Jain Vegans ►Something To Think About During Paryushan

Posted: 31.08.2013
Updated on: 18.08.2015

Jain Vegans
Jain Vegans



Dear all,

As most of you will be aware, Paryushan, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness will be starting very soon.  

The Jain Vegans Working Group would like to encourage as many Jains as possible to use this Paryushan to reflect on the cruelty to cows inflicted on cows during milk production and to consider giving up dairy products.  

We would be very grateful if you could forward this email on to friends and family and/or share spread this weblink via Facebook or Twitter.



  1. Please consider giving up dairy products this Paryushan
  2. Survey suggests that fewer than 13% believe it is acceptable for Jains to drink milk
  3. Alternatives to dairy to help you give up
  4. Responses to the essay by Brett Evans on Animal Shelters in India
  5. Gurudev Chitrabhanu's Message about Milk
  6. Upcoming UK based vegan-related events
  7. About Jain Vegans

1. Please consider giving up dairy products this Paryushan

Paryushan, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness will begin in a few weeks. During the festival, followers of the Jain faith traditionally fastrepent, and forgive. For lay members, fasting often entails avoiding activities that are traditionally thought to cause more himsa than others, such as eating root vegetables or eating after sunset.

As someone who has come across the activities of the Jain Vegans Working Group, you will be aware of how our consumption of dairy (organic or conventional) leads to the immense suffering and murder of innocent cows.

·        Dairy cows are forcefully impregnatedby means of artificial insemination to stimulate milk production. 

·        Calves are immediately separated from their mothers at birth.  

·        Male calves are slaughtered soon after birth or sold on to be reared for veal or beef (they are of no other value to a dairy farmer)

·        Dairy cows will normally get slaughtered before the age of 7, even though they could live up to 20 years if given the chance.  This is because her milk yield drop, and it is not does not make financial sense for a farmer to keep her alive when he is able to obtain milk from her younger (and more productive) daughters.

In light of this all, it seems reasonable that during Paryushan we as Jains should acknowledge and reflect on the suffering we have imposed on cows as a result of our consumption of dairy products.

Paryushan offers a perfect time to reflect on the actions we undertake in our daily lives and to make changes to our dietary habits.  So, in addition to the other activities you undertake, why not consider giving up dairy products this Paryushan?

If you believe giving up dairy products this Paryushan is a good idea, please help spread the word.  Kindly forward this email on to friends and family, or spread this weblink via Facebook or Twitter.  Please let us know how you get along, and also consider making this image your Facebook cover picture.

2. Survey suggests that fewer than 13% believe it is acceptable for Jains to drink milk

Over the past few years,  the Jain Vegans Working Group has been surveying members of the Jain community who visited their information stall at festivals and events. The survey, which only has four questions, asks Jains whether they are aware that cows are forcibly impregnated and routinely killed in the milk production process, and whether, knowing that cows are killed, they believe it is acceptable for Jains to consume milk.

Jains Vegans has now received completed forms from over 250 respondents (predominantly from the Oshwal Mela and Navnat Mela in 2011, and the Mahavir Foundation Prathistha at Harrow Leisure Centre in 2012). The results are startling.

After finding out that cows are artificially inseminated killed, 80% of respondents believed it was not acceptable for Jains to consume milk.  Fewer 13% believed it was acceptable for Jains to consume milk, and of those who did, several noted they thought it was necessary to consume milk for reasons of survival or health.  To address these concerns, the Jain Vegans Working Group intends to do more work in the future to promote awareness about plant based health and nutrition.

The survey results also show that a surprisingly high proportion (50%) of respondents are aware that cows are killed in the milk production process, though fewer (43%) were aware that cows are often forcibly impregnated through artificial insemination in order to stimulate milk production.

Unfortunately, the survey only had simple yes/no questions, and so could not reveal how sophisticated respondents’ understanding of the milk production process is (for example, whether they were aware that bull calves are typically killed after birth AND that cows are typically killed by the age of 10, despite being able to live to 20).

