Milk Myths Debunked – Part 3: Dairy is Scary – or Not?

Over the past few months, a new video about the dairy industry has been floating around the internet. Titled “Dairy is F*ing Scary”, it purports to show that dairy farming is cruel and inhumane. Erin Janus glibly rattles off dozens of myths about and misrepresentations of the dairy industry, while horrific images flash over the screen. I’ve watched the video numerous times, all the while shaking my head at the blatant lies gleefully rattling off this woman’s tongue. At the request of one of my blog readers, I’d like to try to address the claims Ms. Janus makes.

 

  • Cows only lactate when they are pregnant or have given birth, so the dairy industry impregnates or inseminates dairy cows starting at the age of 12 months, over and over and over again so they keep making milk. Ms. Janus is right in that cows produce milk after giving birth, just like all mammals. When a heifer (female bovine that has not yet had her first calf) reaches sexual maturity (begins to ovulate) at around 6 months of age, she is not bred until she can safely carry a calf to term, typically at 15 months (not 12 months as Ms. Janus states). She is bred either by a bull or via artificial insemination. After giving birth nine months later at two years of age, she begins to produce milk to feed her calf. Dairy cattle have been selectively bred to produce greater quantities of milk than their beef-type cousins and often produce more milk than a calf can drink. On most dairy farms, calves are fed their mothers’ milk, and the excess is then shipped to the processor for human consumption. After this, cows are inseminated or bred once a year, but only 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, and only after a few months have passed after she has given birth. 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, typically at the advice of a veterinarian. A cow is milked until up to about two months before she is due to give birth again, then she goes on a sort of ‘maternity leave’, a time in which she is not milked, but spends her time eating, sleeping, and relaxing.

10344332_318611078301919_7032018573064278826_o

  • Artificial Insemination: On some farms 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. So what does artificial insemination involve? Yes, semen is collected from bulls. 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 Ms. Janus makes it out to be. Sex in animals does not involve emotion, but rather is a biological imperative to reproduce, not an act of love. The harvested semen then needs to be introduced to the cow’s reproductive tract. This is done via a small tube called a straw which is inserted into the cow’s vagina. Yes, a hand is also inserted into the cow’s anus, gently, and for the purpose of directing the semen straw to the cervix without damaging the cow’s reproductive tract. Again, this is NOT an act of bestiality, but rather of assisting a very natural process in a safe and gentle way.
  • Calves are stolen from their mothers so that humans can drink the milk meant for the calf, and the mother cries for days in search of her baby. 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 many farms I’ve visited, calves are fed their mother’s first milk via bottle and then milk from the herd by pail or nipple bucket as they grow older. As I have stated above, a dairy cow can produce much more milk than her calf can drink. Farmers take absolute care to make sure that the calves drink enough colostrum in the first hours after they are born. This can be difficult to judge if a calf is nursing, which is why most farm will supplement with extra bottle-fed colostrum even if the calf is nursing from the mother. This colostrum is fed within a few hours after birth to make sure the calf gets enough of this high calorie wonder food that is full of essential antibodies – the ability to absorb colostrum declines after a few hours. (Colostrum is never shipped to the processor, if a cow has too much for her calf, it is frozen to feed to other calves whose mothers may not have sufficient amounts for their own calf.) After the first few days, calves are given whole milk from the herd as opposed to colostrum. Most farms wean the calves from milk around 2-3 months of age, onto a diet of hay, grains and other forages as their digestive systems mature. But what about the horrific clips shown of cows chasing after their calves that are being dragged away by a cruel farmer or cows bellowing loudly? Unfortunately, just like in all walks of life, the dairy industry does have some bad apples. These clips are awful examples of bad cow management practices. However, this does not mean that things like this happen on all farms. Abuse does happen; it is not the norm, but the very rare exception. 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. Cows will bellow for many reasons, including for food, in unfamiliar situations, and when they are in heat (their fertile period). Without showing the context of why these cows are vocalizing in these video clips, Ms. Janus lets the viewer assume that these cows are crying for their babies, while this very probably is not the case!
IMG_7545

Calves in our nursery. Comfortable, clean, lots of food and water. They’re perfectly content!

