You are probably seeing the billboards going up everywhere: Dairy is Scary. I’m sure more than a few of you are probably wondering “what the fuck? why is dairy scary? damn vegans!” I mean, you probably have visions in your head of the quintessential dairy farm of yore, with a lovely, green meadow filled with black and white mama cows grazing peacefully, calves cavorting at their sides, being called in twice a day for milking. Cue the classical nature music and butterflies.
In fact, outwardly, it would seem of all the animal products we consume, dairy is the least harmful to animals. Wrong again.
Dairy production is equally harmful to the animals as any other animal product process.
Consider this: Cows only lactate when they have a baby. What? Yes, it’s true. They are a mammal and like humans, only produce milk when there is a baby to drink it. We are not that baby. The calf is. However, the calf is removed from the mother almost immediately and either sledgehammered to death or, if destined to become a veal chop, they are sequestered away in little crates to limit their movement.
Removing the calf from the mother causes undue distress for both – much like it would do if your child were removed from you at birth. Does it hurt them any less because they are animals? Appearances would suggest not. Both animals are frantic to reunite, crying and balling for each other. Imagine about 100 cows and babies separated like this; imagine 400; you get the picture. Not the idyllic pasture scene you imagined, is it.
But first of all, how does the mother get pregnant? Oh ho – it’s not how you think! Forget nature, peeps, it’s all on Farmer Jack’s head. The cow is tied still, and basically a special tool loaded with bull sperm is pushed into the cow’s vulva by the farmer, and the semen is dispensed into the cow that way. The farmer’s arm is shoved into the cow’s rectum and pressure from that flattens out and smooths the way for the “semen gun” to enter the cervix far enough for effective dispensing. This is not “nature taking its course” by any means.
Once all the impregnating and baby nonsense is complete, the lactating mother cow is then pushed into a small stall, hooked up to milking machines, and milked 24/7. She is fed hormones to ensure continued production of milk. She will develop mastitis, a painful infection of mammary glands due to over-milking. She will be fed anti-biotics in large doses to contain the infection and inflammation, but all three will enter the milk stream: hormones, pus, and anti-biotics. She will be in great pain through out this, and will be physically depleted in every way by age five, at which point, she will go to slaughter. Under normal circumstances, her life span would be 25 years.
But it’s ok – she’s just an animal, right?
It’s hard to believe people actually justify this to themselves, but in retrospect, I guess if people can justify incarcerating a certain culture just because they look different, then it’s not too far a stretch to debase a whole species this way.
Dairy is scary: Scary for the mother cows, robbed of their babies and hooked up 24/7 to milking machines; scary for the babies shoved into small huts restricting movement so they make better veal; scary for people who then consume the milk riddled with an “acceptable” level of PUS and high levels of antibiotics (to bring PUS levels down to an acceptable point) and hormones (to keep mama with milk longer). It’s bloody scary that we go along with all of this and drink this stuff even knowing what we are consuming is not only NOT good for us, but NOT necessary for us for good health. It’s scary that there are non-dairy alternatives EVERYWHERE and we still reach for the pus-filled, hormone laden, anti-biotic infused boob milk of another animal that is meant for their babies, the same way OUR milk is meant only for ours.
It’s scary that we humans feel keeping animals in this way is appropriate because they are “just animals”. It’s scary because we are able to justify this behaviour to ourselves because we have “always done it” or “well i was raised that way and I turned out ok”. It’s scary because we have done this to HUMANS in the past and justified it to ourselves then as well: concentration camps, detention camps. It’s scary because we are doing it TODAY, right now, to humans with the immigration camps.
It’s scary because people have not made the connection, and continue to refuse to make the connection, that humans are animals too. We are animals, peeps. Our species: homo sapien. Still animals, though. A mere gene or two away from chimpanzees – not human. Do you see? Do you get it? We are a couple of genes away from a non-human animal, one which we use for experiments because they are animals…. as are we.
Did you know when we are in utero when we are in the “Phylotypic” stage, our embryo cannot be differentiated from a mouse, a chicken, a frog – basically any vertebrate – visually? Animals, peeps. We are animals. We are sentient animals. And so are cows, pigs, sheep, dogs and cats. We all breathe, eat, procreate, care for our young, protect each other, fight for our families, feel happiness, sadness and fear.
So yeah, dairy is scary, in so many more ways than you can imagine. But that is one thing humans can do for themselves: imagine. We can imagine a better world, one where all creatures are respected and treated kindly. One where we understand we do not need to dominate another living being to survive. One where we follow the wise women’s motto: “Do what thy wilt; an harm ye none.”