If I lived next door to a farm and the nice farmer raised his cow in a humane way and milked this cow at a normal rate (allowing her to provide enough for her calf) and then he was able to pasteurize said milk… I might momentarily consider drinking milk again.
However, here is the reality. Do any of you know someone well who is breastfeeding their baby? Or have you breastfed a baby yourself? If so, it will surely change your outlook on “milking.” Mothers are made to produce milk to supply the needs of their babies. The more a cow is milked, the more milk it will produce. In this respect, cows are similar to humans.
Now, dairy farmers need to make a profit. The dairy cow, in nature, would only produce milk for her calves. Yet the farmer hooks her up to a machine and pumps her constantly. Dairy cows are forced to produce as much milk as they possibly can. The farmer can get abnormally, unnaturally high milk yields this way. So much pumping can cause sores and thus, the cows are given antibiotics. They are also given loads of hormones to keep them pumping at max capacity. And if you think those don’t get into the milk supply then you’re crazy. So you buy organic, hormone-free milk. Is that okay?
Well, remember, the cows are often chained up and confined to a single spot all day long. I have seen a dairy farm and these cows certainly did not look happy. They couldn’t even lie down. And this was at a pretty nice small-scale farm with a friendly caring farmer. Once the milk is dried up (when they reach an age of 5 or 6 years old), what do you think happens to the cows? Are they sent out to pasture to eat grass and bask in the sun? No, they turn into your fast food hamburgers. I was shocked to learn that cows naturally live up to 20 years, not 5 or 6! And what do you think happens to the baby calves? The females may face the same fate of their mothers, or they will end up as veal just like their brothers. In either case, they are quickly taken away from their mothers, within days. Do you know why? If kept too long with their mothers, a strong bond will form and both mother and baby will become visibly stressed from the separation.
As I see it, this is just wrong. If humans needed milk to live then you might have an argument. The dairy industry is just that, an industry. It wants to make money so of course it is going to wage campaigns telling the American public that “Milk, it Does a Body Good” and implies that we would all die or become malnourished without their product. But we are living in the 21st century. There is an abundance of products that can replace milk without engaging in animal cruelty. There are soy milks, almond milks, coconut milks, fortified juices, etc. No other mammal drinks milk above a certain young age. And no other mammal drinks the milk of another species. Except us. Where did this all start? Well, let’s put an end to it. It is time to make a change for good.