Today is the day I am officially no longer indulging in dairy products. Since I was ten I have been a very righteous and content vegetarian, happily consuming milk, cheese, yogurt and ice-cream while whole-heartily accusing meat-eaters of causing animals to suffer.
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to come to this conclusion; I guess because eating dairy is not as obviously horrifying as eating a piece of flesh. It’s creamy and delicious and is in no way meaty or bloody; and I guess because nothing had to die. As I’m typing this though I can’t help but feel like a hypocrite, dairy cows suffer, they get slaughtered and dairy farming is contributing to global warming in a large way, just as raising animals for their meat is.
A lot of people have the idyllic image of dairy cows roaming green pastures and coming into the farm once a day to be milked by a friendly farmer. I wish this was the case, but it’s simply not. On the brightside, a lot of Australian dairy cows do see green grass and blue sky from time to time (unlike US or UK dairy cows, for example). However, in order for farmers to keep up with the modern demands for dairy products, cows are hooked up to milking machines which in many cows cause mastitis (a horribly painful nipple infection) and are kept constantly pregnant in order to produce more milk than nature ever intended them to. When they are about four years old and not able to keep up with their expected production of 18, 000 pounds of milk per year they are sent to be slaughtered. All though still young, most are so weak by this point they can’t even stand on their own.
And this isn’t even the icing on the cake (so to speak)! Today, I stumbled across an article about the connection of veal and dairy farming that was a serious revelation for me. What happens to all the baby cows that are a result of their mama’s being kept in a constant state of pregnancy? I never even thought about it until today…about three quarters of the female babies are kept to replace their mothers and the other quarter as well as the boys become veal, leather or by products of the pharmaceutical industry. The RSPCA recommends that calves must be at least ten days old, fed twice a day and travel a maximum of ten hours to the abattoir, sounds great right?! Well even these less than stellar guidelines are rarely met; with calves being as young as five days old, fed once a day and forced to face huge days of travelling with not enough room to lie down, when they aren’t even developed enough to walk properly or deal with the stress of these horrific situations. This is the fate of 800,000 calves in Australia every year. That’s a whole LOT of suffering and death.
Luckily in Australia we are a little kinder to our veal cows and they are generally reared in group sheds and fed milk and grain for their short life. In most countries; however, calves are forced into wooden crates too small to turn around or express natural behaviours, this system is designed to deny the calf access to any iron thus creating the classic white meat.
I am so saddened by this and annoyed with myself that it took me so long to come to this conclusion. I guess better late than never. I know this won’t be a big challenge for me as I haven’t drunk milk for ages anyways and only eat other dairy products on occasion. Equipped with this information it will be much easier to abstain.
Sorry cows, I should have known better.
Kris Carr, Crazy sexy diet
On a happier note, we made effin amazing rice paper rolls tonight that I’ll be posting about tomorrow, 100% cruelty free and oh so satisfying
Who needs dairy when you’ve got food like this!!!