Milk Myths Debunked – Part 1: Is There Pus in Milk?


Perhaps you have read or heard that milk contains pus. Articles like this one from have certainly played their part in spreading this myth, claiming that mastitis runs rampant in the dairy industry and that the milk from these cows is saturated with pus (along with the highly inaccurate claim that most cows are only productive for two years). Perhaps you’ve seen inflammatory infographics like this one:

A dairy friend of mine says that the NotMilk website is aptly named: it is most certainly not milk what they describe there!

A dairy friend of mine says that the NotMilk website is aptly named: it is most certainly not milk what is described there! And that bit about casein: human breast milk also contains casein. It’s not likely to be deadly, is it?!

Maybe you’ve even had the dubious pleasure of watching the same video I have, where the somber voice over gleefully chortles about the millions of pus cells present in each glass of milk.


So…Is there pus in milk??? Absolutely not. As a dairy farmer, I work with our cows and their milk daily, and I know that this is not true. Allow me to explain…

Where do these rumours begin? Like all mammals, cows produce milk after giving birth. Sometimes a cow will develop an infection of the udder called mastitis. For those familiar with breastfeeding, you’ll know that humans too can develop mastitis. This accurate definition from Wikipedia sums up mastitis clearly and succinctly: “Mastitis occurs when white blood cells are released into the mammary gland, usually in response to an invasion of bacteria of the teat canal. Milk-secreting tissue and various ducts throughout the mammary gland are damaged due to toxins by the bacteria. Mastitis can also occur as a result of chemical, mechanical, or thermal injury. The udder sac is hard, tight, and firm. This disease can be identified by abnormalities in the udder such as swelling, heat, redness, hardness or pain if it is clinical. Other indications of mastitis may be abnormalities in milk such as a watery appearance, flakes, or clots.” Reading this definition, one can almost understand why a person not familiar with procedures and practices on a dairy farm could be led to believe that there is pus in milk, especially after reading false statistics claiming widespread incidences of mastitis in dairy cows. Yes, cows can get mastitis. It can be a debilitating, even life threatening infection if not treated properly and promptly. As farmers, we take each case of mastitis very seriously. When mastitis is detected, either via testing or the daily visual inspection of each cow’s milk before the milking machine is attached, the milk from that cow does not enter the supply chain until the infection has cleared. Depending on the severity of the infection, there are a few different ways to treat mastitis. If the infection is not too virulent, hot compresses and massages and stripping out the milk from the infected part of the udder can sometimes help the cow get rid of the infection on her own. Other times, antibiotic treatment is necessary. When a cow is treated with antibiotics, her milk also does not enter the supply chain and is discarded until the drug specific withdrawal time has passed. Additionally, all milk is tested on farm and at the processing plant for antibiotic residues; if residues are detected, all contaminated milk is discarded and the farmer responsible pays a hefty fine. Once a cow has recovered and her milk has tested clear of antibiotic residues, her milk is once again shipped to the processing plant.

A healthy udder on a healthy cow. No swelling, hard quarters or redness to indicate mastitis. A few squirts of milk were expressed before milking to check for irregularities in the milk.

A healthy udder on a healthy cow before and after milking. No swelling, hard quarters or redness to indicate mastitis. A few squirts of milk were expressed before milking to check for irregularities in the milk. After milking, an antibacterial dip is applied to the teats to prevent bacteria from entering the open teat end.

Is mastitis rampant in the dairy industry? No! Take this blurb from the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle: “Overall goals to strive for are: b) Reduction in the occurrence of clinical mastitis to two or fewer clinical cases per 100 cows per month.” Adherence to the Code is now mandatory on all BC dairy farms, and soon will be all across Canada as well. These guidelines were written to be realistic and practical for dairy farms. If mastitis were rampant, aiming for an incidence level of less than 2% per month wouldn’t be feasible. We aim to reduce cases of mastitis by ensuring that our cows live in a clean and sanitary environment. We keep their stalls full of fresh, clean bedding; we clean the barns of manure multiple times per day; we utilize sanitary practices during the milking of each cow; we ensure that our milking equipment is properly maintained and serviced, and we apply an antibacterial teat protecting dip after milking when the open teat end could allow the entry of bacteria.

Now, let’s take a look at these “pus cells” that anti-dairy groups claim are in the milk you drink.

To tell you the truth, there is no such thing as a “pus cell”. Pus is made up of dead white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria, not one type of cell.

So to what are these people referring? Generally, these “experts” equate somatic cells with pus cells. Somatic cells are living white blood cells located in the udder of cows. Like all white blood cells, they fight infection so an elevated somatic cell count indicates that the cow is fighting some sort of infection, such as mastitis. Milk is tested both on farm and at the processing plant, and one of the tests run is called a “somatic cell count” test. This test shows the level of somatic cells in a sample of milk. A healthy cow with no underlying infection will have a low somatic cell count (SCC). A cow with a somatic cell count between 100 000 and 200 000 cells per milliliter is considered to be in optimum health by most industry sources, she is not fighting any sort of infection. Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs states that “bulk tank counts or herd averages of under 200 000 indicate excellent udder health and counts over 500 000 indicate a definite problem with subclinical mastitis.” Most dairies aim to keep their SCC level under 200 000.  An average monthly herd somatic cell count under 250 000 somatic cells per mL is also eligible for a quality bonus paid to the farmer. In Canada, the maximum allowable limit for somatic cells in milk is 400 000. This line is drawn to ensure that sick cows are treated and that their milk does not enter the food chain. Consumers can rest assured that their milk does not contain pus AND that it comes from healthy cows! (Just as an aside: the somatic cell count averages for our herd over our last three SCC tests were:  142 000 (Jan 5), 147 000 (Jan 12), 163 000 (Jan 19) ).

If you are looking for answers about dairy, please be critical. Why is the source presenting this information? Is there an underlying agenda? Try to find the source of the information, and verify that it is from an unbiased agency. Pages that push vegetarian or vegan diets or lifestyles may not be interested in telling the whole truth about dairy. While some may say that this article also is a biased source of information, remember that what I have described here is supported by the scientific and veterinarian communities. You’re welcome to double check my facts!

I hope that I’ve explained this issue clearly and logically. As always, questions or comments are more than welcome in the comments section below!


109 thoughts on “Milk Myths Debunked – Part 1: Is There Pus in Milk?

  1. Kristin says:

    Please state your source for a cow at 200,000 SCC being in optimum health with no infection. That is on the high side when all DHI herds in the province of BC average below that.
    Also please state a source and number of lactations you believe cows are productive for, before calling 2 years a highly inaccurate claim. It is the reality on some dairies.
    You do a great job at this and many appreciate the time and energy you devote to it, so keep it up. We just need to be sure our side doesn’t exaggerate facts like our opponents do.


    • Hi Kristin. Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts. This source, states that “bulk tank counts or herd averages under 200 000 indicate excellent udder health”. I’ll edit the wording to reflect that, as there is some variation in numbers regarding optimum cow health and SCC, usually ranging between 100 000 and 200 000. Thanks for pointing that out! This paper from the Canadian Dairy Network ( states that the average Holstein cow has the potential for 6+ lactations, a lifespan of 9.1 years. This number is supported by the age of cows on our farm, as well as many other dairy farmers I have spoken with. I know that this is not always the case, but to claim that “all dairy cows only live for 4 years or two lactations” is totally not representative of the whole industry. Hope this helps to clarify what I wrote!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sri Sri says:

        I think you are saying SCC are living white blood cells? Wow, 200,000 blood cells per milliliter. How many blood cells per glass of milk (500 mL)? About 1,000,000? Please switch to organic plant farming for our health, the environment, the animals, and the world’s starving people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ed says:

        Sri Sri…organic farming is *worse* for everything – the producer, the consumer, as well as the environment. You are putting in more effort and resources for less.

        Back in 1971, then-US Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz summed it up quite nicely: “Before we go back to organic agriculture in this country, somebody must decide which 50 million Americans we are going to let starve or go hungry.”


      • Ed says:

        Hmm…it seems I was wrong – it used to be the case that organic farming was worse off overall, however advances in technology mean that organic is now a more viable method to food production, although it typically has 20% lower yields and while consumers may be willing to pay more for organic, thus benefiting the farmer, this presents a problem for lower income earners.


    • MIke says:

      Does your write up include the process after the milk leaves the cow. Pasteurization (radiation) and other processes change this milk product…does it not?


      • Pasteurization is the process of quickly heating, then cooling milk to kill any harmful pathogens that could be present in that milk. It does not change the nutritional value of milk. Vitamin D is added to aid the absorption of calcium in the milk, and Vitamin A is added to skim milk products as it is removed with the milk fat.


    • Heather Collins says:

      I really wish the woman, Julaine Treur, who wrote te this article would educate herself better before misleading the public.

