“People are the only animals that drink the milk of the mother of another species. All other animals stop drinking milk altogether after weaning. It is unnatural for a dog to nurse from a mother giraffe; it is just as unnatural for a human being to drink the milk of a cow.” -Michael Klaper
Dairy has been marketed to consumers as a safe and healthy product. When I was eating dairy, it didn’t even occur to me that I was drinking another animal’s breastmilk, for her baby. I was under the assumption that cows just squirted out milk all day and some happy farmer just slid a bucket under the udders and BAM, milk in my cereal and cheese on my plate. I thought it was ok to eat because I wasn’t killing the animal to get the product.
Apparently that’s not the case.
Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do – to feed their offspring. To create milk, starting around a year and a half, mother cows will be artificially inseminated. Farmers mechanically draw semen from a bull and then forcibly impregnate the cow. After she gives birth, her calf will be taken from her within 36 hours so the farmers can use the milk that is meant for her baby, to be sold to humans. Mother cows have been observed to bellow for several days, disturbed by the sudden loss of their baby. If the baby is male, he will either be slaughtered for veal or shot and thrown away. If the baby is female, she will join the milk industry, as well. She will be fed milk replacers so that her mother’s milk can be sold to people. I went to a small dairy recently and saw first-hand the week-old babies, separated from their moms, in little plastic enclosures. I heard the moms bellow towards the babies and the babies mew back. It was messed-up.
This is like The Handmaid’s Tale, except with fur.
Cows have a natural lifespan of about 20 years and can produce milk for eight or nine years. However, the stress caused by the conditions on factory farms leads to disease, and reproductive problems that render cows worthless to the dairy industry by the time that they’re 4 or 5 years old, at which time they are sent to be slaughtered.
On any given day, there are more than 9 million cows on U.S. dairy farms—about 12 million fewer than there were in 1950. Yet milk production has continued to increase, from 116 billion pounds of milk per year in 1950 to 215 billion pounds in 2017. Normally, these animals would produce only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves, but genetic manipulation, antibiotics, and hormones are now used to cause each cow to produce more than 22,000 pounds of milk each year. Cows are also fed unnatural, high-protein diets—which can include chicken feathers and fish—because their natural diet of grass would not provide the nutrients that they need to produce such massive amounts of milk.
There are no happy dairy cows, lying in the grass, smoking weed, and listening to jam bands.
Folks were really shocked at the suffering on the Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana. I was not. This is how dairy farms are!
The federal government subsidizes the dairy industry up to 73%. Huge amounts of money from our tax dollars have gone into this massive industry. And of course, some of the “experts” who created the food pyramid actually work for the dairy industry. Of-fuckin-course they do. If I believed in government conspiracies, I would call this a government conspiracy.
It’s not our fault. We have been sold a lie. We have been told that dairy is a natural and healthy part of our diet. Also, until I really started researching, I had no idea that milk is actually bad for you. Claims that it is a good source of calcium are flat-out wrong!
Although American women consume tremendous amounts of dairy, their rates of osteoporosis are among the highest in the world. Medical studies indicate that rather than preventing the disease, milk may actually increase women’s risk of getting osteoporosis. A Harvard Nurses’ Study of more than 77,000 women ages 34 to 59 found that those who consumed two or more glasses of milk per day had higher risks of broken hips and arms than those who drank one glass or less per day. This is because our bodies are not meant to have this – dairy actually causes inflammation and makes calcium to leach from bones.
Research shows that higher intakes of both calcium and dairy products may increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer by 30 to 50 percent. Plus, dairy consumption increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) — a known cancer promoter.
About 75 percent of the world’s population is genetically unable to properly digest milk and other dairy products. Milk is a bizarre food for humans. About 10,000 years ago, we were not able to drink milk because we had not domesticated animals yet. 10,000 years sounds like a long time, but evolutionary changes don’t happen that quickly. Consider this – most human naturally stop producing lactase – the enzyme needed to digest the sugar in milk – around ages 2-5. Our bodies are just not made to digest milk on a regular basis.
Most scientists agree that it’s better for us to get nutrients like calcium, potassium, protein and fats from vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, seeds, and seaweed. Kale has more calcium than a glass of milk, and you don’t have to pay for the suffering of an animal to get it! Also, many of the vitamins found in milk are injected afterwards – they don’t even come from the cow because the cows are so dang unhealthy. Take a vitamin and leave the animals alone.
“Just how destructive does a culinary preference have to be before we decide to eat something else? If contributing to the suffering of billions of animals that live miserable lives and (quite often) die in horrific ways isn’t motivating, what would be? And if you are tempted to put off these questions of conscience, to say not now, then when?”
Look, I know you don’t want to hear about how unhappy cows are on farms. I know cheese is addictive, I used to eat it too. But it’s not worth it. And if you can’t watch the videos or know the truth about dairy, perhaps you shouldn’t be putting your money into the industry any longer.
There are SO many alternatives to dairy. I have been getting DOWN with pea milk after working out lately. It has protein, vitamins, and it’s tasty! Plant-based milk sales have caused the dairy industry to lose $1.1 billion – the world is waking up to the horrors of the dairy industry. If you’re worried about processed food, try making your own milk! Oat milk and almond milk are the easiest to make if you have a blender.