Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dairy is an innocuous sounding word..................

Got milk?  Most of us who live here in the United States are familiar with the well known advertising campaign conducted by Goodby Silverstein & Partners for the California Milk Processor Board.  The face of a familiar celebrity stuck in a magazine, newspaper or on a billboard with a photoshopped milk “moustache” has been with us since 1993 when the campaign began.  The slogan “got milk?” was licensed to the National Milk Processor Board in 1995 and in 2006, the campaign went after a new demographic with a series of Spanish-language “Toma Leche?” ads.

Milk, cheese, ice cream, whipped cream……….I loved all of them.  When I was a child we had a milk cow, she was a Jersey, a wonderful golden brown color.  I have ever since thought they were the most beautiful of all the cow people.  I have no memory of her having a baby but since mothers do not lactate unless there is a baby involved there must have been at least one.  My older sister didn’t like milk and never drank it and I couldn’t believe anyone didn’t like milk.  One of my favorite food combinations back then was chili and milk (another was a hamburger with homemade vanilla ice cream).  My mother always told me chili and milk would make me sick, but it never did…….it should have.
Jersey Cow........

Let’s walk through this together.  Mammals, female mammals, produce milk to feed their babies.  Doesn’t matter what the shape, size or form of the mammal, mother mammals produce milk for their babies.  Whales, cows, humans, pigs, cats, rabbits, dogs, rats, skunks, deer, raccoons and squirrels all were born to mothers that lactated and all of the baby animals (if they were lucky) sucked milk from their mothers breast(s).  In other words, cows are no different than any other mammal type animal, they are not especially configured to produce any more milk than is needed for her baby, any more than is a squirrel or a cat or a rat or a human. 

Like everything else having to do with living beings, this is not a precise phenomenon…..some moms do not produce quite enough milk for their baby but most err a bit on the side of caution and end up having a little more milk than is needed for the baby’s survival……that’s when you get fat and happy babies. 

Over time, as the baby mammal grows and becomes more able to digest and obtain food from the world (outside of the mom) the baby gets more and more nourishment from non-milk sources and the mothers milk production gradually tapers off and eventually stops.  This is often a time of dismay and some conflict because in general babies want to keep on getting milk from mom for a longer time than they need it and usually for a longer time than mom wants to keep on being a suck object.

Well, how the hell did I end up with the opportunity to discover that cows milk and chili tasted good together?  I wasn’t a cow baby, I wasn’t drinking my mothers milk (I was way too old for that).  I was drinking milk that properly belonged to the baby of that pretty jersey cow.  My father or my mother went out to the cow shed and took the baby cows milk from the mother cow.  They strained it, let it set for a while, skimmed off most of the cream and voila, cows milk to drink with my chili.  Everybody is happy right?  Well, except maybe for the cow, who had the milk for her baby taken from her and the baby cow, who never got the milk that belonged to him or her.  But the human animal (me) was happy and hey….that’s what counts, right?

Wrong, do the math, two cow animals (mom and baby) were screwed over so one human animal could have something they did not even need.  Any animal old enough to obtain nutrition from sources other than moms milk does not need milk…….if fact the only adult animal in the world that drinks any kind of milk is, guess what…..human animals.  Adult deer, adult gorillas, adult giraffes, adult kangaroos, adult tigers, adult lions, adult dolphins, none of them…..none…..drink milk of any kind after they are old enough to be weaned.

Milk is a starter fluid, if you will, for mammals, and each mammal animal mother has milk that is specifically tailored to provide the type of nourishment her baby needs.  Human milk is constituted differently than rat milk, cow milk is constituted differently than whale milk, or human milk.  Go here, take a look, you will see, each one is different, that’s because each animal species has different nutritional needs. 

By the way, lactose is a type of sugar that is found only in milk, forsythia flowers and a few tropical shrubs.  The enzyme needed to digest this sugar is most abundant in human intestines right after birth and then begins a slow decline.  About 75% of adult humans have some degree of lactose intolerance… other words lactose is for babies………what a bunch of putzes we are.

Now, what we do to get our greedy little paws on all that cows milk you see stocked in the grocery store is we forcibly artificially inseminate cow animals (essentially this is a rape…the cow certainly does not agree to it) and when they begin lactating in preparation for their baby we take (steal) the milk from the cow.  Then when the baby is born we take the baby away from the mother (because the cow baby would drink the milk) and we keep on stealing the milk from the mother. 

Now she is 4 or 5 years old and sorry cow mom, you are not profitable enough anymore, off you go into the truck, then to the slaughterhouse and we kill the mother (terrifyingly and horribly) and turn her into hamburger meat.  She is herself, barely into adulthood, cows have an average lifespan of 20 years or so if they have a beneficial environment and a suitable diet.

