I have read many distressing accounts of the suffering of dairy cows. I thought I had heard them all. No, I found I haven't. Kate Good's post on One Green Planet, while repeating some familiar stats in this regard, also reveals some new ones here.
First, I agree with her that the dairy industry just might be one of the most deceptive industries on the planet. For most of our lives we have been told by them that we need dairy to get enough calcium and nutrients to be able to build strong bones.
Well, I doubt that this 85-year-old vegan is the only one that can dispute this "fact." Two years ago I slipped on two stairs in a darkened auditorium and went flying. People my age often get a broken hip from such a fall. I came away with only a sprained foot. Obviously, this vegan has strong bones without using dairy products.
I became vegan in 1983.
So this dogma, which has been ingrained in us since childhood, is suspect, and of course, we are the only species to consume the milk of another animal even beyond infanthood.
But I think what bothers us the most is the deception of the dairy industry depicting the cows who produce milk, yogurt, and cheese as being "happy" cows. They are often pictured on grassy hillsides, happily spending their days wandering around with their calves in idyllic surroundings. Later on- they will be gladly hand-milked by a kind farmer. If all this were only true.
But the reality? I am sure you have seen pictures as I of cows standing in long lines being milked twice a day. Do they ever walk in the sunshine? Somehow I doubt it. And where are their calves? The boy calves are sequestered in smallish crates unable to even turn around. They are kept anemic by being fed some sort of formula that keeps them so.
The female calves will join their mothers on the milk line when they are old enough.
In the meantime, the mother cows are continuously artificially impregnated via a device aptly named a "rape rack." And these poor cows, after giving birth, are forced to watch their babies being dragged away from them. How painful this must be for them, and it is a yearly occurrence. People are cruel. If anyone should have an inkling of how these deprived mother cows must feel, it should be human mothers, but sadly, pitifully few of them care enough to become vegan.
China also now uses milk and milk products. In the National Geographic Instagram there is a picture of a huge dairy farm in Anhui Province which is home to 39,000 Holstein cows. The aerial view shows thousands of hutches where newborn cows live -- checked daily by uniformed workers. There is no happy and strong bond shared by mothers and babies in this scenario. On this factory farm the cows are fed soy beans from Brazil mixed with alfalfa
from Utah. The semen for artificial insemination comes from Canada. Not only does misery abound, but this operation makes an enormous environmental impact.
Soy production for livestock feed is a huge driver of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Producing alfalfa consumes large amounts of water. At the end of her post, Kate Good tell us like it is: "We all have the power to put an end to this unnecessary suffering and damage, and it starts with one simple choice. With a plethora of milk and dairy alternatives on the market, there has never been a better time to ditch dairy." I agree.
I also read today of one courageous restaurant owner in New York -- Ravi di Rossi. He owns 15 upscale restaurants (Bourgeois Pig) known for their cured meat selections. But di Rossi's restaurants are now going vegan despite some complaints from his meat-loving patrons. The new restaurants have a new name - Lady Bird. I hope and pray that his new vegan restaurants
will succeed. For a certainly, they will not have dishes made with milk, butter, cream, or cheese.