Holding signs proclaiming, “Cows’ Milk Is for Baby Cows” and “Not Your Mum? Not Your Milk!” PETA protesters in giant inflatable baby suits threw a tantrum in Brisbane over the dairy industry’s cruelty.
The “babies” urged passers-by to consider just how unnatural it is to drink another animal’s bodily fluid – especially when so many versatile non-dairy milks, yoghurts, cheeses, and ice creams are readily available.
Cows’ Milk Is for Calves, Not Humans
Guzzling the milk of any species past weaning age – let alone that of a cow who was forcibly impregnated and whose baby was taken from her – is beyond bizarre.
Like all other mammals, including humans, cows produce milk for their babies. They’re excellent mothers when given the chance, but on dairy farms, they endure the repeated cycle of artificial insemination and birth, only for their babies to be torn away from them so that the milk that nature intended for them can be consumed by humans, who don’t need it.
Humans are the only species on the planet to drink milk as adults – and the only one to drink the mammary secretions of other animals.
Cruel to Mums and Babies
Calves discarded by the dairy industry are so eager to nurse from their mothers that they will suckle the fingers of slaughterhouse workers in their last moments of life. The Australian dairy industry kills more than 400,000 calves every year, simply so that humans can use the milk meant for them.
Meanwhile, their distraught mothers will cry out and search for their babies for days. Once her tired body starts to break down from back-to-back pregnancies and her milk volumes start to decline, a cow is sent to the slaughterhouse at just a fraction of her natural life expectancy.
A Health Hazard
Cows’ milk is perfect for calves – it is high in fat and enables them to gain hundreds of kilograms in a matter of months. But for humans, it’s a common trigger for allergies and associated with an increased risk of developing many illnesses.
The consumption of dairy has been conclusively linked to an increased risk of suffering from acne, osteoporosis, fractures (so much for strong bones!), and even prostate and ovarian cancer. Cholesterol – found only in animal-derived products such as cows’ milk – and animal fat clog arteries, leading to heart attacks and strokes.
Dairy Is an Environmental Disaster
A cow used in the dairy industry typically produces around 60 litres of manure each day – so imagine the waste that’s being created by hundreds of cows on just one farm. Their excrement is extremely high in nitrogen, which leaches from the soil and enters waterways, contaminating the ecosystem and its inhabitants.
By forcibly impregnating and breeding vastly more cows than would naturally exist – for something that’s unnecessary for anyone except baby cows – the dairy industry and those who support it have created an environmental disaster.
To see the results, look at New Zealand, where 60% of monitored waterways aren’t fit to swim in – let alone drink from – thanks largely to dairy production. A report by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research found that “[s]treams in dairy land are among the most polluted”.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Dropping dairy has never been easier. So many great plant-based milks, yoghurts, cheeses, and ice creams made from oats, coconut, soy, and other sources are readily available. They’re delicious and better for the environment, and most importantly, animals aren’t hurt for them. Sign up for our vegan challenge series and we’ll send you loads of resources, including recipes, that will help get you weaned in no time.