      ➡➡➡Somatic cell (any cell in the body that isn’t reproductive) counts greater than a million per teaspoon are abnormal and “almost always” caused by mastitis (an infection of the breast tissue) ⬅⬅⬅

      ➡➡➡The average somatic cell count in U.S. milk per spoonful is 1,120,000⬅⬅⬅

      ➡ Pus consists of a buildup of dead leukocytes (white blood cells) from the body’s immune system in response to infection.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ummm, nowhere in that article you linked to does it state those things. But even if it did, that’s not problematic since if you do the math that equals 227,000 SCC/ml. Not the best SCC, but not that bad. To put it into perspective, that’s less than a drop of somatic cells per cup of milk, and while pus is partly composed of somatic cells, somatic cells are not equivalent to pus.


  2. there are those dairy farmers who are less than ethical when it comes to doing business, and earning a crust, as in any business…I have been in business all my life, and have known some “less than scrupulous” so called business men !!!….

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rachel says:

    You make it sound like it is all fine and dandy, but obviously they do get infected, so it does happen often.. And they are artificially impregnated.. give birth.. that calf is taken from her.. so that humans can steal their milk instead.. Or are you going to say that that does not happen too?.. I became Vegan after seeing a milking demonstration at a fair.. A cow was walked in .. passed by me.. she looked like a robot. all life sucked out of her. I sat and watched a women demonstrate how she hooks up the udders to short rods attached to a hose to a machine, she then turned on a switch and stole her milk full speed .. Then she hosed her udders down to sterilize her.. she said we do this so that she doesn’t get infected.. I was so pissed off that they put her in that predicament to begin with.. That was 9 and 1/2 years ago.. I have been Vegan ever since.. I researched it and heard that they give birth to get that milk.. her offspring taken from her.. male ones killed for veal.. females isolated given formula instead.. It is sickening that humans want to drink milk that is meant for calves.. not us humans.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tim says:

      Rachel, I appreciate your point of view from the eyes of what I imagine to be a very young girl – you said that was almost 10 years ago. What you saw in that demonstration was probably very sanitary, but only a fraction so as demanded by the regulatory system we have in place protecting our food supply.

      I grew up going down to the farm where my Aunt and Uncle ran a dairy operation with their sons. After seeing their morning routine that started at 4:00 am doing the milking, my favorite part of being privileged enough to have this opportunity in the family, was tapping a quart of the fresh milk from the big stainless tank and bringing it up for breakfast. It was and still is the best milk I have ever had in my life.

      As far as how those cows looked, they were happy and healthy, romping in the field and leading a very beautiful life. At milking time, they willingly gathered at the barn opening waiting for the operation to start. The ones roaming in the pasture were close by, and with just a little encouragement quickly joined the others. There were no “robot” looking animals. These were vibrant and healthy animals.

      The calves that were born, some through a natural process of mating with a bull, some inseminated with champion bred bull sperm artificially, spent the first few days feeding directly from the cow. Then they were brought into a private suite in a barn where they consumed natural milk from the days milking. Right from the same tank my breakfast milk came from. Not formula.

      I suppose some of the males were fed until they were weaned and fed a normal diet until they were a good veil weight – most became feeder cattle that would graze and eat until they were the right size for market – yes, to be sent to the butcher.

      The fact is, we know as humans how to measure the food value in various sources. It because of that ability we recognize where to get good nutrition. One of the most complete food sources come from dairy products. To deny yourself of that source is to make life much more difficult finding a way to replace these natural food sources.

      Milking animals for human consumption goes back through millennia. Arguably, regardless of your human origin beliefs at least 10,000 years. We have eaten meat that long, and some would say more like 100,000 plus years. That is a very long history compared to the last few decades of people going vegetarian or vegan. Most of the reasons I have heard people turning to that lifestyle are invalid, and scientifically incorrect.

      Milk is good food.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Tim, Thanks so much for sharing about milk and the various processes it goes through. Over the years of changes in my diet, I have always held to something called “don’t go overboard”. I tend to be more of a vegetarian but a lacto-ovo vegetarian, because I know that some of the nutrients we get are only found in animal sources, so I include egg and dairy and meat very rarely. if one does not eat meat it is important to have this nutrition, I come from a lineage of Vegans as far back as when Hinduism originated (which happens to be the oldest religion on earth), For instance B12 and K2 vitamins. Moderation is the key and having a sensible diet that provides all the needed nutrition.


      • Sid says:

        Hi Tim, thanks for sharing.

        Hi Joan, humans have definitely been around for more than 6000, try googling “human existence” and find out for yourself 🙂


      • Maz says:

        I completely agree with your response. I really like how you went into detail with the milking. Yes it’s true we use these animals for our consumption, but because our bodies were designed for it. I don’t like when vegan/vegetarians say that we weren’t meant to eat that or it’s wrong to eat it. Predators hunt and kill animals for food. But humans do it in a more sophisticated way because our brains allow us that type of intelligence. You might well tell a lion don’t kill that zebra because it’s wrong. Doesn’t make sense. They are designed to eat meat. If you become vegan/vegetarian, the only reason for converting should be for personal or ethical reasons, but not because your body isn’t “meant” for that. Completely wrong use of word.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michelle says:

        Yours had opportunity to write a reply but although I’m not quite vegan I wish to be and I’m working on it . I wish I could reply in Maz’s down a couple where he says humans kill in a more sophisticated way because of our brains allow that type of intelligence? Wow okay so of course animals eat the way they do! We are above that! I can’t believe I’ve been falling for all this rubbish for years that I’m reading. Way to twist stuff around people. Just because it’s the way it’s been done for all these years , doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be grasping in our advanced evolved day a new way to do these things. Slaughtering animals…. Butchers, I’m amazed by the lack of feeling us humans have.Take one last look at these intelligent animals eyes before you slit their throat or anally or use the prod on their brain. It should do something to you. That’s for Maz


      • Mitchell Yang says:

        Props to you for spreading more information on milk production despite all the possibly irritating denials and refusals based on emotional appeal. Keep up the good work!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda says:

        We are not meant to drink milk from another animal. I have dozens and dozens of clients health improved when they eliminate dairy from the diet. Any protocols that are to heal the body from disease recommend eliminating dairy. It is hard to believe when your livelyhood is a farmer. I get that. But the research is there. Milk is not beneficial to the body.


      • Graziela Santos says:

        Not all farms are like that, unfortunately. Tye vast majority is not. I have no issues having dairy from a responsible farm. But how do i know where are my cheese and milk coming from? Dairy farms are a concentration camp for cows. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t have some many videos around showing the atrocities that goes around. There should be greater incentives for ethical farming.


    • Hi Jeena,
      The statistics I have referenced here and the information that Tim has shared above are reflective of the average Canadian dairy farm. Are you on Facebook? I share stories & photos there about our farm, and if you’re interested, I invite you to take a look: our cows are treated with respect, compassion, and love 365 days of the year. You can find our page on the left hand side of this blog or by searching “Creekside Dairy” on Facebook.


      • Rachel says:

        Thank you for your input. I do wonder, when you say your cows receive “respect, compassion, and love 365 days a year”, do you sell your cows to slaughter? Or do they remain on your farm to live out their lives?


  4. Kit says:

    There little doubt that milk contains pus cells … maybe it varies (is lower) in an organic herd but to say there’s none is just flat out lying or total ignorance.

    It doesn’t take long to find out that every country sets similar limits for the NUMBER of pus cells present in milk …around 400,000 per millilitre seems around the mark!

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I pointed out, somatic cells are not pus cells. There is no such thing as a pus cell! Rather, somatic cells are white blood cells. You and I are both full of white blood cells – and so would you say we are full of pus cells? Please re-read the article above!


    • Michelle says:

      Everyone is saying no such thing as pus cells. Maybe just straight up pus. Either way I now feel like I taste pus when I drink it so I’m switching to something else. I’d hope they’re right however but maybe it’s for their financial benefit to defend. I get that I guess


  5. Paul says:

    Hello All

    I am a milk drinker, I prefer un-adulterated raw cows milk from the farmers market.
    In South Africa there is not much enforcement of health legislation.
    I worked in commercial refrigeration for many years and spent a lot of time at dairy’s and processing plants.
    So let me say that not all dairy’s are the same from my experience the smaller ones are better than the bigger ones.

    The following are what I observed at one of South Africa’s leading dairy’s.
    1. Huge skin and bone cows with massive udders struggling to walk and falling on the cement of the after milking feed lot.
    2. Cows coming out of the milking hall with blood streaming from their teats I assume from over milking.
    3. Happy skin and bone cows grazing in large pastures on thick well watered grass.
    4. This saddened me the most as an animal lover. The new born male calves would be removed from their mothers and put in tiny individual cages just big enough for a calf these cages were in full sun and behind the maintenance shed the calves were basically let there to die there was no water or food in the cramped cages and no space to even put a water bowl. the calves would cry and cry for there mothers and after a day or so in the hot sun they would fall silent and were to weak to stand any more I saw most male calves die this way. Some were lucky about once a month a farmer would come and buy one some times two.
    The female calves were lucky they were put in a separate pasture and raised to repeat the process.
    5. In South Africa dairy’s are allowed to add a certain amount of water to the milk so most dairy’s are located near streams and highways what happens about every 3 years to quite a few dairies is there are tanker accidents on the highways and the spill finds it’s way into the streams. there are basic water filtration plants at the dairies but these are poorly maintained and not capable of removing diesel or paraffin from water. so it end up in the milk and in the consumer.
    6. A few years ago the leading dairies could not keep up with the demand for yoghurt so they started putting gelatin in the yoghurt. most consumers have got wise to this and so support the smaller dairies for yoghurt as it’s real yoghurt.

