Got milk? Everyone knows the slogan from the dairy advertisements cleverly placed in magazines, newspapers and billboards. These advertisements, along with all the other information we hear about dairy products and their “powers,” encourage us to believe we need this substance in our daily diets. But where is the truth, because it sure isn’t in the milk moustache. Don Bennett points out in his health101.org article: “Not Milk! An MD Speaks Out Against Milk Products,” the $180 million-a-year ad campaigns are the suffering of our health and innocent animals. We frequently hear that we should consume dairy products for their health benefits—notably calcium, but we never grasp the actual truth of how dairy is detrimental to our health and causes unethical suffering to tortured cows.
Have you ever noticed that in nature no other animals consume the milk of a different species? You don’t see cows drinking buffalo milk. Or goats drinking human milk. Yet humans use nine million cows in the U.S. alone to provide them with milk to drink, as discussed in Why Animals Matter: The Case for Animal Protection by Williams and DeMello. All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so logical and natural for us to be consuming the milk of another animal. Holly Brooks, 25, from England, has avoided dairy products for ten years and overcame many health issues by doing so. She shares the good logic, “We can’t digest cow’s milk because it is basically designed for baby cows.” To add to this, Dr. Douglas Graham states in his book The 80/10/10 diet, “Humans are most certainly designed by nature as suckling’s—but only for their first couple years of life, and only of their own mother’s milk.” This sure is common sense. Dao Earl, who has studied advance nutrition and physiology, looks at the caloronutrient values (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) of human milk and cow’s milk in an article of the summer 2009 Get Fresh! magazine. It is observed that human milk has a higher carbohydrate percentage and a lower protein percentage than cow’s milk. Humans develop mentally quicker than they do physically, as opposed to cows who quickly develop big and strong with rapid bone growth. A calf will gain approximately 40 percent of its full-grown weight in its first six months of life, while a human baby will gain only about 10 percent. Maybe it’s starting to look like dairy consumption is out of place and not in line with how the human body works.
The reason why the odd consumption of cow dairy gets overlooked seems to be down to the marketing and promotion of dairy products as being needed for our health. As Brooks says in her interview, “It’s just become normal to have dairy in the daily diet. So it seems abnormal to not have it.” Dairy is part of the USDA food pyramid, and it seems we need to consume it to be strong and healthy, and particularly ward off osteoporosis with the calcium content of dairy products. This couldn’t be further from the truth, as scientific evidence shows. The China Study, the largest comprehensive study ever undertaken on the relationship between diet and diseases, showed osteoporosis occurred the most in countries where calcium intake from dairy products was the highest. So what’s the deal? Dao Earl further explains in his article that the vast majority of calcium in cow’s milk is wrapped in a protein called casein. The only thing which can split casein is rennet, something which the human glands do not produce after the first month of life. This means calcium is hardly obtained from cow’s milk, and we have no evolutionary relationship with it. So we really can live healthfully without dairy. We know the strongest animals on earth eat a plant based diet and their own mother’s milk only at the beginning of their life, such as elephants and horses. Perhaps we should start to look at what our fellow animals are doing and how they remain strong and healthy.
Dairy products—be it milk, cheese, or yogurt, offer nothing to our health other than damage. Dr. Douglas Graham states in his book that milk is 23 percent protein, whilst spinach is 30 percent protein and broccoli 20 percent protein, proving we definitely wouldn’t need milk for protein, another largely discussed issue amongst vegetarians and vegans. These foods are also high in calcium! Dairy causes many of the symptoms people experience day after day. Bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea are just the beginning, caused by the inability to digest the lactose in cow dairy. Holly Brooks experienced IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), acne, and frequent headaches just to name a few problems, which she says “really disappeared” after quitting the dairy. Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder demonstrates in her blog article “Calcium Myths – Debunked!” that dairy is mucus forming, super hard to digest and loaded with toxins that can lead to serious diseases and cancer. It has also never been shown that dairy products help with weight loss. One review which analyzed every study conducted from 1966 to August 2007 on the effects of dairy consumption and weight loss, as shown on the organization PCRM’s website, titled “The Case Against Milk,” found forty-one out of the forty-nine studies showed no effect on weight loss. Two showed dairy increased body weight, whilst the remaining few studies which showed dairy helped in weight loss, were funded by the dairy industry and also used calorie restriction.
