A video about animal abuse has gone viral. And no, it's not a video about dog abuse. It is about a cow - that is milked by the dairy industry till it can no longer produce milk. What's most cruel is that its calves are denied its milk and are snatched away within hours of their birth.
At last count the video "Who's ruining my chai?" had clocked close to a million views. While some people are shocked to see how our "gau mata" is treated despite the many battalions of gau rakshaks to protect her, others want to undo the damage by going easy on dairy products.
The video also takes the meat-eating vs non-meat eating debate to another level. Milking a cow till it dies is no better than killing it for food.
Who is answerable?
The dairy industry has reason to be silent about this endless chain of abuse. The world over, even at the most organic of farms, cows are medically abused to make them produce more milk, separated from their young ones, and then conveniently abandoned when they become a financial liability.
Robin Singh of Peepal Farm in Dharmashala, the animal activist who posted the video, tells Catch, "All her life a cow is abused mentally and physically in a dairy, just to be then thrown out on the street or slaughtered. Calves are separated from their mothers or thrown out or starved."
The solution obviously lies in not consuming dairy products.
"As consumers, we have a choice to not indulge in dairy. An overall reduction in the demand of dairy will reduce the number of cows and bulls that suffer because of it. As citizens, we have a right and responsibility to uphold the Constitution and demand for milk producers to ensure that their cows are not ending up in slaughterhouses."
In Singh's video the message is clear - reduce your dairy consumption because cows pay for the milk you drink with their blood!
Food for thought
He captures a cow with a grievous wound in the stomach. She was hit by a man with a sickle as she was wandering for food. She gives birth to a calf prematurely, the calf dies.
Rimjhim, another victim of abuse, gives birth to a calf - Buddhu. But Rimjhim has been abused to a point that she doesn't have milk for her own calf. Buddhu dies.
"These are some of the many cruel outcomes of the dairy industry in India," says Singh in the voice-over.
"When the cows cannot produce any milk, dairies don't want to feed them, or take care of them. The cows look for food on the roads, often eating plastic, or starve to death."
Singh points out that calves are separated from their mothers early on, and male calves are abandoned or starved to death.
Before you drink that morning chai - do spare a thought for the cows.