    Just sharing my experiences.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Felicia Durant says:

      Dear Paul
      Thank you so much for your honesty I, too live in South Africa in a small town surrounded by small farms.I used to support only the local dairy farmers, thinking that the animals live great lives.Until I found out the sad truth about dairy farming. Thankfully the owner of the farm was honest enough to tell me that indeed they separate the calves from their mothers. I later watched videos on YouTube of mother cows crying in desperation when this happens. That was enough to put me off dairy forever. Don’t really care if milk is healthy or not. I want no part in this suffering.


  6. Stephen says:

    Hi Julaine,
    Thank you for your informative article.
    Just to give us an idea of percentages, how much % volume of milk would be 200,000 somatic cells per ml?
    Is that 1% of the milk, or 20%?
    I can’t seem to find this info anywhere.


    • Hi Stephen. Thanks for your question! I had never thought to try to determine the percentage of somatic cells in milk. And like you said, it’s hard to find any information to that effect! However, I did some calculations that illustrate the minuscule amount of somatic cells in milk. One cell weighs one nanogram (1 billionth of a gram.) 200 000 cells weigh 0.0002 g. 1mL weighs 1 g. So 200 000 cells in 1 mL of milk is about 0.02% of that milk. I hope that helps to answer your question!


    • You’re very welcome! I wrote this post nearly one year ago, and it’s been interesting to see the number of hits increase almost every day, especially since the Erin Janus video started making the rounds. I guess it means that people are still looking for information to counter her absurd claims and accusations!


    • Gabrielle says:

      its obvious she’s just promoting her farm and not supporting any evidence that mainstream dairy is healthy. so what are you thanking for? easing your simpleton mind?


      • Our farm is a mainstream dairy farm, nearly identical to the 12 000 dairy farms that dot the Canadian countrysjde. Additionally, ALL Canadian dairy farms are held to the same quality and safety standards that we are.


  7. Nikki says:

    The torture that cows endure and the disease that milk causes… How can ANYONE with any morals or common sense even begin to try and defend the production of milk for human consumption?! There is nothing “kind” or “ethical” or “respectful” about taking milk from a mother that is meant for her baby! How would you like it if I impregnated you against your will, stole your baby, and milked you for my own profit? But I insisted I treated you with “respect” the whole time and justified it to others…
    There is nothing OK about the meat and dairy industry. If we could all open our eyes to see the truth and then open our hearts to have a little compassion we could benefit in so many ways. Karma is real and each person eating to support this violence is increasing their risk of cancers and other chronic and potentially life threatening diseases. Educate yourself, please.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sorry, Nikki, I unapproved your comment until I had time for a response…
      Our cows are not tortured. Period. I’m curious if you have ever visited a dairy farm to see for yourself how cows are treated? Please don’t base your opinion on dairy farming on the biased claims made by animal rights’ groups who have a very specific agenda: the cessation of all animal farming. Rather, I invite you to look for information at the source — a dairy farm — to form your own opinion on how cows are treated in the dairy industry. I invite you to take a look at our facebook page (found in the left hand margin of this page) where I share photos and stories about our dairy farming life in a very transparent manner.
      Yes, milk is meant for calves. But do you know that a dairy cow produces much more milk than her calf can drink? And calves ARE fed their mother’s milk, and we then use the excess for human consumption. Cows milk has been used by humans for thousands of years and is a great source of nutrients.
      Cows are not impregnated “against their will”. A cow that is in “heat” — her fertile period — will do anything to be bred, it is her biological imperative to reproduce. Cows are inseminated or bred every year if their health allows. This mimics the natural cycle of a cow giving birth once a year. In the wild, a cow is bred as soon as she comes into heat after giving birth to a calf, regardless of her health or her ability to carry a calf to term. On a dairy farm, only cows in good health are bred. If the cow is judged to be unfit for breeding, the farmer will wait until the cow is healthier and/or stronger and then breed her at the advice of a veterinarian. On our farm, our cows are bred by a bull. When they are fertile, they do their utmost to get to the bull to be bred, regardless of whether or not they should be bred on that cycle (ie too soon after giving birth previously). They’re definitely not bred against their will – they’re more than willing to stand for our bull!
      Did you know that dairy cows, unlike beef cows, are actually not the greatest mothers? We leave our calves with their mothers for a period of time after birth, and then gently move the calf to our nursery where she is provided plenty of milk/colostrum from her mother; fresh, clean, soft bedding, and lots of love and attention from our family. Because of the high level of trust between us and the mother cow, which is generated by the level of care she has received her entire life on our farm, she does NOT cry for her calf, instead, she’ll usually continue eating or laying down when we move her calf. Neither does the calf cry for her mother, she’s perfectly content in her new surroundings.The truth is, many dairy cows don’t have much of a mothering instinct. Sad as it may sound, farmers can often do a better job taking care of a calf than a dairy cow can! We ensure that the calf is cleaned (sometimes the mother doesn’t do a good enough job or shows no interest in her calf at all), housed in a safe environment (we’ve had cows try to hurt their calves), and well fed (it’s hard to know if a cow will allow her calf to drink enough or at all, so we feed the calf the mother’s colostrum/milk from a bottle to ensure that those important antibodies give the calf the best start to life possible).
      As for the nutrition aspect, both you and I will be able to find studies/links/articles which support our viewpoints. But since I am not a nutritionist, and I suspect you are not either, it’s probably best to leave this discussion well enough alone.
      Nikki, I believe that humans and animals have co-evolved over thousands of years, to the benefit of both of us. Our cows are a part of the food chain, as nature intended, but during their time with us, we do our utmost to make sure their lives are comfortable, free of disease and pain and fear. Personally, I would rather follow the paths of our ancestors who were able to gain nutrition (without supplementation!) from animals and plants. I’m fully persuaded that a diet that requires supplementation (either now or in the future if you continue following a diet without animal proteins) cannot be what is best and fitting for humankind. My family and I do our absolute best to provide the very best of care for our animals, ensuring they are happy (yes, happy – I work with these animals every day, and I assure you, I know what a happy cow looks like!) and comfortable and when they have lived out their purpose on earth, we ensure that their end is as humane as is possible. I appreciate that you care deeply about how animals are treated, and I assure you that while we disagree on their purpose on Earth, they really do receive the best care possible on our family farm. Millions of Canadians are grateful for the quality product we produce. I hope you can understand that I do respect your opinion and values, but I also value the opinions and values of those Canadians who consume animal products, and am happy that our family can help to supply them with their dietary needs.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nikki says:

    I appreciate your well thought out response. Before I begin I would like to say that the majority of meat, eggs, & dairy we consume do not come from family farms, but factory farms. It would not be possible to produce the amount of meat, eggs, & dairy that are in demand on a farm like yours. Additionally, your farming methods (while more comfortable for the animals) leave a greater carbon footprint per animal than factory farming does (not that I’m defending factory farming by any means).
    As I read your response, I came across a few points that I would like to address…

    First, you asked me not to base my opinions off the ‘claims’ made by animal rights’ groups who ‘have a very specific agenda’. My question to you is WHY do these groups even exist and WHY is their agenda to end animal farming? It’s because MOST of these animals live a life of torture and ALL of these animals are dying unnecessary deaths because the fact is, we do not need to consume animal products (but I’ll get into that more later). These animal rights’ groups have exposed so many truths about the suffering animals endure, the impact of farming on the environment, and the impact of meat and dairy products on our own health. Sure, I can go to a family farm where everything is dandy, but that’s not where the majority of meat and dairy is coming from AND it’s not realistic to push the meat and dairy industry to fit that style because there’s not enough room on our planet AND it’s terrible for the environment.

    Next, you said that on your farm a baby calf would not be forced away from its mother. That’s great, really. However, MOST babies are forced away from their mother’s within 24-48 hours of being born.

    You said that there are many nutrients in cow’s milk and our ancestors have been drinking it for thousands of years… Well, cow’s milk is the most common allergy reported in children, 75% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant, studies have shown milk increases a person’s risk of cancer and osteoporosis, and milk has also been linked to problems such as acne, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, autism, IBS, and other digestive issues (to name a few). In addition, our ancestors did a lot of things that they thought were right at the time, but over the years we’ve evolved and learned from their mistakes.

    I appreciate your methods of impregnating cows on your farm. However, outside of your farm, cows are impregnated artificially so they will continue to produce milk. When a human decides when a cow will become pregnant, that is called ‘impregnating a cow against her will’.

    You said your cows don’t cry for their babies. That’s strange to me, as it’s natural for female mammals to cry and fight for their babies. It sounds like there’s been some interference with nature and it’s having a negative impact on the animals.