And then oblivious human children like me eat the hamburger (the flesh of the mother cow) with vanilla ice cream (milk for the mother cow’s baby) and think it tastes just fine…..sort of a crappy trick to play on a kid when you think about it.  We early on become unwitting accomplices in rape, murder and baby theft.

What about the baby cows?  Well, about 25% of them are taken and turned into milk cows to replace the ones we use, abuse and slaughter.  That leaves 75% of the babies to be either killed immediately (sometimes smashed in the head with a hammer or some other obscene practice) or they are sold at auction to human animals who then chain them up or pen them up indoors for 3 or 4 months and feed the baby cows a diet deficient in iron so their flesh will stay a whitish color and then they are slaughtered for veal. 

Milk means misery for the mother, she is raped then her baby is taken away….the mother cows cry and bellow for their babies sometimes for days and days.  This happens to her for 4 or 5 years and then she is slaughtered.

Milk means misery for the baby, they are taken away from their mother and then either forced into a few years of repeated rape, of having their babies stolen and their baby’s milk stolen and then killed.  Or the baby is destined to be chained or penned up, no sunshine, no playing, no exercise, no exploring, no learning about the world, no comfort from mother…..misery for 3 or 4 months and then killed….so some human animal somewhere can eat baby cow flesh (veal).

Got misery? This should be the slogan for the advertising campaign if it is to be honest, and the moustache should be a moustache of blood. 

Dairy, what an innocuous sounding word for something that means horrors and pain and misery and death.  All for something that tastes good……but it doesn’t taste good to me anymore.  A taste is not worth doing such terrible things to someone as nifty and beautiful as that jersey cow, or any cow or any mother of any kind of animal, or any baby of any kind of animal.  Never.

I want no part of it….none….I am a vegan and I am appalled and sorrowful and sad that I was too oblivious and was too lazy and too jaded and too cowardly to see through the lies and secrets that kept me away from living as a vegan all my life. 

To hide the horror was and is a wrong and bad thing, the hiding keeps many human animals engaged in doing wrong and bad things to animal people that did nothing to them, that did nothing to deserve the misery we human animals heap on them.  The oppression of and enslaving of and hurting of and killing of animal people is disgusting and horrible and wrong, wrong, wrong and I will participate in it no more and I will regret, for the rest of my life, that I ever did.

If I need a lactose fix, I will go chew on a forsythia or something, no more of this milk and ice cream and dairy stuff.....what a crock.  

There are a number of videos around that graphically detail what goes on in these houses of horror they call a dairy........I will direct you to them if you email and request such.


So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

It's bizarre, isn't it? Human animals are the only ones to drink milk after babyhood and the only ones to consume the milk of another species. We're hoodwinked into thinking that this is both normal and healthy and that cow's milk is essential. This mass brainwashing includes members of the medical profession who you would think would know better, but no, they too believe the lies they've been fed. And how many of us grow up knowing that cheese is actually chemically addictive? (The principle protein, casein, breaks down during digestion to produce morphine-like compounds called casomorphins.) No wonder cheese is one of the hardest foods to give up!

I'd already given up dairy well before turning vegan because it caused health problems for me, but when my eyes were opened to the cruelty and injustice of factory farming, becoming vegan was an easy choice. The problem of course is that people and industries who profit from animal exploitation don't want us to know that milk = misery. It will be up to informed consumers to stop the madness.

Great post!

p.s. thank you for letting me know about that research organization! :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for your excellent comment, So I'm Thinking of Going Vegan. You present information that I did not address in the post, viz. health issues and dairy products. Readers might want to do some research of their own by visiting sources (e.g., not associated with the dairy industry. Thanks again.

Bea Elliott said...

Thanks so much veganelder for writing about the hidden horrors of dairy. I just don't think it can be told enough. To this day 95% of everyone I speak with has no idea what it takes to get cows to "give" milk. Most are under the "happy" illusion that it all just happens *naturally*.

My fantasy is to someday sue the dairy (and egg) industries for stealing my money when I was a vegetarian. No decent person could imagine that these *non meat* products could be so horrendously cruel. The lies amount to theft. There are laws to regulate truth in advertising and dairies do every thing to avoid it.

I've taken the liberty to post this on facebook's Dairy Cow Diary page. Well done! Thanks for witnessing.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. I never really thought about seriously about where my parmesian or feta came from. I only think of the price and packaging. I appreciate the way you explained this and will be TRYING to cut back or give it up. Any suggestions on cheesy or milk substitues?

veganelder said...

