Amul turns to Lord Krishna, Goumata to counter PETA and praise India’s cultural ties to milk

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Representative image. | According to Amul, milk is an all-natural, vegetarian superfood, while herbal drinks contain additives like stabilizers and thickeners, and also cost six times as much.

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New Delhi: Dairy giant Amul has used the services of bovine deities in an attempt to denounce nonprofits seeking to promote ‘plant-based drinks’ as alternatives to milk in India on charges of animal cruelty in India. the dairy industry.

Highlighting the cultural and spiritual importance of dairy products in India, the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation, which oversees the Amul brand, on Tuesday published an advertisement in major English dailies to present “facts” that “will break the myths”.

In the ad, Amul said that milk has been an integral part of Indian life since the Harappan civilization 4,500 years ago. He pointed out that the Hindu deity, Lord Krishna, the keeper of the sacred cow, was a well-known “milkman of India”.

Amul advertising on herbal drinks.
Amul advertising on herbal drinks.

Cows are worshiped in India, according to the advertisement, naming bovine deities such as “Kamdhenu”, “Surabhi”, “Goumata” and “Nandini”. Thus, farmers cannot treat cattle cruelly to produce milk for human consumption, he stressed.

He also noted that milk is an all-natural, vegetarian superfood, while herbal drinks contain additives like stabilizers and thickeners, and also cost six times as much.

Speaking to ThePrint about it, Amul’s chief executive RS Sodhi said there was “zero scope” of animal cruelty in the country. “In India, cows are given names and are treated like family. They receive food before all family members and are properly bathed and cared for. There is no scope for cruelty with such behavior, ”Sodhi said.

The move comes nearly a month after the NGO People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) asked Amul switch to vegan milk production. The animal body told the Indian giant in a letter, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” highlighting the growing interest in “vegan milk”.


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“False image of the Indian dairy”

According to Sodhi, dairy is a related ecosystem in India, with the “Rs 8 lakh crore industry” supporting the rural landscape. He claimed that if they opted for herbal drinks, it would instead be worth “Rs 24 lakh crore”, with most of them “imported”.

“If we move away from cow’s milk, what will landless farmers feed their children on and where will we get our required biofertilizer from? Milk is the most affordable and natural nutrition for 1.35 billion Indians, ”he said, adding that the country produces 200 million metric tons of milk.

Regarding claims that animals do not drink milk from other animals, Sodhi pointed out that dogs and cats, which are commonly used as pets, drink milk.

“We are not against vegan or vegetable drinks, but they should not do it by denigrating the Indian dairy industry. They don’t give any scientific evidence to prove it’s better than dairy, ”he said.

Other industry experts also agreed with these views, pointing to an alleged conspiracy.

“These foreign NGOs don’t know about established Indian beliefs and practices. They target dairy products at the request of multinationals for their business benefits. They are on the verge of destroying a formidable, deeply rooted dairy and livestock industry in India, ”said Guru Prasad Singh, professor in the Department of Livestock and Dairy at the Hindu University of Banaras.

“We are the largest milk producers in the world without any massive capital investment, which annoys them,” Singh said.

“They are spreading a false image of Indian dairy products… This is a collective effort to dismantle the huge unorganized milk and dairy sector in India in order to pave the way for foreign companies,” he said. he stated, noting that there is massive cruelty in the poultry industry but there is never a glance at it.


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The dispute

The vegan milk slugfest owes its origins to a notification issued by the food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), in August 2020, to propose stop using the word “milk” for almond, soy, rice and oat based drinks.

This led to an Amul campaign this year to shatter the myths of “herbal drinks”. In response, PETA and two other organizations, Beauty Without Cruelty and Sharan India, petitioned the Indian Advertising Standards Council against the campaign. The plea was fired in May.

PETA then wrote the letter mentioned above, asking Amul to switch to vegan milk – an idea that Sodhi summarily dismissed. Meanwhile, the vice-president of the dairy cooperative urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ban PETA for defaming the image of the industry in a larger “foreign plot”.

Sarvesh Pande, co-founder and director of bovine NGO DearCows said: “Cows are used for the circular economy in Indian agriculture… If we are moving towards plant-based substitutes, almond milk will be imported from the United States, where this PETA comes from, depriving Indian agriculture of support.

He added: “Almonds will be imported by cargo, these almond cultivation processes are killing thousands of bees… PETA brings animal campaigns to India but does not provide any support system to protect animal rights.

Many companies in India like Sofit, Epigamia and Urban Platter have launched vegan alternatives to milk, but they are much smaller than the dairy industry. However, these companies have acquired an important urban foothold despite their high cost. A tetra pack of Amul milk costs Rs 50 / liter, while Sofit soy milk costs over Rs 140 / liter.

The Indian market for dairy alternatives stood to $ 20.9 million in 2018 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.7% to reach $ 63.9 million by 2024, due to the growing participation of young people in fitness and exercise activities. growing consumer inclination for low fat dairy drinks.


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