    You said our ancestors gained nutrition from animals. Well, while you’re entitled to your opinion, I’ve seen studies which suggest that our ancestors ate a primarily plant-based diet. When winters would come and there were no plant foods available, they didn’t have a choice except to survive off of the meat of animals. The human body can adapt to a variety of circumstances and so while our ancestors were able to survive from temporarily eating meat, their nutrition was gained from plant-based foods. Also, you mentioned something about supplements. I’ve done my research and I can assure you that, contrary to popular belief, supplements are actually not necessary on a diet free of animal products.

    Animal protein! Our bodies do not need animal protein. Actually, plant-based protein is more beneficial to our bodies than animal protein. It is widely believed that a person will not get enough protein on a plant-based diet, but the truth is that as long as a person is consuming enough calories from plant sources, they are getting plenty of protein. Furthermore, animal protein is highly acidic. That’s why countries with the highest milk consumption also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Animal protein creates an acidic environment in the body. To neutralize it, calcium is extracted from the bones. Over time, this weakens the bones.
    Consuming animal protein also increases a person’s risk for developing cancer.

    You said your cows are happy and from what you’ve told me about your farm, I’m sure they are. It sounds like you’ve built a comfortable environment for them and that’s great. But I’m wondering, who determines when a cow has ‘lived out its purpose’ and what does that even mean? What is the criteria for a cow ‘living out its purpose’? I wasn’t aware that we were allowed to determine when any living thing had ‘lived out its purpose’. Also, you said that once a cow has lived out its purpose you kill it in a humane way. Can you elaborate on what humane murder looks like?

    To end, I would like to say that I respect your beliefs. I disagree with your beliefs and I am passionate about my own, but I do respect them. The opinions that I hold today about the production and consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy are based heavily on facts about animal welfare, the environment, and human health. I believe that you care about your animals (as much as you can knowing that you will have to end their lives one day) and I appreciate that you go out of your way to keep them comfortable and happy. I’ve already stated that what your cows experience is not the ‘norm’ and I’ve explained why it would be impossible for it to ever be ‘the norm’. For that reason alone, I could never support producing and consuming meat, eggs, and dairy. In addition to that, we are humans, not God, and I don’t believe we have a right to determine when an animal has lived out its purpose. And finally, with all of the information about human health and how detrimental meat, eggs, and dairy are to it, I can’t understand how anyone could possibly insist they have any health benefits. Dairy substitutes are everywhere with more health benefits and without the health risks of milk. Meat and even egg substitutes are available too! Unlike animal products, they contain fiber, far less fat, and many are cholesterol-free, as well! They’re worth taking a look at.
    Thank you again for taking the time out to respond.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Glenn says:

      Give me a break. You act like you are any better? Do YOU know what is required to grow the mass amounts of veggies you Vegan morons cling to? It’s not any more ethical. It is all exploitation of something or someone and being Vegan makes you NO different. Unlike everyone else who understands this and has RESPECT, you have to run around questioning other people’s beliefs when you have plenty or problems of your own. Get a life and leave honest, hard working people alone. Dairy farmers sustain the land, Vegans rape it. Good day.


      • Nikki says:

        The mass amounts of veggies? Really? Do you have any idea what is required to feed the animals raised for slaughter? If we were all eating plant-based diets rather than feeding massive amounts of grains to animals only to fatten them up for slaughter, we would be able to grow less than what’s required now.
        I’m not sure why you assume I “run around questioning other people’s beliefs”. I actually ended up on this page as a result of researching the opposing view of a claim made by a vegan. Once I read this post, I felt compelled to leave a comment, just like you and everyone else who commented..
        I was actually impressed by Julaine’s response and I thought it was great that she took the time out to write such a well thought-out response. We have opposing views and that’s fine. But she’s putting her life and her work out there for people to comment on and that’s exactly what happened.
        I don’t think (or act) like I’M better than anyone. I do, however, believe that a VEGAN DIET is better for everyone involved.

        Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Nikki,
      Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier, things have been pretty busy on the farm and with my family. I really appreciate your comments, and I totally respect your decision not to include animal products in your diet. However, I would like to address a few of the points you made:
      1. Dairy farms in Canada are not factory farms. In fact, our farm, milking 90ish cows, is slightly larger than the national average of 77 cows. Therefore, the milk you buy in Canadian grocery stores really does come from farms just like ours.
      2. Regardless of how a cow is impregnated, she will give birth once a year, just as a cow would if left to her own devices in a herd of wild cows/bulls. Artificial insemination is just another method of introducing semen into the uterus, it has nothing to do with how much milk a cow produces or how often a cow gives birth. As I stated in my previous comment, cows are bred either by a bull or via artificial insemination ONLY when they are in heat. A cow in heat has a biological imperative to be bred, and breeding her at this time is most definitely not ‘impregnating against her will’.
      3. Humane slaughter. I’d like to recommend that you look up the work of Dr. Temple Grandin. Her advice has been followed by most slaughterhouses across North America.
      4. I know that vitamin B12, creatine, carnosine and DHA are crucial for human nutrition, and they are mainly found in animal proteins. I’m curious how you are able to receive a sufficient amount of these without supplementation?
      Again, thank you so much for this respectful conversation. I’ve enjoyed learning about your thoughts on dairy farming and animal agriculture in general!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nikki says:

        Hi Julaine,

        Thank you for taking the time to address some of the points I made and answer my questions. In terms of family farms vs. factory farms, it’s always nicer to see animals being raised on family farms where they are cared for and treated well. However, I disagree with farming altogether, and I think we can go back and forth debating the ethics of farming forever. My personal opinion is that it’s wrong to kill any animal unnecessarily…
        And that leads me to the fourth point you brought up… b12, creatine, carnosine, and DHA. Before adopting an entirely plant-based diet, I read about all of the reasons why veganism could be dangerous. It’s true, there are many vegans who are very deficient in essential vitamins, but that isn’t the case for all vegans. The key has been to be aware of what I’m eating and maintaining balance in my diet. I get my b12 from fortified foods like almond milk and nutritional yeast. While it could be argued that these are man-made sources, I think it’s important to keep in mind that years ago our ancestors could have eaten a plant-based diet and consumed enough b12 because the plants they were eating were coming from soil contaminated with b12. The problem regarding b12 today isn’t with our food necessarily, it’s with the soil it is grown in.
        When speaking to my doctor about creatine, I learned that our bodies do produce creatine. For that reason, I have chosen (at least for now) not to take a supplement. (As a side note, I do want to say that I spoke with my doctor about a vegan diet prior to transitioning and I believe it’s important for vegans (and everyone, really) to see a doctor each year to ensure good health.) When I did some research on my own, the only information I could find that suggested that vegans might want to take a creatine supplement were regarding vegan athletes who trained heavily.
        Carnosine is actually made up of alanine and histidine, which can be found in plenty of high fiber plant foods, like beans and legumes, and high fat plant foods, such as nuts and seeds.
        For DHA, I have been instructed to eat plant-based foods that are good sources of omega-3.
        Because I, and other vegans, have been able to maintain adequate levels of essential vitamins and minerals, I don’t see eating animals and animal products as a necessity, especially considering the diseases directly linked to them. In my personal experience, eating a plant-based diet has been the best thing to ever happen to my health, physical and mental.
        Thank you again for your time!

        Liked by 4 people

    • Shani says:

      I couldn’t have worded this better myself Nikki! It’s a shame that people instantly become defensive over their precious tastebuds and/or tradition. When you really think about what YOU are standing up for and what THEY are standing up for.. you’d think it would be obvious why you are so passionate.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Felicity says:

        She’s hit the nail on the head,

        And only spoken the truth found in facts.

        Notice how the OP never responded as to how any death can be humane? Or should we call it out for what it truly is — Murder.

        Murder and humane can not exist together and if you believe they do your delusional.

        She also failed to respond in regard to how she might feel if the roles were reversed, if it was instead her being force impregnated, her having her baby torn from her arms so someone could drink her milk.

        And we all know why there were no responses to these questions, because she doesn’t have one.

        She’s fully aware that what she puts these cows through is cruel.


    • “When a human decides when a cow will become pregnant, that is called ‘impregnating a cow against her will’.”
      I suppose you think humans having pets constitutes animal slavery since it is against the animal’s will…


  9. mike k says:

    Here, here, Nikki! — now that, was a well thought out reply to why humans don’t need to drink another species milk, regardless of how well the animal it treated.

