In the highly contaminated world that we live in and where lots of animals are mistreated for business purposes, many Hare Krishna followers have agreed and opted to a vegan and milk-free diet. Food for Life also absolutely supports the view that the abuse of cows and their slaughter is uncivilized and brutal. However, the problem is the abuse of the cows, not the milk in itself. Milk has been used by humans for thousands of years getting important nutrients in an effective way.
Even from the point of view of deforestation of the Amazon or other natural habitats, the deforestation for the production of beef is 5 times bigger than the one of milk production.
Inspired by the ancient texts of India where we learn a harmonious and peaceful lifestyle, the teachings inform us that our senses are subject to illusion. Any knowledge therefore based on sense-perception is also limited and subject to change. Modern scientific knowledge for example is always changing very quickly and influenced by interests and speculation. The ancient texts of India however haven't changed since thousands of years. One of them is the ayur-veda, the "science of life".
Food for thought
The ayur-veda is still applied and accessible to millions, both rich or poor throughout all of India and it's surrounding countries. Being a very accurate science accepted by many doctors of the western World, the ayur-veda teaches us many practical hints to prevent diseases not curable by modern standard. It also describes milk as a very important and basic nutritient, that prolongs life and contains essential substances for our growth and for the development of the finer tissues in our brain. It also states that nothing can replace that "nectar" given to us by the cow, which is considered one of seven mothers for human society.
Part of the milk a mother cow is giving has been taken for the humans since thousands of years without any disturbance, and cows like to live around peaceful humans, just as other animals like horses, dogs, cats and sheep do. Unfortunately calves are taken away from their mothers after only a few hours, which is brutal and shouldn't be supported at all. If protected properly however, cows are one of mankind's most valuable food resources.
These are some of the many reasons many members of Hare Krishna Food for Life have not eliminated milk from their diet. They have opted to take the milk from naturally milked cows, who live in harmony with human beings.