First of all, it’s important that we’re all on the same page about exactly where dairy comes from. I think everyone knows that dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter etc) is the breast milk of a cow, although people don’t seem to view it as such. Just like women, cows need to be pregnant in order to produce milk and they are also pregnant for nine months, just like us. However, cows are forcibly impregnated by having a farmer shove his arm, along with a syringe full of bull semen, up her vagina. This continues every year, for about 4-5 years, until the cow can no longer produce enough milk to be worthwhile. Then, her worn out, tired and traumatized body is sent to slaughter, where she becomes ground beef. She was only able to live less than a quarter of her natural life span and that little time was painful and depressing beyond belief.

To make matters even worse, within a few hours, her newborn calf is stolen from her. “Humane” farms have been known to steal the calf within an hour of birth, to ‘prevent bonding’ and to make it ‘easier on them both.’ Those who have heard the cries of a mother cow as her new baby is being stolen from her, have said it is the most haunting and heart wrenching noise you’ll ever hear. If the calf is a boy; he is sent off to live in a small cage, often too small to even turn around, in order to have him gain weight quickly and efficiently. He is kept there for a few months until he has enough ‘meat on his bones’ to be sent to slaughter, where he becomes veal. Not even strong enough to walk at first, without their mothers milk, the calves are often pushed around in wheelbarrows like garbage. If the calf is a female, she is confined also to a tiny cage and forced to grow up in her mother’s devastating footsteps. The mother is kept in tight quarters, with other lactating cows and constantly hooked up to milking machines. The dry suctions and never ending pumping motion cause raw sores and pus filled abscesses. These abscesses burst, bleed, ooz and are mixed into the milk. The FDA allows there to be pus in the dairy products sold in stores, people are eating and drinking pus filled breast milk.  

Perhaps some people have this image in their minds of a cow out in a big green pasture, being gently hand milked by a sweet and smiling farmer. Long, long ago, before factory farms, this was the case. Not to say that it was okay back then to drink the breast milk of another animal, that was meant for their own baby, or that it was good for humans. But this is the image that the dairy industry wants you to have about where their products are coming from and it’s simply not realistic! Do not be fooled by the ‘Certified Humane’ labels and brand names like ‘Fair Life’, these people are selling a product and they will give you whatever you want to hear in order to feel better about purchasing from them. The labels telling you that the animals secretions are “Humane” or “Organic” really don’t mean much. When it comes to dairy, all this means is that the mother cows are allowed time outdoors at some point, however, the amount of time, space and land (mud? grass? dirt?) they are given is not specifically noted. Also, these labels are saying that newborn calves are stolen from their mothers within the hour of birth, instead of a few hours later. Imagine if they put these details and images right onto the packaging?

If the ethics of cutting out dairy are not enough, consider the dangers it is doing to your health. Dairy has been long promoted to ‘help build strong bones and teeth’, but that could not be more untrue and in fact it does quite the opposite. Our bodies like to be slightly alkaline and dairy is acidic, so our body pulls from the it’s alkaline reserves (calcium, magnesium and potassium), that are stored in our bones and therefore leads to much weaker bones and teeth. For the sake of not writing a whole novel here, I will bullet point some of the dangers of dairy to your diet and I encourage you to do more research on the topics!

 

  • Weakens bones and teeth
  • Promoted carcinogens (cancers), including prostate and ovarian cancer
  • Linked to multiple sclerosis
  • It is full of saturated fat, a cause of heart disease

 

…and so much more! If you can find the time, please watch Vegucated, Cowspiracy, What The Health, Forks Over Knives and Earthlings for more facts about the dangers of dairy and inspiration for transitioning to a plant based lifestyle.

Even though you are only one person and purchasing a small item may not seem like a big deal, it really is when billions of people are going through the exact same thought process as you. Next time you go to the store and you’re about to purchase a product that contains dairy, try and imagine how that item was made, who it came from, the excruciating pain and the complete heartbreak that is behind it.