    Julaine, you’ve been brainwashed, I get it, the marketing works. We’ve been learned from our forefathers but that doesn’t make it right.
    Let me ask you, do your cows ever receive ANY nutritional supplements in their feed? And if not, does the milk generated by your cows have any vitamins or nutrients added to the final product?–I’m guessing it does…think about it, here’s your comment:
    -quote from Julaine:
    “I’m fully persuaded that a diet that requires supplementation (either now or in the future if you continue following a diet without animal proteins) cannot be what is best and fitting for humankind. ”

    Tim, by your own accounts, we do NOT need milk, just as when the cow grows up he too does NOT need his mother’s milk because he’s big enough to eat a ‘normal’ diet.
    -quote from Tim:
    “I suppose some of the males were fed until they were weaned and fed a normal diet…”

    Kudos for doing the best dairy farming you know, but truly doing your best would be to farm Food for humans. Milk, albeit advertised as such, is not food for humans.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Mike. Thanks for your comment. I understand that you and I have very different opinions on nutrition and the ethics of animal agriculture, and that’s fine! I’d just like to clarify one point: When I spoke about supplementation, I was referring to Vitamin B12, carnosine and DHA. All of these are found mainly in animal proteins, and my research has shown me that people that avoid animal products must needs supplement these nutrients in order to remain healthy. Yes, our cows do receive nutritional supplements in their feed, just like some humans supplement with various vitamins. The difference is, these supplements can also be found in various foods that a part of a balanced diet, while the nutrients I mentioned are only found in sufficient quantities for optimum human health in animal products.


      • Felicity says:

        That’s odd,

        I’m in groups of 3000 something vegans and I don’t know a single vegan who needs supplements.

        Your grasping at straws sweetheart and your involved in a dying industry, I understand the fact that people are far more knowledgable now and choosing other substitutes might be a threat to your livelihood but that’s where the future is headed.

        People won’t so easily believe lies taught by the meat and dairy industries now, and every day even less do.

        Your lying to even yourself and that’s rather sad.


    • Tim says:

      Right Mike – there are many things we don’t NEED to eat or drink. That list includes every individual item on your personal menu list.

      Unfortunately the out of context comparison you want to infer for a “normal diet” being grasses and such are for a cow. The tooth structure as well as the entire digestive tract of these animals are so very different than our own.

      Plus, as predators, we are designed to live on fats and proteins. That is what makes our digestive system and cellular structure the happiest. We were not designed to eat grain and sugar.

      As intelligent and sentient beings, we know the plethora of good nutrition contained in milk, which is why we drink it beyond weaning.

      Sure, some people are lactose intolerant – but some people have peanut allergies, too. I don’t see activists trying to get peanut products banned.

      I thrive on a diet where the bulk of my calories come from fat and protein, having learned the slogan we were taught as children “if you want less fat on you, put less fat in you” – is dead, flat out wrong.

      Meat, milk, cheese and eggs have an excellent balance of fat and protein – as well as many other nutrients so eloquently pointed out by others. I only drink whole milk and full fat yogurt, sour cream, etc. I do balance out my diet with plenty of vegetables for nutrients and needed fiber.

      I weigh about the same as I did as an athlete at 19-20, and within BMI recommended guidelines (at the top of the scale due to lean muscle), even 30 years later. My musculature is intact even though I haven’t worked out in several years. My waistline is small and I do not have a bloated rounded belly often seen in men of 49. My blood-work numbers are excellent, my skin is good, and I never get sick.

      Milk, dairy products and eggs are a key element to my nutrition and to many people I know who are healthier than the bulk of vegetarian and vegan people I see. I recognize it can be a healthy lifestyle, but complicated if you are going to get the correct human balance of nutrients.

      Milk is simply good nutrition.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Vicky says:

    This was definitely an informative read. Thank you! I think a lot of people confuse Canada with The US, and it’s assuring that we at least treat our animals with respect. It’s no wonder our milk is so expensive, and our beef so darn tasty! It’s worth the expense.


    • Thanks, Vicky! I love hearing from readers. I’d just like to say that I know many American dairy farmers and they too treat their animals with respect. I’m so glad that you’re appreciative of the milk products we provide for Canadians! As for our milk being expensive, I’d like to invite you to read some of my posts explaining supply management, it might be enlightening for you 🙂 Take care!


      • Cat says:

        Awesome to know where Canada’s milk comes from. And the nitpicky person in me wants it to be said that neutrophils are what cause pus, but its semantics, they are somatic cells.
        So great work, love milk. I’ve got northern European genes so I don’t have much of that pesky lactose intolerance going on. Cheers.


      • Hi Cat! Glad to help 🙂 if you want to find out more about a typical Canadian dairy farm, check us out on Facebook! A link to our page can be found on the left-hand side of this blog site.


  11. Just read your articles. thanks for the accurate info. You are so eloquent with your answers. We had a dairy farm, and just recently had to retire it, due to heath issues. Your accounts are right on. Very accurate. It is a hard working life, being a dairy farmer, and I think it is so sad that we are all painted bad with the same brush. As in any occupation, there are good and bad. The bad gets the presss, and attention, while the good just keep on plugging. Good write ups, and very good replies. Keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. mk says:

    How are the procedures when the female bovine animal is impregnated? What about the calf she is giving birth to? Does it go to the veal industry? Do you check for mental health on the cows? How do you make sure that your practices are actually “compassionate” and “respectful” and how do you define these terms? How do you get bull semen? How are they “kept”? In big industrial halls or in outside fenced areas? What do you do when these female bovines don’t “profit” anymore? Are they send to sanctuaries or do they go to the meat industry? If they’re killed do you claim it to be “humane”? Pus aside, what’s your take on hormones, trans fats and the sulphuric proteins which milk contains? In your opinion, is “cow milk” supposed to be consumed by “humans” or by “calfs”?
    I’m looking forward to your answers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, and thank you for your questions. I have answered most of them in various other posts on the blog; check out my previous posts for in depth conversation about the issues you raised.
      I’ll also try to briefly address some of your questions here:
      1. On our farm, our cows are bred by a bull. Other farmers prefer to use artificial insemination to impregnate their cows. They prefer this method so that they can match each individual cow to a bull that will produce a strong and healthy calf. For example, if the cow being bred has great conformation but does not produce a lot of milk, the farmer may choose to breed that cow with semen from a bull that has shown promising milk production in both his family and his progeny. Additionally, a bull on a farm can be dangerous, both to farmers and farm staff, but also to dairy cows. Artificial insemination can be gentler for a cow than being mounted by a 2000lb bull. Regardless of the method used, both have one purpose: impregnating a cow during her fertile period.
      2. Calves: Calves are left with their mothers for a period of time after birth. This amount of time varies, and it depends on how well the mother cares for her calf. The truth is, many dairy cows don’t have much of a mothering instinct. Sad as it may sound, farmers can often do a better job taking care of a calf than a dairy cow can! I’ve seen cows neglect or ignore their calf, and we’ve even had some cows attack their calves! After some time has passed (usually between 24 and 48 hours on our farm) the calf is moved to the nursery where he/she is provided plenty of milk/colostrum from the mother cow; fresh, clean, soft bedding, and lots of love and attention from our family. Because of the high level of trust between us and the mother cow, which is generated by the level of care she has received her entire life on our farm, she does NOT cry for her calf, instead, she’ll usually continue eating or laying down when we move her calf. Sometimes we move the mother cow back to the herd before moving her calf to the nursery; in this scenario, once we open the gate the mother cow eagerly moves off to rejoin her herd-mates with nary a backwards glance at her calf. Neither does the calf cry for her mother, she’s perfectly content in her new surroundings. On our farm, and on all of the farms I’ve visited, separation of cows and calves is done in a calm, quiet, and gentle manner in order to make the transition as relaxed as possible. We’re not in the business of causing unnecessary trauma to the animals on our farms, but rather we do whatever we can to keep our cows happy and comfortable. Our female calves are kept on our farm and are raised to become milk cows. Our male (bull) calves remain on our farm for a few weeks, and then another farmer takes over raising them for beef. The bull calves are raised on a completely balanced diet of forages and grains and then are slaughtered for beef once they reach an appropriate weight, usually near 2 years of age. There are some veal farms in Canada, but the majority of bull calves are raised as beef, not veal. Additionally, many veal farms in Canada no longer use veal crates for raising veal, but have renovated or retrofitted their barns to allow for group housing with plenty of room for the veal calves to roam around. These new standards of care, outlawing veal crates, will be mandatory in a few years. Veal are slaughtered at 4 to 6 months, not as tiny baby calves.
      3. Mental health of cows and kind and respectful care: Our cows are our life. We love spending time with them, caring for them. By spending our days with them, we come to know them intimately, and know what they are feeling: happiness, contentment, or if they are unwell, unhappy, etc. Our lives revolve around the best possible treatment for our cows. We work with veterinarians and university researchers to employ the latest and most advanced technologies to keep our cows in good physical and mental health. Walking through our barns or out on the pasture with the girls would convince anyone that our “girls” are happy and content.
      4. As I stated above, we have a bull on our farm that breeds our cows. He is in a separate pen, but still in our milk cow barn where he can interact with all of our milk cows. Yes, semen is collected from bulls for use in artificial insemination. However, this is not done on a dairy farm, but at specialized facilities that house these bulls for this purpose. And it’s not the sexually charged ordeal that many animal rights activists make it out to be. Sex in animals does not involve emotion, but rather is a biological imperative to reproduce, not an act of love.
      5. When our cows have reached an age when they can no longer safely carry a calf to term, they are sent to slaughter. It’s not something we enjoy, but we realized that these cows do still have an important purpose: the meat from these cows will provide high quality, lean ground beef at a reasonable price for four or five families for one year.
      6. Canadian slaughter houses are inspected to ensure humane treatment of animals. Many have adopted Dr. Temple Grandin’s guidelines of humane animal treatment during the slaughter process. I’d advise you to research her work.
      7. In Canada, dairy farmers are not permitted to use artificial hormones to increase milk production, such as the bovine growth hormone, or rBST. Yes, there are naturally occurring hormones in milk, just as there are naturally occurring hormones in many foods. For example, one serving of cabbage contains 5411 nanograms of estrogen, while one serving of milk contains just 3 nanograms of estrogen.
      8. Trans fats: There are substantial differences between the natural trans fats in fats from ruminants (cows, sheep, goats) and the trans fats in industrially produced vegetable fats and oils. The hydrogenation process is radically different, as are the types and amounts of trans fats created. Unsaturated fats in plants eaten by ruminant animals undergo biohydrogenation via bacteria found in the rumen of the animal.1 This process is natural and catalyzed by bacterial enzymes at normal body temperature and under normal body pressure. In contrast, industrial trans fats are formed when liquid vegetable oil is converted into a solid through the chemical process of hydrogenation. This process is initiated by metal catalysts under enormous pressure at very high temperatures. Did you know that vaccenic acid, the predominant isomer in dairy and beef trans fat, is partially converted by the body into conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a potential inhibitor of breast cancer?
      9. Proteins: Some studies have shown that a high protein intake increases urinary excretion of calcium. The increased calcium excretion was believed to be due to bone resorption. However, recent studies using better methods to assess calcium metabolism, indicate that protein may be beneficial as it enhances calcium absorption. Therefore, the higher urinary calcium in the urine that is seen in some studies with high protein intakes appears to be due to increased intestinal absorption of calcium and not resorption from bone.
      10. Cows milk is for calves, and, as a source of many essential nutrients, is beneficial for humans also! And our calves ARE fed their mother’s milk! A dairy cow can produce much more milk than her calf can drink, and so as farmers, we harvest the excess. I’ve often heard the claim that cow’s milk is designed to grow a calf to a few hundred pounds in its first year of life. And this is true! But while calves will drink in excess of twelve liters of milk a day, humans drink just a tiny fraction of that amount, and so there really is no cause for the claim that milk causes obesity. Millions upon millions of our consumers are nourished by the top quality, wholesome milk that Canadian dairy farms produce. And we’re incredibly proud of that fact. We know that our cows are given the best possible care on our farms, and we make it our lives’ purpose to ensure that their every need is met.