If it’s not convincing enough that we shouldn’t consume dairy products for the sake of our health, there is the gloomy issue of animal welfare. We are more aware of animals in slaughter houses for the meat industry, but we never really think about the suffering cows in the dairy industry. Pouring a glass of milk, or cutting a slice of cheese does not communicate the suffering a cow has gone through to give you cheese pizza and milky coffee. Cows are intelligent social animals that can feel happiness, fear and pain. Dairy cows do not relax in glowing fields all day long. Williams and DeMello state in their book that most large-scale dairy operations confine cows to concrete flooring, which makes it difficult for the animals to stand up and lie down. A recent undercover video on MercyForAnimals YouTube channel showed workers at one Dairy farm in Ohio—Conklin Dairy Farms Inc.—repeatedly beating the cows and stomping on newborn cows’ heads. They also tied cows to a fence using a metal bar through the cow’s nose. It is disturbing and sickening to see the stress the cows are experiencing in the secret video, and more than upsetting. Evidence like this cannot be covered up, and we can’t be sure that this doesn’t happen in many dairy farms across the country.
The dairy industry is even more cruel than the meat industry. Cows must give birth in order to produce milk. Today, cows are forced to birth a cow each year and artificially re-impregnated so their bodies produce milk during seven months of the nine month pregnancy. This places so much demand on the cow’s body and obviously leaves them feeling terrible. To make matters worse, ‘within twenty-four hours of birth, more than 90 percent of calves are taken away from their mothers forever,’ says Erik Marcus in his book Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating. Tina Volpe demonstrates in her article “The Fast-Food Industry Contributes to the Abuse of Animals,” how female calves will join the milking herd like their mothers, causing the same disordered cycle; male calves will be slaughtered after sixteen weeks of living in a small crate—unable to move so their unexercised bodies will make so-called tender meat, and sold as “veal.” Genetic manipulation and intensive production technology makes a cow produce ten times more milk than they would naturally.
Each dairy cow now produces more than nineteen thousand pounds of milk each year, according to Williams and DeMello’s book. This just shows the strain put on a cows body, including the sore infected udder from continuous clamping and milking. The welfare of animals in the dairy industry is no joke. Maybe there are dairy farms which treat their animals better, but the dairy industry as a whole is still causing suffering to cows, as no animal wants to stand with a metal clamp on its udder or even a human hand, regardless of other conditions. Being milked is still a painful distressing experience to a beautiful innocent cow.
If the consistent consumption of dairy products continues, we are going to keep degenerating our health and compromising our vitality. As Brooks reveals, “It sounds too good to be true, but I know all my previous health problems were down to dairy products.” By looking at it logically, we can see that we don’t need dairy products for any calcium ideals and to keep osteoporosis at bay, as the calcium in cow milk is not constructed for the human body. The large consumption of dairy products and the current high rates of osteoporosis does not correlate to show that dairy will keep bones strong. Dairy products cause too many health problems to even be considered beneficial. So not only are dairy products harming our health, we are in turn harming the animals. The suffering which goes unnoticed must come to an end, and becoming aware of it is the first step. There is no such thing as a happy cow in the dairy industry; who wants to stand there whilst their udder is clamped with a metal machine and constantly being tugged? Cows are charming creatures with a heart and soul, and do not deserve to be a part of the suffering anymore, just like we do not need to consume dairy products for our health. “Giving up dairy products was probably the best thing I have ever done,” shares Holly. Got milk? Or got suffering and sickness?