Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Aug 22, 2014 11:52 AM

veggie Indians and their dairy foods

Hi, I read here that about 30-35% Indians are vegetarians. Does anyone know where do they get they dairy products from - are they buying them from suppliers who eventually kill the animals for meat or are there companies that dont kill animals and only keep them to produce dairy products? Also, would those animals be 'free range' or kept in farms?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. This is a big question since India is a big country to begin with and there are Indian emigrant communities in many other countries.

    "are there companies that dont kill animals and only keep them to produce dairy products?"

    I'm pretty sure this isn't possible. Can't really keep multiple bulls very easily since they will fight when around cows in estrus. Other than the ones raised for rodeo bullriding purposes (or pets, for those with the space and money, I suppose) most calves end up neutered and slaughtered. Or of course I guess they could be neutered and used as draft animals, but I'm not sure how much oxen are used for this purpose in India anymore. One of the reasons some people are vegans rather than vegetarians, of course.

    1. The Indian dairy industry is enormous, possibly one of the largest in the world. The have a mix of small and large producers, some quite modern and sophisticated others less so. The standards of animal care also vary enormously, and they do follow the same cycle as other countries and remove male calfs. About a third of the industry is buffalo based rather than dairy cow.

      1. Most Indians aren't buying directly from the farmers. They are either buying their dairy from shops and stores, or they have a "doodhwalla" (milk delivery man) come by every morning to deliver milk. Many people make their own butter and yogurt at home. People in the rural villages have either a doodhwalla to get their milk from, or they have their own cows, goats and/or sheep.

        My inlaws live in a larger city in India and they have a doodhwalla that comes every morning to deliver milk. If they run out, they just go to the shop down the street and buy the UHT packaged milk to tide them over.

        3 Replies
        1. re: boogiebaby

          Doodhwalla is not where the expression "dude" comes from, right?

          1. re: Tripeler

            Funny. Doodh means milk, but wallace could be translated as dude. Milk dude.

        2. The Vegetarians get their Dairy from the same place the Non-Vegetarians get it.
          All Dairy Cows (pretty much) are eventually going to be killed.
          Do you think Farmers can afford to keep a Cow after it's Milk production tapers off? You would still have to Feed and Care for it even though it is not an asset any more not a sustainable way to run a Dairy.

          1. So even though they're 'vegetarians', they do not care too much about the actual LIFE of a cow etc.?
            I've always been wondering, are veggie Indians a great positive example of people thinking humanely about animals or are they just following their religion and that's as far as it gets.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Claco

              You should do some reading about Dairy Farming, Hinduism and Humanity.
              " 'vegetarians' " Why the Quotes? If you do not eat Meat you are by definition a Vegetarian.
              When you are talking about "veggie Indians" 423,424,035 People.
              Your generalization about their thinking and Religion is silly.
              Many people who raise Animals for Food do so Humanely.
              This is not a forum for making ethical judgments of others.

              1. re: Claco

                Ciaco - I suspect it's an inconvenient truth for all vegetarians no matter what their nationality of religion. Vegans on the other hand recognise this, and there are vegans and vegan religious doctrines in India.

                I have not really researched this but wonder if India's dairy industry is more recent than the industry in many countries so the contradiction between religious tradition and industrial food production is a modern phenomena. Possibly the result of increased affluence across India and thus access to more animal based products in the diet (including an overall increase in meat eating).

                1. re: Claco

                  This is not an issue exclusive to India, and has almost nothing to do with religion.

                  What do you think happens to the chickens in the US that can't lay any more eggs? Or cows and goats that no longer make milk? (Hint: it doesn't include frollicking in a pasture....) Regardless of the free range/organic/cage free etc... designations the end result is the same.

                  Veganism identifies the issues with all animal based products and avoids them altogether.

                  1. re: Ttrockwood

                    Plus the hyprocrisy over veal. Many don't eat veal because it's perceived to be cruel (even Rose veal). Yet male calves are slaughtered no matter what as the dairy cow needs to be kept in production. So veal could be bi-product of the dairy industry but much is not used for human consumption due to this odd bias.

                  2. re: Claco

                    Like most people everywhere else in the world, Indians mostly just eat whatever they were raised eating; there usually isn't much philosophizing. I'm Indian, and I've talked to various friends and relatives about why they do or don't eat dairy or eggs or meat. For the most part, they really don't think about it. I don't think Indians are unique in this regard.