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I am a lacto-vegetarian, which means I incorporate dairy products into my diet of grains, fruits and vegetables. In India, this diet is traditional going back almost forever. Cows and bulls and oxen are utilized for their own good and for their benefit to human society. The main point here is that these gentle creatures are allowed to live out their natural life to the fullest extent. Cows are good for the production of dairy products, which when used in moderation, are considered as miracle foods for humans which give long duration of life, optimum health and are also good for the production of finer brain tissue by which we can discern the actual aim of the human form, which as suggested by the standard Indian scriptures, is to develop love for the eternal divine Person, and to return to Him after giving up this mortal existence. Bulls and oxen are utilized for labor such as plowing and hauling. Utilizing cows, bulls and oxen is the basis of a culture of simple living and high thinking which offers the utmost in sustainable civilization. When we use oxen and bulls for labor such as plowing and hauling, then we don't need hellish factories for the production of mechanical contraptions such as tractors and heavy trucks, nor do we need to go to war for oil. This symbiotic relationship of cows and mankind is natural and does not put any undue burden on man or beast.
While it is definitely true that animals are being exploited in modern culture, it doesn't mean that we have to throw out the baby with the bathwater in order to stop this inhuman interaction with animals. Animals can be utilized for their natural abilities, while allowing them the full duration of their natural lives. If someone wants to use the body of the cow for various purposes (leather, meat, etc.), then let such persons wait until the animal has died of natural causes (old age). Cows and oxen which have outlived their usefulness (milk and labor) are still valuable as producers of dung which is a most valuable fertilizer. If this one alteration to modern exploitative culture is adopted (no more animal slaughter), then there can be a peaceful and harmonious civilization.