As children, we all have been taught that we need milk for our growth, and cows are some sort of magical milk machine that need to be milked.
Despite the fact that we all grow up drinking milk, few of us have come face to face with a real-life cow. Contrary to popular belief, cows are intelligent and have emotions and memories, just like the dogs and cats that we love at home.
Humans are the only animal that drinks milk upto adulthood. Why did this strange adaptation occur? Do we really need milk? Why do we drink milk from other animals? Have you ever asked yourself these questions? I bet not.
It seems weird when you think about it, and it is even worse when you know what goes behind getting this milk into your cereal bowl.
We all have seen commercials of happy cows grazing in green fields and enjoying being milked. Do you really believe that? Now take a deep breath and get ready to see the real face of how Milk: The source of all dairy products, is actually produced.
Moreover, lets understand what does the phrase Dairy is Scary actually means?
Well, there are two sides to this story: first, what happens with the cow mama, and another one is what happens with the baby whose milk is stored in your fridges.
Let us start by having a look at mama cow.
Mama Cow: Magic Milk Machine
Just like humans and other mammals, female cows produce milk for their young. However, the difference at the commercial dairy farm is that cows are impregnated forcefully using artificial insemination.
Trust me, you don’t even want to know how the semen is collected. Once a cow gets pregnant, they have a gestation period of nine months, just like humans do.
However, when a calf is born, she will just have one or two days with the baby. While in some cases, they are separated immediately. To prevent the loss of even a drop of valuable milk, which would cut into the profit of the dairy industry.
Like most mothers, cows also have strong maternal instincts that are extremely depressed when their babies are taken away from them.
Moreover, their sad mellows can be heard from miles away some mama cows are so disturbed that they even stop eating for days.
Stop and Ask yourself, is a bite of cheese really worth ripping a baby away from her mother?
The Scary Cycle of Milk Misery
After the baby has been taken away from the mother. Now mama cows are hooked to a milking machine to extract the milk that her body made for her calf.
Naturally, a cow produces 12 to 15 pounds of milk a day which can nurture her baby all day long. However, in the majority of today’s dairy operations, she is forced to produce 50 pounds of milk daily.
She has to tolerate the pressure of a heavily loaded udder that will only be relieved by milking her twice a day. As you can see, this is totally different from the romanticized version that has been fed into our brains.
Once her milk production declines after about a year, the traumatic and scary cycle begins all over again. Thereafter she is again forcefully impregnated and again goes through the pain of losing a child.
This cycle will continue for the rest of her life until she is slaughtered as an adolescent of just four to seven years of age. Whereas the natural life span of a cow is 25 to 30 years.
When she is all used up and cannot produce milk and is of no further use to the farmer. Her body will be butchered for meat. Most likely for hamburgers.
What happens to the Babies?
Now let us talk about what happens to the babies produced by dairy cows every year. According to reports, 97 percent of babies are taken away from their mothers within 12 hours of being born.
However, if the calf is a female, she will have the same fate as her mother. After separating from her mother, she will live in an isolated environment with barely enough room to move around.
Moreover, as her mother’s milk is sitting in your fridge, she will be fed with a milk replacement formula. These female calves will live like this for 6 to 8 months until she reaches puberty.
Naturally, this is the time when she will be bonding with her mom and grazing in the fields. However, in the dairy industry, she has been denied everything that is natural to her.
Therefore as soon as she becomes fertile, she will be impregnated just like her mother, and the cycle of misery begins.
Birthing, grieving, and milking will be her fate until she is slaughtered.
Life of a Male Calf
Assuming that 50 percent of the babies born will be male. So what happens to them as they cannot produce milk? How will they add value to the dairy industry?
Let me tell you what happens to them they will either be kept and raised for beef or slaughtered immediately for cheap meat.
Moreover, they will even be sent to a tortuous and scary facility to be raised and become valuable meat. Here they will be given an iron-deficient diet until they become anemic.
Thus, they can barely move, and just at a few months of age, they will be slaughtered. So someone can enjoy their meal.
But Cows and Humans are different
Many people use this argument in favor of the dairy industry. I know cows and humans are different.
However, it is proven that cows have emotions, especially very strong maternal feelings, just like humans. Motherhood is a privilege, and its the birthright of every mother and child.
Despite in the dairy industry, mothers and babies endure this heartbreaking loss over and over again throughout their lives.
The exploitation these females and the babies suffer just to bring a chunk of cheese or a glass of milk to someone’s breakfast table. Displays an amount of cruelty that’s unimaginable to any human mother.
