I culled this post from Krishna Consciousness & Ecological Awareness. I added the blog feed to Planet ISKCON, but this post is worth pulling out of the history, given the recent discussion on this issue.
The following is an excerpt from a lecture given by HH Hrdayananda das Goswami in Gainesville, Florida on August 30, 2008. To listen to the entire lecture, please click here.
Bhaktin Kelly: Does Krsna willing accept milk from cows that were raised inhumanely and will eventually be slaughted?
HH Hridayananda das Goswami: A sincere devotee could have two positions. You could just say, I am going to set a proper example and not patronize that cruel industry and not buy milk products- which is one position, which is obviously valid. And then another position, someone could say, is that by offering the milk, the cows benefit by the offering to the deity and you are actually saving cows. You could say that in practical terms, not ideological, the amount of milk that is being purchased and offered to the deities has absolutely zero impact on the dairy industry and, therefore, it does not change the economic dynamics of it. So it doesn’t save cows but it saves souls by engaging them in Krishna’s service.
What I see in the Bhagavatam is that within Vedic culture there was a diversity of views. People have different opinions on these things and a certain frame of consciousness. Some are inspired to save cows by offering their milk to the deity.
Now let’s say the devotee is not making a serious offering, not really connecting with the deity, just “I like milk.” Then I think to participate in this horrifically cruel industry just because you like milk is something which is much harder to justify. It is just one of those- “I’m hungry, I really want to eat, I have to offer it.” But if someone is seriously deity-conscious, their nature is really to worship Krsna, and their consciousness is to save the soul in the cow’s body, then I think, whether or not I would do that, is a position that should be respected.
Although, I do not think that devotees are required to do that. If I was managing a temple with deities, I would not say you have to offer milk. I think it is a matter of consciousness of the individual.
Original from Sitapati Prabhu, Australia