Chennai: Calling urgent attention to the pitiable condition of male calves in the dairy sector, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has urged people across India to shun dairy and dairy products.
A message by PETA, "Male calves are discarded like trash because they can't produce milk. Go vegan", is popping up in major cities like Chennai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai to mark the World Vegan Month observed in November.
The animal rights organisation is targeting several common dairy-industry practices such as separating calves from their mothers shortly after birth, then abandoning the males, allowing them to starve, or selling them to be killed for their flesh and skin since they cannot produce milk.
"Calves deserve to stay with their mothers and nurse, yet this industry commonly casts off the males to die so that humans can steal the milk intended for them," said PETA India Senior Campaigns Coordinator Radhika Suryavanshi.
"This World Vegan Month, PETA India encourages everyone to recognise that cow and buffalo milk belongs to calves, not humans."
According to PETA India sources, some dairies even use 'khalbacchas' - stuffed dead calves hung or propped up on sticks - to try to trick mother cows and buffaloes into lactation.
A Nagpur man was recently booked for this and other cruelty to cattle.
The dairy industry also supports the beef and leather industries, which are able to exist in India largely because the dairy sector supplies them with spent and unwanted animals, according to the organisation.
Meanwhile, University of Oxford researchers have found that going meat- and dairy-free can reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.
And doctors tell us dairy consumption in humans is linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer, and other ailments, PETA India added.