  • Dairy cows are continuously kept pregnant their whole lives to keep them lactating. This leads to premature aging, exhaustion, and mastitis. See point #1 regarding cows being ‘kept pregnant’. As I stated there, it is natural for a cow to give birth once and year, and this would happen without a farmer’s intervention if a cow had access to a bull. Giving birth yearly does not lead to premature aging, exhaustion, or mastitis. Just like humans, cows also can get mastitis, which is an infection of the udder. It is not caused by giving birth every year, but is caused by bacteria entering the udder. It can be avoided by ensuring that barns and milking equipment are clean and sterile. This infection is treated with antibiotics. While a cow is being treated with antibiotics and until the drug-specific milk withdrawal time has passed, her milk is discarded. For an in-depth look at what the milking process involves, see this previous post, here.

12487115_572865136209844_6857656860819277185_o

to milk a cow 213

Bright and airy barns, and sparkling clean milking equipment help minimize the chance of our cows getting udder infections.

  • Bull (male) male calves are all killed as veal. Ms. Janus states that all bull (male) calves have their throats slit and are sold as veal, implying that this happens right after birth. 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.
12265860_552726031557088_5050329867121907042_o

This 2 week old bull calf is treated just like his female counterparts – plenty of food, water, clean bedding. He’s treated with respect and compassion.

  • Pus and blood in milk. I’ve written an entire blog post on this myth. Find it here. A short summary: There is NO pus or blood in milk. Canadian farmers like myself, as well as all farmers around the world, must comply with very strict standards regarding the components and purity of milk. Milk that does not meet these standards is not shipped to the processor and the farmer must correct his procedures in order to resume shipping milk. The myth of pus in milk arises from the equating of somatic cells with pus. Ms. Janus says it’s the “same stuff that erupts from the top of a big zit”. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Pus is made up of dead white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Somatic cells are living white blood cells located in the udder of cows. Like all white blood cells, they fight infection. An elevated somatic cell count indicates that the cow is fighting some sort of infection. Milk is tested both on farm and at the processing plant; 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 cow with a somatic cell count of 200 000 cells per milliliter is considered to be in optimum health, she is not fighting any sort of infection. 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.
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. No swelling, hard quarters or redness to indicate mastitis. In the “after” photo, the teats have been coated with an iodine based substance to minimize the chances of bacteria entering the teat canal.

  • “Downers”. Sometimes cows become sick. When they do, farmers use every tool they have to help their cow regain her health, often with the help of a veterinarian. Occasionally, a cow will be too ill to stand. These cows are sometimes called “downers”. A downed cow is not killed and sold for beef…EVER. The Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Dairy Cattle contains strict regulations on how to handle downed cows. They are NOT treated in the abusive way that is shown in the undercover videos. This type of treatment would result in criminal prosecution. Downed cows are moved in the gentlest way possible to a comfortable hospital pen. In Canada, only a cow that can walk onto a transport truck can be shipped to slaughter. It is illegal to ship a downed cow, and so these cows are either nursed back to health or humanely euthanized on farm. Cows don’t “go down” after four or five years of milk production. Neither does their milk production decline at 4-5 years of age. On the contrary, their milk production is usually still increasing at that stage of their lives! On our farm, and on many farms that I have visited, cows will often stay on the farm for much longer, sometimes well into their teens. But at the end of those 8-10 (average on our farm) years, they don’t all “go down”. Instead, they are shipped to slaughter as healthy animals in order to supply our Canadian consumers with beef.
IMG_5206

Happy cows on pasture. Most of the cows pictured here are more than 8 years old.

