Paryushana, the Jain festival of penance and forgiveness is due to begin at the end of August.
During this festival, members of the Jain faith traditionally fast and participate in pratikraman. For lay members, fasting often entails avoiding activities that are traditionally thought to cause more himsa than others, such as eating root vegetables.
In today’s complex society, the process of milk production causes far more suffering and killing than first meets the eye. Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated by means of artificial insemination to stimulate milk production. They are immediately separated from their offspring at birth. Male calves are killed within hours of birth or sold on to be reared for veal or beef (they are of no other value to a dairy farmer), and their sisters are forced to go through the same agony and suffering as their mothers. A dairy cow will normally get killed before the age of 10, even though she could live up to 30 years if given the chance. This is because her milk yield drops after about 5 lactations, and it is not does not make financial sense for a farmer to keep her alive when he is able to obtain milk from her younger (and more productive) daughters.
It is an unfortunate truth that our consumption of milk and dairy products contributes to the killing and suffering cows. In light of this, it seems natural that Jains (and all adherents of Ahimsa) should acknowledge and consider the suffering caused to cows in the milk production when undertaking pratikramana.
So, in addition to the other activities you undertake this Paryushana, why not also consider giving up dairy products?