Great comment Bea. I admit to remaining oblivious to the massive cruelty of dairy for many years, and continually shake my head over it.

I like your notion of legal action, you might enjoy this post from John Robbins ( re the junk food called "vitaminwater". Coke is defending their product by maintaining that " consumer could reasonably be misled into thinking vitaminwater was a healthy beverage." -- even though the whole thrust of their advertising campaign is just that. Orwell nailed it exactly in his novel 1984 ... war is peace, etc.

Thanks for publicizing the post, the more folks know about this then maybe it will end.....writing it was very wrenching.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Anonymous, many of us were sadly unaware of what actually goes on in a dairy. On behalf of the cow moms and the cow babies, thank you for your efforts in cutting back.

You anticipated a future post from me about substitutes. I can vouch for the great taste of Daiya ( as a cheese substitute, the Tofutti folks ( make a number of dairy free substitutes for cream cheese, cheese, ice cream, etc. Their ice cream is good and there are other companies that make ice cream substitutes. I will post more on these in the future. Milk substitutes include soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk (I haven't tried this one), and rice milk. I didn't care too much for the soy but I love rice milk and almond milk is fairly good too. Here in Norman, Ok. many of the substitutes are found in all the grocery stores and the local health food stores all offer the ice cream and cheese products. Norman is by no means a major metro area so I presume the substitutes are available most everywhere.

You will have to do some experimenting and expect none of them to taste like milk from a cow, but if you find one that is acceptable and stick with it, my experience has been that I do not miss milk at all.

The most excellent part of changing is that I know I am not participating in the travesty that the nice sounding word "dairy" hides.

Krissa (I figured out how to add my name) said...

Until about a year ago I was one of those vegetarians who ate eggs and cheese and occasionally I drank milk. Long story short, I was befriended by a cow that lived in a small pasture (there's a picture of her on SIToGV's site) next to the shelter I volunteered at. Sadly, I was unable to save her and the rest of her cow family before they were taken to slaughter. They weren't dairy cows, but knowing her is what led me to give up the dairy products. "Free-range eggs" soon followed and that's when I had become completely cruelty-free. I'm happy for Billy in the above post that he was saved. I'm so sad for all the billions who are languishing around the world...if only *people* could slow down and stop and see... And if only people knew how easy it is. I make pancakes with only wholegrain flour, soy milk, vegetable oil and they are so good that no one who ate them without knowing they are vegan would say anything other than "yum!". Sigh. How sad is it that the things we steal are things we don't even need and are not good for us either.

veganelder said...

Sad indeed, Krissa (and thank you for your comment). It is sort of fun to have folks eat totally vegan food and have no realization of it being so. Confirms that we don't need cruelty for food to taste good.

Spyder Venym said...

Great article. It's really, REALLY hard to get people to understand the cruelty that goes into any animal based food industry. I am vegan. I tell people I am vegan not because I don't like the way meat tastes, but rather because I hate the way meat has become an industry. And life... no matter whose life it is... should never be an industry.

I am going to post this article on my website.

Keep up the good fight. Education is the way to change. And even if you change 1 person's way of thinking... it's one more person than before.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Spyder Venym, you are quite accurate in pointing out that veganism is not about taste or diet, it is about interacting with the world and the living beings of the world with honor and respect, with caring and compassion. The cow people and cow babies are honored that you want to place the posting on your website, thank you.

Bea Elliott said...

Oh this is funny! What a circle I'm making this go-round. I got here via a link on Have Gone Vegan to Vegan Spyder... And how perfect this all is as I'm gathering a few informative links for someone who posts at Everyday I See a Cow:

I'm sure this woman does truly like cows - But there's no doubt that the industry does back-flips keeping the horrors of dairy practices away from the public...

Anyway - I will give her this link as well... I think you articulated perfectly what the true picture for dairy cows is like. So I thank you one more time for this post by paying it forward.

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting Bea. I read the post your referenced as well as the reply to your comment. I was struck by the woman writing: "...I think the place we give to cows in our society is quite respectful overall. In the dairy farm, it looks like a different story, where money and profits are priority number one."

I was a little flabbergasted. It may be that the mythology about cows is on balance respectful but 99% of all real cows in this country are horribly exploited and eventually murdered...surely she knows that doesn't she?

Fighting fantasy with facts is depressing and disheartening but you are one of the true warriors in the army for the animals. Thank you on their (and my) behalf.

Bea Elliott said...

Ugh! Yes... Stay-tuned I'm hoping perhaps that it's just an initial recoil from the truth that keeps her wanting to protect the "nice" assumptions. But surely any open, intelligent mind has to eventually question AND learn more. We can only try and hope. :( Thanks for You!<3