Cow’s milk; so many people drink it or eat it’s products and don’t have any idea why it’s avoided by vegans. In fact a friend of mine who is trying veganism, just said to me yesterday: “Weren’t cows made for us to use for milk?” Well that starts an entire new conversation about the fact that we are weaned and no longer need breast milk because we’ve graduated to solid food, and certainly not from another species, but we won’t go there today. I will just ask one question for the reader to ponder: Would it make sense for lactating human females to give their breast milk to grown cows, from a nutritional perspective?
What do vegans know that make them avoid, at all costs, foods like milk chocolate, ice cream, pizza with mozzarella cheese, croissants and butter? We know several things actually, and they must be pretty significant to cause us to give up the above mentioned delicious foods.
- Compassion & Empathy are one major reason.
Compassion: concern for the suffering of others. Empathy: Understanding the feelings of another.
Do cows suffer to produce milk? Let’s pretend we are a cow, then we can bring empathy into the equation as well. Let’s say that the average human lives for 88 years and compare this to the average cow that would live for 20 years. Imagine that when our human life was only 25% gone (or age 22) we were killed because our bodies no longer produced enough of a commodity (demanded by our owner); milk. ‘Enough’ is defined as not enough to make the determined amount of profit/money set by the dairy farmer. Well that’s what happens to cows, they’ve typically only lived 25% of their lifespan when they are killed at about age 5.
If that doesn’t seem sad to you, what if your female cat was hooked up to milking machines 24/7 because their milk was used to make some type of exotic (as determined by humans) gourmet cheese? The cat would then be killed at about age 3.5 in the above scenario, if that helps you see things in a better perspective. Have you ever loved a cat or dog? If you wouldn’t want this to happen to your beloved feline or canine, why do you allow it to happen to other affectionate, sociable animals…the cow, by purchasing dairy products?
Cats have emotions, personalities and feelings, and prefer to be free to roam where they may, even if just in their family home/condo. Poor cows are usually confined, side by side next to other cows, in commercial dairy farms, where they are also forced to stand in their own urine and excrement all day. Ewww! That is not natural at all, and to get back to my friend’s question about ‘what cows were made for’, they were not made to be treated in such an awful way. I’ve been to a dairy farm and have seen this with my own eyes. It’s gross and if the cows were allowed to wander outside, they would NOT stand in their poo or urine. They are not filthy creatures.
The average commercial dairy cow lives 5 years before they are killed, and are only considered profitable while they produce enough milk. According to the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Research and Extension, the average cow (in the United States) produces 6 to 7 gallons of milk each day (24.6 litres). Once the milk production drops below the profitable amount, the cows are killed and their bodies ground up into dog food or hamburger in the supermarket. Imagine treating a domestic cat or dog the same way; and just disposing of them when they would no longer profitable.
But it’s always been this way. Cows are meant to produce milk for humans. Well black people were treated as slaves for hundreds of years but it didn’t make it right and now it’s been corrected, thanks to people who broke free of the ‘the way it’s always been’ mentality. Women didn’t used to be able to vote in North America and that was the way it had always been, but now women can vote. It was assumed that women and black people were less intellectually developed to be given certain freedoms in their life. One day, humankind will see that the way cows are being treated at commercial dairies is also unacceptable and needs to stop. But as long as people keep buying dairy products, the cycle will continue.
In the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, Plant Based Nutrition course, research studies show that the countries with the highest dairy consumption have the highest number of hip fractures from falls. This points to the obvious fact that we aren’t getting strong bones from dairy. Cow’s milk is not an essential nutrient for humans, in fact it is causing human health problems such as osteoporosis. Most cows are not happy and are not roaming free in a field of wild flowers on a sunny day. Dairy ads deceive us into believing that it is necessary for us to eat yogurt and cheese to have strong bones and teeth.
If you knew that farm animals were as intelligent as your children or pets, would you try and stop the exploitation of cows? If you answered ‘yes’, then it might be time to do so, according to onegreenplanet.org’s Anna Vallery. She notes that pigs learn their names, and can do tricks like a dog. They have complex social interactions and have best friends just like we do. I have 5 animal companions and they have 5 separate personalities, just like 5 separate cows would. People have power to make the world a better place so investigate, visit an animal sanctuary and look into the eyes of an animal that was saved from slaughter and you will see their gratitude for their life.