Neveretheless, it was positive to see that over 85% of respondents were interested in finding out more about what they could do to help stop the unnecessary killing of cows in milk production.  The most important action we can do as individuals to avoid causing harm to animals is to stop using dairy products, and there is no better time to start now, especially with Paryushan around the corner.

3. Alternatives to dairy to help you give up

It is possible to get a range of dairy free alternatives to traditionally animal based products. Normally available from free-from sections of supermarkets and also from healthfood stores. 

·        Cow milk with Soya/Rice/Almond/Coconut Milk (Supermarket ownbrands, Alpro, Provamel, Bonsoy, So Good, Ecomil, Koko)

·        Yoghurt / Dahi with plant based curds (Provamel, Alpro, Sojade)

·        Butter with vegetable spreads (Pure and Vitalite are commonly available from supermarkets. Note many margarines contain butter milk and thus are not suitable for vegans)

·        Cheese / Paneer with Dairy Free Cheeses (Tofu, Redwoods Cheezly,Scheese,Tofutti, Vegusto, Vegourmet)

·        Ice Creams with sorbets or dairy free ice creams (Rice Dream,Swedish Glace,TofuttiBooja Booja, Worthenshaws)

·        Chocolate with dark chocolate (Plamil and Organica do specialist dairy free ‘milk chocolate’ and many brands do vegan dark chocolate)

·        Eggs with egg replacement powder (baking) or tofu (scrambled)

·        Honey with fruit syrup or golden syrup

For further listings of animal free products, please see the Vegan Society Animal Free Shopper online database: http ://www . vegansociety . com/afssearch . aspx 

4. Responses to the essay by Brett Evans on Animal Shelters in India

In the last Jain Vegans e-bulletin, we included a link to the powerful essay written by Brett Evans on Pranjapoles in India and why adopting a vegan necessary to address the root of the problem (prevention).

Brett and Pravinbhai (JAINA Education Committee) have now received over 80 emails responding to the essay, 40% of which supported the proposed solutions, but 30% rejected the solution and suggested alternative solutions such as putting more pressure on dairy farms to suppored retired cows and young male.

Pravinbhai has now circulated Brett's response, and excerpts from the response are transcribed below:

“Thank you for the overwhelming number of responses I received to my essay on panjrapoles and the production and consumption of dairy. It brings me great hope to know that so many individuals wished to further discuss the issues I raised. At this time, I wish everyone to know that it was never my intent to harm any Panjarapole activities.  Rather, I hope for my essay to begin a constructive discussion of the differences between my perspective and others.  I will not publicly name individual panjrapoles and specific concerns relating to particular panjrapoles. Instead, let me briefly attempt to respond and clarify my position.

I want to affirm that I believe panjarapoles are important institutions with great potential.  I certainly do not advocate discontinuing panjrapoles.  There are so many animals in need but panjrapoles can only house a very small percentage.  In fact, my opinion is that panjarapoles should receive even greater support than they are currently receiving so that they can house more animals.

However please understand that panjarapoles can only address a part of this overwhelming problem.

There are two methods of approaching the problem of abandoned and injured animals:

·        Addressing the root of the problem (prevention) 

·        Housing and treating the animals who are in need (response).

Both of these approaches are critically necessary.  My essay focused on the prevention approach

Through my research, I observed that most panjrapoles are largely serving male cows and older female cows who are classified as “useless” and abandoned by dairy producers.  This is a great violence done by dairy producers.

Panjrapoles should do their best to assist these poor animals, but they should also condemn the violence that necessitated the assistance. 

Most of you are aware of many of the problems present in large numbers of panjrapoles (overcrowding, artificial environments, etc.).  I did not write about the improvement of panjrapoles because I was trying to maintain a clear message in my essay.  If I wrote about too many subjects, it would be difficult for readers to follow and the message could be lost.  I do, of course, have perspectives on the improvement of panjrapoles as well.  I would be happy to share them with all of you at some later date, if there is interest. 