      I hope I’ve answered your questions! Please do take the time to read the other posts on my blog; many of them go into further detail on the issues you’ve raised here. Have a good day!


  13. Jim says:

    In this piece you still did not deny that somatic cells are in the milk humans consume. 200,000 scc per ml? That’s still in the milk? And where do all the calves go if you take the milk?


    • Hi Jim. No, I don’t deny that there are somatic cells in milk. They are a normal component of milk, and also of meat. I did some calculations that illustrate the minuscule amount of somatic cells in milk. One cell weighs one nanogram (1 billionth of a gram.) 200 000 cells weigh 0.0002 g. 1mL weighs 1 g. So 200 000 cells in 1 mL of milk is about 0.02% of that milk. If this bothers you, then perhaps you should avoid including animal products in your diet.

      We leave our calves with their mothers for a period of time after birth, and then gently move the calf to our nursery where she is provided plenty of milk/colostrum from her mother (the calves are fed milk first, then the excess is shipped off to the processor); fresh, clean, soft bedding, and lots of love and attention from our family. Because of the high level of trust between us and the mother cow, which is generated by the level of care she has received her entire life on our farm, she does NOT cry for her calf, instead, she’ll usually continue eating or laying down when we move her calf. Neither does the calf cry for her mother, she’s perfectly content in her new surroundings. We raise our female (heifer) calves as replacement stock for our milking herd. Contrary to animal rights propaganda, calves ARE fed their mothers milk. A dairy cow can produce much more milk than her calf can drink, and so once we have enough milk for our calves, the excess is for our consumers. Our male (bull) calves remain on our farm for a few weeks, and then another farmer takes over raising them for beef. The bull calves are raised on a completely balanced diet of forages and grains and then are slaughtered for beef once they reach an appropriate weight, usually near 2 years of age. Only a small percentage of dairy bull calves are raised as veal, the majority are raised as beef. Additionally, many veal farms in Canada no longer use veal crates for raising veal, but have renovated or retrofitted their barns to allow for group housing with plenty of room for the veal calves to roam around. These new standards of care, outlawing veal crates, will be mandatory in a few years.


      • Jim says:

        So basically you rape female cows take their calves away and then take the milk? The mother is then hooked up to a machine every day? The calf is slaughtered or fattened and slaughtered? The mother cow has only a few years of production in her so once she stops producing do you slaughter her too? It doesn’t sound like a loving and caring environment. How do you know if the new calf is content or the mother? Why do you have to separate them if that is the case?


      • No, cows are NOT raped. To even suggest that is extremely disrespectful of people who have been sexually violated. A cow is bred once a year either by a bull or via artificial insemination, just as would happen in the wild. A cow is bred during her “heat” or her fertile period. A cow in heat wants to be bred – it is her biological imperative to reproduce, and will do her utmost to get access to a bull in order to be bred. On our farm, our cows are bred by a bull. Other farmers prefer to use artificial insemination to impregnate their cows. They prefer this method so that they can match each individual cow to a bull that will produce a strong and healthy calf. For example, if the cow being bred has great conformation but does not produce a lot of milk, the farmer may choose to breed that cow with semen from a bull that has shown promising milk production in both his family and his progeny. Additionally, a bull on a farm can be dangerous, both to farmers and farm staff, but also to dairy cows. Artificial insemination can be gentler for a cow than being mounted by a 2000lb bull. As I stated in a previous comment, dairy cows produce more milk than their calves can drink. The excess is shipped to the processor for human consumption. Cows are milked two or three times a day, a process which takes about 8 minutes each time. During the rest of day, the cow is free to do as she wishes: eat the feed bunk, relax in her stall, go out to pasture (during the growing season), socialize with her herdmates, etc. Our calves are either raised as replacement stock or are sold to a beef farmer. Cows and calves are separated because dairy cows generally do not have very strong mothering instincts. Many cows will ignore or neglect their calves; some cows even try to hurt their calves! The truth is, a farmer can often do a better job caring for a calf than a dairy cow can. We ensure that our calves are fed colostrum and milk and that they are kept clean and dry and safe. Yes, cows are slaughtered once their best milk production years have ended. This is usually after 10-12 years on our farm. However, these cows do still have an important purpose: the meat from these cows will provide high quality, lean ground beef at a reasonable price for four or five families for one year. I realize from the types of questions you are asking that you may find this horrific and cruel – and you are welcome to that opinion. But the fact remains that MILLIONS of Canadian families are provided with meat from dairy cows, and as farmers, our goal is to feed the people of our country with healthy, high quality meat and dairy. During their time on our farm, our cows are treated with utmost respect, compassion and affection. It’s a sad day when the time comes for them to leave our farm – we become very attached to them during the years they spend with our family. Because we spend our days with these animals, we come to know them intimately, and we know what they are feeling. Our cows are content and happy. I invite you to take a look at our Facebook page in the left hand margin – you can see photos and videos of our happy cows!


  14. tallulah says:

    This article is very informative and shows how silly some youtubers (freelee the banana girl) and websites can be with their information. Being vegan is no excuse to tell lies or write biased information about an everyday product.
    It’s good that you are bringing awareness to this important subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. tbst says:

    Wow.. some people here are ridiculous.

    Imagine if you had to replace all the milk with almond milk. It would be a disaster.
    A single almond takes 1.1 gal of fresh water to be grown. And most almonds are grown in California where there is severe drought.

    So I guess it’s a good thing commercial almond milk is only about 2% almonds. The rest is water and synthetic vitamins which do not absorb into your body well. You kind of lose the healthy benefits of almonds when there are almost none in the milk.

    Also.. what happens to cows if farming them ceased to exist? They’d go extinct because they’ve been domesticated since the neolithic era and there are basically no wild cows left.. but I’m sure that will make vegans happy since if they’re all dead then they can’t be sad or depressed.

    I’m actually not a big meat-eater.. not for any social or health reason, I guess I just don’t feel like eating meat very often, so it’s perhaps once every week or two. And when I do, it’s usually fish. But I eat other animal products, like eggs and cheese. Although I’m against some factory farming practices.
    Just look at our teeth though.. the ones above who said we were not designed to live off plants were correct. Otherwise we’d have teeth made for grazing or breaking open hard nuts.
    But hey.. what do I know.. maybe we’re destined to evolve into a pasty and frail species with no teeth at all that get all of our nutrients through some plant based liquid. (Not that I have anything against liquid food.. I’ve sustained on soylent for periods of time.

