For as long as I can remember I have heard the benefits of milk touted from all directions. Commercials and ads stating “It does a body good”, “builds strong bones” and my mom saying “Drink your milk, it's good for you!"
Even today these messages are in our face. “Got Milk?” ads are ever present, using sexy celebrities to persuade us to drink cow secretions. (Secretion is the technical term for the fluid that comes from the gland of an animal, yes it's gross, and yes we drink it.) Sometimes milk ads seem like PSAs but remember, they are advertisements paid for by the multi-billion dollar dairy industry. They have a lot to lose if we stop drinking cow's milk.
Cow's milk is for calves - Not us!
About 75 % of the world's population is lactose intolerant after weaning. This is a fact. What this means is most people do not have the enzyme necessary to digest lactose, which is found in dairy products. Let’s back up a few steps. Cows produce milk to feed their young. Their milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, who have four stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, sometimes weighing more than 1,000 pounds before they are 2 years old. It was never intended for human beings. That would explain why most people are lactose intolerant.
Where will I get my calcium?
Many people worry that if they don't consume dairy they won't take in enough calcium. The truth is, the reason cow’s milk is rich in calcium is simply because their feed is supplemented with calcium; it is not naturally calcium-rich. Back in the days before factory farming, cows got their calcium from the green grass they grazed on. Today, cows do not roam in the fields chewing on grass like commercials lead us to believe. Instead, farmers must supplement their feed. While the milk is high in calcium it often contains pus, antibiotics, blood and pesticides as well. So, what if we skipped the cow and went straight to the source: the dark, leafy greens, a supplement or other sources? It is a safer, more economical approach. The amount of calcium we need is also questionable at this point anyway (read some of the studies linked at the bottom of the page for more info). With the variety of dairy substitutes it is easy to make the switch.
It is important to also remember that we must artificially inseminate cows in order for them to produce milk. It may seem like common sense but I think we often forget this fundamental step. Thanks to genetic manipulation, cows produce 10 times more milk than they would in nature. This leads to painfully large udders and frequent infections and subsequently the overuse of antibiotics. This is one of the reasons there are traces of blood and pus in our milk. Either cows are sent to slaughter early because they are too sick to produce or they are considered “spent” within 4-5 years and go to slaughter then. Their natural lifespan is 25 years, but dairy cows will never know what life really is. Their days are spent as milk machines and nothing more.
The Dairy - Veal Connection
At this point are you wondering what happens to the babies that are born out of the artificial insemination? Obviously, the boys can not produce milk so they are usually taken from their mother as soon as one day after birth and crated to become veal. Many cringe at the thought of veal, and if you didn’t already know about the link between dairy and veal, I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Once I learned of this sad connection I was done. Hence the title of this post.
On top of all the horror I already mentioned, there are the health risks such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, food allergies and many other ailments that are more common among those that consume dairy products than those that do not. There is the environmental destruction of our rivers, lakes and streams as well. I could easily blog all day about the harsh realities of the dairy industry, but I will stop here and let you breathe.
If you are interested in studies about milk in regard to your health, google STUDIES ON MILK CONSUMPTION and see what you find. Below are a few professional research articles I found to be thought provoking.
Study finds that kids need exercise, not calcium. -Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Study finds that Vitamin D reduces bone fractures in women, not calcium. -The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Study finds that individuals consuming milk have an increased incidence of colorectal cancer. -National Institutes of Health