It is true that a minority of panjrapoles are of a far greater quality than most, but these cannot be the model institutions that their supporters wish them to be if they are not also attempting to prevent animals from being abandoned in the first place. 

As long as Jains and all Jain institutions consume and promote the consumption of dairy, this is contributing to the problem they are seeking to address.  This is not consistent, and it is not a long-term solution. There is no conflict between advocating for both veganism and the improvement of panjrapoles at the same time."

5. Gurudev Chitrabhanu's Message about Milk

The Lighthouse Center in Michigan USA, recently published a message from Gurudev Chirtabhanu about milk.  You can read the full message at this link, and some exerpts are pasted below:

"Many of us are vegetarian. We eat plant-based food. We believe in ‘Ahinsa’ which is non-violence or having reverence for all forms of life. We not only believe in ‘Ahinsa’, but we are practitioners of ‘Ahinsa’. We have minimised our needs by becoming or remaining vegetarian."

"Though being vegetarian is excellent for man’s physical as well as spiritual health, it is not enough. We have realized, over the years, that being ‘vegan’ is far superior and a much more complete practice of ‘Ahinsa’. Veganism does not allow the intake of milk or dairy products for human consumption or use."

6. Upcoming UK based vegan-related events

London Vegans Speaker Evening, Wednesday 28th August
Ivor Hueting from the Safe Water Information Service.
Further details: http ://www . londonvegans . org . uk/lvhome . php  

Brixton Free Vegan Food Event, Thursday 29th August 6pm
Free schnitzel sandwiches, salad and sauce from Fry's at the Ms Cupcake Bakery.
Further details: http ://www . meetup . com/londonvegan/events/134696112/ ;

Camden Vegan Walkabout, Saturday 31st August 11am
Walkabout featuring trips to vegan friendly cafes, shops, shoe stores and restaurants (including Inspiral Lounge, Third Estate, Cookies and Scream, Vx and Cakes 'n' Treats')
Further details: http ://www . meetup . com/londonvegan/events/135346612/

Opening of a new vegan cake and coffee shop in Camden, Saturday 31st August 12pm
Further details: https://www . facebook . com/events/278057885669346/

VegfestUK London, Saturday 5th & Sunday 6th October
Further details: www . vegfest . co . uk
Paris Vegan Day, Saturday 12th October
Further details: www . facebook . com/pages/Paris-Vegan-Days/174580412589850
East Midlands Vegan Festival (Lincoln), Saturday 12th October
Further details: www . eastmidlandsveganfestival . co . uk

Live A Better Life (Liverpool), Saturday 19th October
Further details: www . ethicsandhealth . org . uk/LABL_Fair_Liverpool.html

Animal Aid School Speaker Cookery Demonstration (London), Saturday 19 October
To book your place or further information, contact Animal Aid.
West Midlands Vegan Festival (Wolverhampton), Saturday 26th October
Further details: www . midlandsveganfestival . org . uk
North East Vegan Festival (Sunderland), Sunday 17th November
Further details: www . northeastveganfestival . co . uk

Animal Aid's Christmas Fayre (Kensington Town Hall, London), Sunday 8th December
Further details: www . animalaid . org . uk/h/n/NEWS/news_living//2724//

7. About Jain Vegans

Jain Vegans (www . jainvegans . org) was established in 2008 to support Jains in the transition towards a low-himsa lifestyle, largely in response to the abuse and violation of cows in milk production.

Though we are not formally established as an organisation, we organise regular events and workshops on a plant-based lifestyle (e-mail us if you'd like to get in contact) and interact with member and supporters through the following channels: 


..a friendly online forum where you can exchange and ideas about veganism and Jainism with other members from around the world....

...follow us on Twitter (@JainVegans) for instant news and information...


..'like' us on facebook for updates on our activities and invitations to events... 

With warm wishes,

The Jain Vegans Team



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