Dairy cattle like cows and buffaloes are mammals. Humans are also mammals. Females of mammals produce milk for their offspring for a short period after giving birth.
Other than humans no other adult mammals consume milk, definitely not of another species. Only humans do that. Even in adult humans the ability to digest milk is limited. As many as 60% humans can’t digest milk!
Milk is not our food.
And how do we get milk? Cows and buffaloes are not benevolent. They do not produce milk for us humans. Their milk is for their calves. So we get them to give birth and then separate the newborn from the mother and milk the animal for human consumption.
We give dairy cattle hormones to produce additional milk. Far more than they would produce in nature for their calves. And since they give milk only after giving birth, the cows are impregnated again within 2-3 months of giving birth for the next cycle. So a cow spends pretty much all of its “productive” life as constantly being pregnant. About 5 years. Imagine being pregnant for 5 years!
The farmers and commercial dairy farms that raise these cattle treat them as machines. Machines that take fodder at one end and produce milk at the other. After 4 or 5 pregnancies the milk production starts to decline. The cattle does not remain economically viable for the farmer. What do you do with a machine which is no longer productive?
You sell it.
Who would buy a cow that cannot be milked? Enter slaughterhouses.
Slaughterhouses buy the unproductive cattle from farmers. Farmers use the money to buy new cattle and the cycle goes on. Slaughterhouses kill the animal and sell the meat and leather. That’s how the industry works.
If you shut down slaughter houses, it breaks the chain. Farmers are now suddenly left with unproductive cattle they cannot sell and can’t afford to feed either. What do they do? There aren’t enough cow shelters to take care of the millions of cattle we have and nobody would be willing to bear the economic cost of feeding all those cows. Farmers will turn to cattle that are still slowed to be slaughtered like buffaloes.
Data shows that as ban on cow slaughter spread through various states of India, milk production from cows declined and that from buffaloes increased. Because farmers could sell buffaloes to slaughterhouses.
Milk and beef are two sides of the same coin. Milk and beef industry are dependent on each other. If you shut down one of them the other will suffer. Simple economics.
Milk production is cruel. It has traumatic effect on the cattle and their offspring. If you really care for cows, you should stop consuming milk. And if you can’t give up milk then you have to allow slaughter as well.