Cows produce milk for one reason and one reason only, to feed their young, just like humans. The only milk that we ever require in our life time is the milk from our mothers when we are infants, not from cows. We are not baby calves. The dairy industry spends billions of pounds every year to try and convince us all that dairy is an essential part of a human diet. When in fact, people that consume dairy have an increased risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
Most people wrongly believe that dairy production causes no harm when in reality it is extremely cruel. There are currently around 1.8 million dairy cows being raised on farms in the UK and around 9 million being raised in the US. Nearly all cows are dehorned using blades, searing-hot irons, chemicals or hand saws, usually without any pain relief. They are also subjected to tail docking, a process in which farmers cut off the end of their tail. They are also branded with a hot iron. These experiences are extremely painful and distressing for cows.
Dairy cows are used as milk making machines. They are artificially inseminated once a year, usually using a device known as a rape rack. Cows lactate for 10 months and then they are inseminated again and the cycle will continue . Once the mother cow gives birth, her calf is taken away from her at about 2 days old which is emotionally devastating for her. If her baby is male, he will be sent to a veal farm and slaughtered for food after a few miserable months of life. if it’s a girl, she will face the same horrific fate as her mother. Cows can live for over 20 years, but are killed for food when they are just 4 to 5 years old by the dairy industry when they become too weak, diseased or ill.
A British cow usually produces about 10 times more milk than she would need to feed her calf. Because of this, cows frequently suffer from painful udder infections such as mastitis. Because cows frequently suffer from infections, they are injected with antibiotics which are then found in their milk. Pus, feces, blood and bovine growth hormones are also found in milk. The abuse that cows have to endure on dairy farms is inhumane and evil. It doesn’t matter whether or not a cow was raised in a factory farm or on a so-called free range organic farm, they are all being exploited and they will all still end up being slaughtered after a few short years of life.
Raising cows also has a detrimental affect on the environment. Dairy farms produce an astonishing amount of waste which ends up in local rivers and lakes and eventually end up in our oceans. A dairy farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces as much waste as a city of 411,000 people. Cows also produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day, which is a greenhouse gas that’s up to 100x more destructive than Carbon Dioxide. If we didn’t breed billions of animals for dairy and meat, we could significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming.
Raising livestock is not ethical nor sustainable. There really is no need to consume animal products. You can get delicious vegan milk, butter and yogurts. You can get all the vital nutrients such as calcium from other sources such as fortified dairy free milks, leafy green vegetables, fruit and nuts. If you care about animals, the planet and your health then stop consuming dairy products.