Way back in the 1960s, my grandparents suffered a series of tragedies. A row of children died as soon as they were born or a few months after. When my mother was born, she was quite sickly as well. She had some kind of a liver problem which prevented her from ingesting food. They took her to Dr. Jemmi, then the most famous Liver specialist in Chennai. Unlike so many doctors today, he prescribed a simple home remedy: Buy a cow, raise it organically with good fodder and feed the children with milk from the cow. Apparently, he challenged my grandfather, "Let's see how your children don't become healthy in two years' time!"
So my grandfather bought a jersey cow, Rani, and he raised her dutifully. And true to prediction, my mom and her elder brother improved steadily and became quite healthy! I've heard this story told so many times over and over. But I've always thought: why bother raise a cow when you can buy milk?
I got my answer recently. A year or so back, I started reading about going organic. That's when I discovered the horror stories about milk in the US. Cows are never allowed to see the daylight, cooped up in huge factories, fed anti-biotics and milked using machines. There is much more information about this torture if you google for it. I am pretty sure part of this is going on in India as well. Anyways, I was so upset that I thought of swearing off milk for a while.
I don't mean to sound very superstitious but if you extract a product out of an animal/plant that gives it great agony physically and mentally (think fear), does it not affect the person consuming it? All the evil karma probably goes into our lives. Anyways, that's when I started thinking about solutions. Going organic and supporting local farms definitely helps. However, these are not long-term solutions. When anything becomes a business, there are certain compromises that have to be made for profits.
Personally, I feel like the right thing is to have a cow per household. A household pet will never be treated harshly and can provide enough milk to sustain the family. And we would know the source of the milk and rest assured that it won't have some scary chemical in it. Definitely not a simple solution because maintenance of another living being is complex. Given our lazy lifestyles and apartment living today, it seems near impossible. And I am no exception.
But the hope is that some day, I might see light. If we are convinced and set our minds to it, I believe this is possible at least in India. The exercise involved in cow maintenance might just get us IT-types a workout and maybe, people will learn to respect all animal life? Or we find a different solution to the milk situation?