    Also.. plants have feelings too.. you just can’t hear them scream when they are being dismembered as you slice them to pieces. Studies have shown they react to sound, react to other plants around them, and even people around them. They are affected when clipped. Eventually science will determine that plants too feel pain, and are just as alive as a cow… then what the heck are you vegans going to eat? Perhaps just live off of sunshine and water?

    I’m being kind of silly, but the facts are true, and the reality is humans have been omnivorous since forever. That’s how the food chain works, it’s worked for millennia and I’ll stick with it. I think many vegans/vegetarians (particularly the ones who judge omnivores) subliminally think they are better than everyone/everything else. Us humans are animals too.. we evolved as such, and if you think you know better than mother nature then go ahead and stick with your veg, but leave everyone else who wants to live a natural lifestyle alone. Fight for environmentally sustainable farming, not for it’s elimination.

    I think overall we probably consume too much meat.. if people just reduced it to a reasonable, more natural amount (rather than every meal), the demand would reduce significantly, and we can have such sustainable farms with no need for factory farming conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Bruce says:

    Great article, and intersting dialogue in the comments. Some of the opposing viewpoints have been well written, regardless of agreement. If you don’t agree with eating meat, or drinking milk you are entitled to that way of life; but the responses that were made up of ridiculous remarks or accusations without any backing is embarrassing. If you choose to avoid such things that is fine, but you should help yourself out by educating yourself. To those involved in respectful, well thought out comments, thank you it was a good read. Julaine, your patience is impressive to say the least.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Camila Fernandes says:

    Hello, Julaine! Thank you very much for your explanation. May I ask that if it is still possible, since I live in a country where regulations that controls our milk production are not nearly strict as yours, could the milk here contain pus? That’s my concern right now. I haven’t found a single article in my country or in my language similiar to yours. The ones I found on the subject actually talk about how our regulation laws are awfully loose, and allow the milk to contain a small amounts of this kind of substance. Only a couple years ago we had this case with people being poisoned by sanitary water found in the milk! The brand was a notorious, trustworthy one.


  18. GG says:

    “If you are looking for answers about dairy, please be critical. Why is the source presenting this information? Is there an underlying agenda? Try to find the source of the information, and verify that it is from an unbiased agency.”
    I agree, and this is exactly why readers should be skeptical about information presented to them from anyone affiliated with the dairy industry. Your profit does depend on the public’s perception.


    • Ah, but if you read further, you’ll find this: “While some may say that this article also is a biased source of information, remember that what I have described here is supported by the scientific and veterinarian communities. You’re welcome to double check my facts!” Science itself is unbiased. Skepticism is all well and good, but the facts don’t lie. There is no pus in milk. Period.


      • GG says:

        Fair enough. I do have a sincere question. You explain that somatic cells are living white blood cells. That would mean that the cells themselves are not pus. However, in the presence of dead skin cells and bacteria, could it be considered pus? (I’m asking because, according to search results, pus is actually white blood cells, dead skin cells and bacteria.) Does the truth lie somewhere in the middle?


  19. Sandy says:

    To be fair, a dairy farmer has just as much an agenda for promoting milk as does a vegan blog for discounting it. Still on the fence myself, but my culture (Asian) really does not eat a lot of dairy. I only drank ithe at school. While I do love yogurt and ice cream, a recent article I had to teach as part of our state’s high school curriculum was a debate between whether or not milk was healthy and now has me scouring the Web for any information about it. The pus statement was the one that grossed me and my students out the most. You bring up some interesting facts, and I thank you for taking the time to write this article.


    • Mike K says:

      @Sandy — your opening statement is severely flawed.
      “To be fair, a dairy farmer has just as much an agenda for promoting milk as does a vegan blog for discounting it.”
      No, a dairy farmer is trying to make a living by producing a product no one needs for ‘health’, and a tertiary product of veal (or slightly older 18mo old baby boy cows if Julaine really wants to split hairs).
      Whereas a vegan blogger isn’t trying to make a living off the backs of animal abuse, but rather is attempting to enlighten.
      There are very few who were born vegan, but those who are aware of their surroundings realize milk is Not healthy, and has a direct line to veal — so those vegetarians who think drinking milk is OK because you’re eating the flesh of an animal need to wake up from the daze of the dairy marketing board’s propaganda and start truly eating/drinking healthy and stop killing baby animals by something as silly as eating ice cream.
      @Sandy — here’s a word to look up:

      Mike K


      • GG says:

        Mike is right, actually. I don’t understand what agenda bloggers like this one are trying to imply vegans have for arguing against what they do. There’s no money to be made in promoting veganism. Vegans honestly just happen to be aware of the vast amount of suffering these businesses cause and desperately want it to stop.

        Dairy-free yogurt is amazing, BTW…Ben & Jerry’s relatively new dairy-free ice cream is as well. 🙂


      • Hi GG. I’d just like to take a minute to clarify my point. Vegans take ethical issue with using animals for food. I can respect your views on that. What I won’t stand for, however, are the lies and myths that vegans use to justify or explain their ethical differences with omnivores. The vegan/animal rights agenda IS to see the end of all animal agriculture – there’s no denying this as it is the mission statement of most (maybe all?) vegan and AR groups. Your ethical bias IS your agenda; having an agenda does not mean you need to be out for profit, but that you have strong beliefs that you promote, sometimes by bending, twisting, or misrepresenting the realities of dairy farming. See, I have no issue with your decision to avoid all animal products. But what I do take issue with is the inflammatory language (calling artificial insemination rape for example) and lies (eg rampant abuse and pus in milk for example) that vegans use to promote their way of life. Again, I can respect your decision to avoid animal products. But I won’t stand idly by when my integrity and the integrity of my fellow dairy farmers and our whole lifestyle is attacked by using lies and misrepresentations. Have a good day!


      • GG says:

        I can understand your point there – That the vegan agenda is motivated by an ethical stance. This ethical stance (bias), however, is a product of learning about your industry. I’m not afraid of my beliefs being challenged or specific “myths” being debunked after I’ve concluded them to be true. In fact, I like to remain open-minded and learn. I just personally haven’t encountered any information to sufficiently contradict what I think I know.

        For example, I did learn from this post that somatic cells alone are not actually pus (like they’re often referred to as). However, you never answered my question above. This leads me to believe that, while these cells themselves do not indicate that there’s pus in milk, it is not entirely false to claim that it is present in some amount. (I’m sure milk also contains some bacteria and dead skin cells…no?)

        Hopefully we can both see where each other is coming from. Take care!!


      • I’m sorry for not responding to that earlier comment – it’s a busy time of year on the farm.
        You’re forgetting one important fact about pus: it’s present in the event of infection. As this article states, high somatic cell levels indicate infection. Low and even moderate levels mean that the cow is not fighting any sort of infection. So no, there is no pus in milk that tests under the allowable limits. There may be some bacteria and skin cells in milk, but that of course does not equate pus. Use this as an example: if you have some bacteria on your hand and there are also some dead skin cells on your hand and some neutrophils (a type of white blood cell, just like somatic cells) that have emerged from a small scrape on your finger and these three all mix together…do you have pus on your hand? Of course not! And it would be a similar situation if this were milk, and not your hand.
        I hope that clarifies your concern.


  20. Mike says:

    Even if this article was scientifically proven to be accurate, it doesn’t mean much in the department of whether milk is HEALTHY for you, and seen though various scientific articles (you can easily find online). Where do you plan to go with your theory?


    • Mike says:

      Also (reading though some of your comments, I’ve established another question) how exactly are the animals able to produce so much milk? Could you please maybe link me to this answer if you have already written it, or explain to me the process of dairy farming (for the animals)


    • Dan the man says:

      I am a vegan. Sorry Julia no lies here. Just trying to inform the masses that whatever you think your doing here really isn’t natural in any way. Even the act of domestication is something no other species but humans happen to engage in. If you think your helping the world by feeding this bullshit propaganda you need to rethink your OWN AGENDA. Stop mocking vegans for taking a stand against a food and dairy industry that is centered around the spread of disease. Go ahead refute me. I have better things to do then argue with someone who is delusional.


  21. Mike K says:

    Come on @Julaine…
    You just said it yourself, pus indicates infection, high somatic cell count indicates infection — therefore high somatic cell count == pus.

    Has your farm Ever had a cell count test beyond the ‘recommended maximum’?

    Since you like to give tangible examples, then how about this, sure it’s a stretch, but I’m trying to prove a point:

    If your child had a blood transfusion and there was some, but not a lot, of cells showing HIV infection, not enough to make him infected, but enough to appear on a test… Would you be upset?

    What if it was known that a certain amount is acceptable, but no one told you because it was low enough?
    Really, it’s the same thing, there are people making decisions that affect our well being, our children’s well being. Yet Joe public is never made aware of what they are actually consuming.
    Bottom line, a somatic cell count indicates an infection, someone picked a number that would make industry happy and not be too obvious to consumers.
    Countries in Europe have much stronger regulations, why? Perhaps people are more important than profits.
    It might not be Pus, but it’s pus, how about pre-pus?