So much misery; is it really worth it just to bring a flavor to the palette? Especially when there are so many other options that are even more delicious.
With a vast and growing number of plant-based options, we can easily choose them without any compromise in taste and nutritional value. Even we have so many healthy and protein-rich options for snacking as well.
You now know about the cruelty that is inherited and inescapable to get the cows’ milk from the farm to your table. However, today’s dairy industrialization takes it even further.
Keeping in mind that almost every dairy product comes from factory farms. These farms are specially created to derive the highest profits from the smallest space possible.
Moreover, in these factories, cows have to endure overcrowding and live in filthy live conditions.
However, to control many of the health problems that come with living in such conditions. These cows are regularly injected with hormones, and practices like dehorning and castration are performed on a regular basis in these farms.
Moreover, these painful procedures are performed without any anesthetics. While industries profits from these practices, animals have to pay the price.
It is no surprise that when cows are living in their own waste injected with hormones to produce exponential amounts of milk, then they would naturally produce they suffer from many scary health conditions like Bovine mastitis.
Which is caused due to traumatic conditions and physical trauma accumulating puss and blood, which can also infect the milk.
What about Organic Farming and Family Farms?
You must be thinking, what about organic farming and local family farms and all those different marketing buzzwords you might see on labels and commercials?
However, you may be surprised to know that these labels do not guarantee any better life for the animals the mechanism remains the same.
Including the unavoidable separation of babies from mothers, performing surgical procedures without anesthetics, and premature slaughter.
Terms like these are specially designed by PR experts to sell dairy products at higher prices to compassionate consumers like us.
Next time someone tries to convenience you that organic and local farming is a better alternative. Don’t be fooled!
Do we really need someone else’s milk for Growth?
Let us talk about what’s been told to us since childhood, that we need milk for growth and development. Have you ever thought about why only humans need another animal’s milk until adulthood?
Like every other animal or mammal on this planet, we all just need our own mother’s milk in the initial stages of our life for proper growth and development.
However, many few people know that as we grow up, we lose our ability to digest milk. As nature has made us in such way to digest only our mother’s milk as an infant. Therefore, growing up, we lose our ability to digest milk.
As a child, every one of us produces the enzyme lactase phlorizin hydrolase to digest our mother’s milk. However, many of us lose the ability to produce this enzyme after childhood and can no longer digest milk.
Therefore lactose intolerance is much more common than lactose persistence (ability to digest milk up until adulthood).
75 percent of the world’s population is lactose intolerant which means only 25 percent can actually digest milk.
Not your Mom, Not your Milk
Milk is a whole meal in itself, as it has all the essential nutrients for the survival of a cow’s baby. Every child has the right to consume their mother’s milk as she is lactating for her own baby.
However, this right is taken away from a calf as her mother’s milk is being used to serve at your breakfast table. Babies are being deprived of their mother’s milk, and their suffering is unimaginable.
Being a woman myself, I can’t even think of how traumatic and scary it would be for a mother and the baby. The calf is taken away from their mothers immediately after birth so that the farmers can make as much profit as possible without wasting a single drop of valuable milk.
There is so much misery, pain, and fear involved in this whole process. Just imagine a mama cow watching her baby taken away from her just after a few hours of being born.
Moreover, this will probably be the last time she will be watching her baby. The misery is beyond our imagination.
Now hold on and take a minute to ask yourself. Do you really want to add this nutritional value to your diet that is coming from such horror and cruelty?
The Bottom Line
Today’s food system is tragically flawed, and it is not only impacting our health but also the life of billions of animals who are unwillingly stuck in this Scariest cycle of misery.
It’s time we take a stand for kindness and choose milk that has been made compassionately and sustainably from plants.
Every dollar you spend at the grocery store is a vote, it’s a vote towards the kind of world we want to live in. Rember that this choice is no longer personal the moment it affects someone’s life; it’s not personal anymore.
Moreover, when you choose dairy, someone is suffering the consequences of your choice. Being educated about the dairy industry will help you make conscious and informed choices and help you maintain a dairy-free lifestyle.
I know it isn’t easy to quit something you have been fed from childhood, but for the animal’s sake, it’s so important that you understand this. Therefore, when I first came to know about this, I felt awful that I also contributed to this cruel industry.
I hope now you understand why Dairy is Scary! Moreover, It’s never too late to choose kindness over cruelty. When we know better, we can do better. So make your choice Today!