“I could never live without cheese.”
That’s what a lot of people tell me when they find out I’m vegan. I used to feel the same way. Today, cheese has a different connotation for me and I not only don’t miss it, I loathe it.
For 18 years I was a vegetarian. If people asked me if I ate cheese and drank milk I answered, “yes, because the cows don’t get killed.” I was ignorant and completely clueless to reality. I wish someone had told me the truth.
I don’t eat dairy now because cows DO suffer and die and also because it’s disgusting and unhealthy. Here’s what the dairy industry doesn’t want you to know:
Cows need to be pregnant before they lactate
Just like a human female, cows don’t “give milk” until after they have a baby. And the dairy corporation can’t have all those babies drinking their profits. That milk is for people! In order to keep milk in production, cows are kept pregnant.
Calves are stolen away from their mothers
Cows don’t give us their milk. We take it away from them. Just like we take away their babies. Normally a calf nurses for up to a year, but usually within a day, calves are either killed or auctioned off for veal (if they’re “useless” males), or separated into pens where they can grow up into milk producers to replace their mothers.
Dairy cows are sold for meat
After four or so years of constantly being pregnant and lactating, a cow’s milk production goes down. She isn’t profitable anymore. She is “spent.” Dairy cows are auctioned off and turned into cheap, ground beef. They’re normal lifespans are closer to 20 years.
Milk doesn’t do a body good
Milk will turn a small calf into a 1000-pound cow. It does the job well, but I don’t want to grow that big. I don’t want to drink hormones and antibiotics. I don’t want to fuel disease. Milk has too much protein, and we excrete the excess–along with calcium from our bones! It taxes our kidneys, and increases our risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, cancer, heart attack and stroke. I get calcium just like cows do: from dark leafy greens. Milk doesn’t have fiber, but it is full of cholesterol and fat. Who needs it (well, besides cows)?
It doesn’t matter if milk comes from a small, organic dairy farm or a large corporation. These things remain constant:
- Cows are kept constantly pregnant;
- Calves are taken from their mothers, killed, sold for veal, or raised to be milkers;
- “Spent” dairy cows end up as hamburgers.
I wouldn’t drink milk from a dog or a monkey so why drink milk from a cow? After infancy, no other animal even drinks milk at all–not even from their own species!
So next time you think about life without dairy, think about the animals who suffer for our taste buds.
With a plethora of dairy-free alternatives, you won’t miss milk. We have choices like dark chocolate, coconut yogurt, hemp, oat, soy, almond and rice milk, non-dairy creamer, sorbet and soy or coconut ice cream, and delicious vegan cheeses from companies like Daiya and Tofutti.
Dump dairy and ditch cruelty!