Amul, PETA engage in war of words over switch to vegan products
Amul has hit out at PETA for attempting to take away livelihood of India’s millions of dairy farmers
A war of words has started between People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd (GCMMF) after the animal rights group called on Amul to switch to selling vegan milk and other products.
Last week, PETA India wrote to Amul Managing Director RS Sodhi, suggestingthe daily cooperative society to produce vegan milk in order to benefit from the flourishing vegan food market.
“We would again like to encourage Amul to benefit from the booming vegan food and milk market, instead of wasting resources trying to fight the demand for plant-based products that are only growing. Other companies are responding to market changes, and Amul can too,” the rights organization reiterated.
Responding to PETA’s letter, RS Sodhi asked the animal rights organisation if it will provide livelihood to “100 million landless dairy farmers”. He lashed out at PETA for seeking to “snatch the livelihood of 100 million poor farmers and handover all its resources built in 75 years to market genetically modified Soya of rich MNC at exorbitant prices.”
“Will they give livelihood to 100 million dairy farmers (70% landless), who will pay for children school fee.. how many can afford expensive lab manufactured factory food made out of chemicals … And synthetic vitamins?” Sodhi tweeted.
With an annual turnover of Rs 52,000 crore, GCMMF managed the largest dairy cooperative in India selling dairy products under the Amul brand. The dairy cooperative society is owned and managed by millions of farmers, a majority of whom bring their milk on a daily basis to 18,600 village societies.
“More than 16 million milk producers pour their milk in 185903 dairy cooperative societies across the country. Their milk is processed in 222 District Co-operative Milk Unions and marketed by 28 States Marketing Federations, ensuring a better life for millions,” Amul has written on its website.
In the letter dated May 27, PETA Indian Vegan Outreach Coordinator Dr. Kiran Ahuja has highlighted the growing demand for vegan food and beverages. PETA further urged Amul to realize the dynamics and switch to producing dairy-free milk in accordance with consumers’ wants today.
“Much of the world – and that certainly includes India – has turned sour towards dairy over animal welfare, environmental, and health concerns,” Dr Ahuja said.
The animal rights group further pointed out that several companies worldwide, such as Nestlé and Danone, are capitalising on the increasing consumer shift towards plant-based dairy alternatives. It suggested Amul canprofit from the surging consumer interest in vegan products such as yogurts and cheese.
“Last year, India’s dairy business Epigamia launched coconut milk yogurts aspart of its goal to contemporise the Indian dairy industry,” PETA added.