    And the guy who said Vegans are destroying the planet by eating massive amounts of vegetables?! BA ha. That guy is clearly out-to-lunch. Let’s do a little math on what cattle are consuming vs humans.

    Mike K


  22. Sorry to be so blunt but you’re asking for it having open discussion and being a dairy farmer 😛 ❤

    If you don't have to keep those animals in captivity and sell their babies to be killed, then why do it? Do you believe what you're doing is necessary?


  23. kathleen says:

    I know you use your Canadian farm as evidence to why everything you do is ethical. But the reality is, in the US and many other countries, nothing is sunshine and rainbows. The animals are TORTURED. I am very happy to hear that you, as well as others on your farm, love the animals. But not everything is like that everywhere.
    And it’s not even dairy cows that we are talking about anymore. Chickens and pigs including many other animals are treated horribly! If a chick is male, it cannot produce eggs, so it is either thrown away, crushed, or ground up ALIVE! And pigs are given a bolt to the head, the thrown in scalding hot water and rolled around so the fur and skin can come off, all whilst unconsious/possibly regaining consiousness. These are just SOME of the terrible things being done at factory farms. THAT’s why vegans exist. We want people to know that this is not right, and mass media promoting this is wrong. Everyone just wants money, and to satisfy their tastebuds. At the end of the day, most people eating what is called the “Standard American Diet”, which consists of large amounts of dairy and meat, could care less about what they are eating and their health. Everyone is just eating big macs and steaks and could care less, but oh when a vegan walks in and tries to explain their point of view, suddenly everyone is so concerned about where this vegan is getting their protein or b12! Like cmon give me a break.
    Farming is also is destroying our planet. About 98% of the amazons deforestation is due to animal agriculture. But it seems no one cares. Everyone just wants to eat a juicy burger.


  24. Toby says:

    If meat and dairy were sustainable for a human pop of over 7 billion than go for it but the fact of the matter is producing livestock and dairy in todays age is killing our earth . Wake up to all the farmers that are still running daddys farm the time is to change. To all organic certified farmers great idea but still it cannot be a sustainable food source for the world as there is no room. While you feed your cattle theres over 1 billion starving people. Wake up !i know its about money and from history we have been taught to eat meat. History also showed us that one man can turn a country in to racists and start a world war. If you do eat alot of meat you are obviously under educated or trying to keep your family fed through running you destructive bussiness and recieving profit for animal abuse and mass murder or “slaughter “sorry. People that produce meat and dairy organically certified cannot produce this for the whole population so why just produce it to feed a low percentage if you cannot raise cattle in a way that fits in with nature and is not sustainable why even bother. why not start sourcing out better healthier more sustainable plant foods that make the world better its a win win. But i know money is the major hurdle here. If peoples diets started switching to less meat and more plant based the meat industry would see a decrease in profit and would winge as they are saying vegans do about meat and animal cruelty. The sad thing is if i want to eat or kill or even punish a human thats commiting these killings in slaughter houses i cant because its against the law Id only be slaughtering a very bad human, kind of like an a long waited justice on behalf of my animal brothers and sisters. I don’t want to look at a land of cow shit and cattle with run off into our natural waterways depleting our oceans and whole ecosystems that all work together to make this world safe. I want nature to thrive be apart of our dissconnected society work together not for mans profit. If it were the movie avatar all the cattle ranchers would be the human army invading to mine the planet and all the vegans would be the be the big blue aliens that want to live in with nature not exploit it to fill your pockets and egos. So say your posts cattle farmers meat eaters. Its playing a part in destroying the earth your children are growing up in and if you bothered to look into it regardless of if you love meat or hate meat it is the number one reason for global warming this information was sourced from a un study testing the emmisons of methane cattle produce from belching and farting. So next time you eat dairy or eat meat just know you are being selfish and unaccepting of a change that needs to happen for us to live on this planet we call earth. And some of you say we need animal fat for our diets than how can you explain healthy life long vegans. To the idiot that says weve been eating meet for 10,000 years so what we should continue? We are alot smarter in todays age well some of us. If you can make these products safe and sustainable in our world than show me.


  25. Adam says:

    Just a few thing I want to say

    1.I feel that animal rights groups say there is pus in milk as a scare tactic.Saying “There are deceased immune cells in milk”Isn’t very convincing.
    2.Even if there was pus in milk,pasteurization would break the cells down into little more than chromosomes and amino acids.


    • Amanda says:

      My understanding is that pasteurization does not have this effect. One of the most prominent voices of the animal rights movement, Gary Yourofsky, has challenged anyone to obtain dairy milk from the supplier of their choice, pasteurized or not, and to take it to any laboratory. He’s said that if there’s no pus in it, he will eat a steak. So, there’s that.


  26. I know you are probably only trying to make a living off a small family farming business, which is fine, as most animals on small farms get treated okay; but you must know that factory farming does not share the same standards.
    There are horror stories and plenty of proof that mistreatment of cows in the dairy industry is rife. There is evidence in factory farmed milk of blood, hormones, pus, antibiotics and fecal matter… albeit in small amounts but it is still there.
    The problem I have with your blog and Facebook page is the fact that you are promoting the mistreatment of cows (either directly or indirectly) by promoting the consumption of milk.
    It would be better to specify that you are promoting organic/ small/ family/ farmed milk instead of just generalizing.
    As I am sure you are well aware, the majority of milk on the market comes from Factory-farmed cows who do not lead a happy life.


  27. Kyle says:

    Hi Julaine! Keep up the truth, honestly, and good work. It’s nice to see someone making a good effort to dispel the lies spread about the dairy industry.

    A bit of advice, though? Don’t feed the trolls. In fact, I’d suggest removing comments like that and putting up a filter of some sort.

    On a somewhat related note, for those people who keep insisting that somatic cells are pus? Congratulations, you now believe your blood is pus. Enjoy your newfound hypochondria.


  28. Timara says:

    Hi All,

    Wow, there have been some really compelling arguments for both sides of the “Milk” argument.
    Exactly what pus is and whether it is or isn’t in the milk we consume.
    Scientific facts and industry propaganda!

    I have a few thought provoking comments for you:

    A Cow produces milk for one purpose only, just the same as any mammal including human beings and that is to feed her young calf, her child.

    Humans are the ONLY mammals that once weened continue to drink milk and it’s not even human milk, it’s cows milk produced to make very small calves into great huge cows.

    So everyone can argue any point they want about the ethical treatment of the cows, the health benefits or risks of drinking milk or the scientific facts about exactly what is or isn’t contained in the milk we consume.

    But at the end of any milk argument is the question, “Why as adult mammals are we even still drinking milk….and not even our own milk…? (and please don’t say we need the calcium, sesame seeds contain more refined usable calcium than cows milk)

    Just throwing it out there, but realistically wouldn’t it make more sense to farm and milk female humans for our milk supplies to consume…Horrible image isn’t it..!!!

    Think before you drink.



  29. bryant shavuo says:

    I dont. Believe the hype. For one i been drinking milk. Since i was young. 1 to 2 gallons. A day. Never been sick sick. Nor had a broken bone. As soon as i stop drinking milk like that. I get. Hurt. Had. Quadriceps. Surgery on both legs. Now. Over weight have high blood pressure and sleep apenea. Now trying to loose 100 pds. And since. Ive started dri king milk again. My body been stronger. More built than. Ever. So to answer. Awayones auestion dont. Believe it. Cause milk has done me a body done good!!!!


  30. bryant shavuo says:

    I dont. Believe the hype. For one i been drinking milk. Since i was young. 1 to 2 gallons. A day. Never been sick sick. Nor had a broken bone. As soon as i stop drinking milk like that. I get. Hurt. Had. Quadriceps. Surgery on both legs. Now im Over weight have high blood pressure and sleep apenea. Now trying to loose 100 pds. And since. Ive started. drinking milk again. My body been stronger. More built than. Ever. So to answer everyones question dont. Believe it. Cause milk has done me a body done good!!!!


  31. Pingback:
  32. Scott Hill says:

    Enjoyed your remarks . More than I can tell you . I saw the ad you have above and it turned my stomach . Had blueberry pie last night and it was all I could do to put ice cream on it . I am trying to cut out meat and was counting on milk / cheese to fill in the blank for protein etc. So nice to see I still can . You need to put ad up in pinterest etc. to let people know . 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Scott! I’ve been debating adding pinterest to my social media repertoire – this was just the push I needed to get that set up. Now enjoy your icrecream! 🙂


  33. dec says:

    So in an article on a website called in udder news you claim pus in milk is a myth and then go on to explain that it isnt… then u justify stripping away calves from their mothers because they apparently dont have mothering instincts (I wonder why) to slaughter them. Then when a cow can no longer provide profit for you, you have this amazing enlightenment that they still have a purpose for meat ! aka more profit.

    If u werent making money, would u still slaughter these animals to produce a prostate and breast cancer causing product still containing pus for humans ? Somehow i doubt it.


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