for their natural twenty year lives?
While slaughter-free milk is certainly far more humane than conventional milk products, it’s not exactly a realistic model for the dairy industry to adopt. In the meantime, though, perhaps dairy-free milks are your best option.