  • Milk and Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis Canada, Canada’s national osteoporosis research and education organization, recommends “3 servings of milk and alternatives (2 servings for adults under age 50) – yogurt, cheese, calcium-fortified beverages, puddings, custards, etc. This essentially means that, if you are over 50, you need the equivalent of one good serving of dairy at each meal” to help prevent osteoporosis. I’d think that an organization like this would be more informed about reducing the risks of osteoporosis than an internet quack, no? And I think Health Canada along with the actual doctors and nutritionists that recommend the Canadian Food Guide know more about a healthy diet than an activist. (Of course, there certainly are other sources of dietary calcium, it’s definitely not only found in milk, and it’s definitely possible to get enough calcium from a diet that does not include dairy products.)
  • Abuse on dairy farms. Abuse to dairy cows, and to any animal, is never, ever ok. The clips Ms Janus shares deeply saddened me; I can’t understand how anyone could treat an animal in the manner shown in this video. Along with our fellow Canadian dairy farmers, we are committed to continuously improving animal welfare. We strive to do this through funding animal care research, attending educational sessions, investing in technology to improve the life of the animals, as well as with supporting the proAction Initiative for a sustainable future. Animal health and welfare is a top priority for Canadian farmers who work with veterinarians and nutritionists to provide the best conditions for cows. Unfortunately, as can be seen in this awful video, some individuals treat animals poorly and inhumanely. This is reprehensible, disgusting, and devastating to us as dairy farmers, and to the whole industry. Dairy Farmers of Canada and all provincial dairy farmer organizations are working to continually advocate for enforcements against abuse and Canadian dairy farmers are very transparent about how they care for their animals, which can be seen by our efforts to show the public our farms and informing them in other ways about common dairy practices. All farmers are expected to adhere to the Code of Practice and treat their animals with respect and compassion. Our industry promotes on-farm training and materials for farmers to educate their employees on the importance of providing proper care for animals treating them with dignity and respect. The Animal Care Code of Practice clearly emphasizes the importance of good animal care and reporting any incidence of animal abuse immediately. Abuse is definitely not the norm, there is no motive or reason for a farmer to abuse his/her cows: even if a farmer cared nothing for the cows under their care, every farmer knows that happy, comfortable, healthy, well cared for cows produce the best quality milk, and no farmer wants to jeopardize their income or bottom line. But beyond this, as farmers we treat our cows well because it simply is the right thing to do. Period.
IMG_2820

We love our cows and their calves!

************************

For real information about how cows are treated on family farms like ours, I’d like to invite you to take a peek at our Facebook page.

You can find it in the left hand margin of this blog.

********************

 

I have nothing against those who choose not to include dairy products in their diet. However, I hope that your choice was not based on biased propaganda similar to what is shown in this video. Additionally, I will not stand idly by when my integrity and the integrity of my fellow dairy farmers is attacked. Portraying dairy farmers as abusive and sexually sadistic not only is patently false, but it verges on slander. I’m trying to do my part to slow the spreading of lies about the way cows are treated on dairy farms and the misrepresentation of common dairy practices. I’m not a corporate spokesman or a crazed activist. I’m just a hard-working farmer, and I’m not getting paid a dime to write any of this. I wanted to write this article for the sole purpose of promoting the truth and correcting the false information that I’ve seen all over my social media feeds. I hope that after reading this (rather lengthy – sorry!) article, you’ll now feel assured that dairy farmers go about their daily work with one purpose: caring for their animals with respect and compassion while providing a safe and nutritious product for consumers.

37 thoughts on “Milk Myths Debunked – Part 3: Dairy is Scary – or Not?

  1. Excellent article and response to an irresponsible showbinist writer.
    In fact, people that are not capable nor have any knowledge of farming, are usually the ones that come with such panicing arguments and lies.
    They must be using the wrong knowledge to atack the megacorporatons that do, like in chickens and swine, some industrial practices.
    But, by attacking the farmers, the only left family based society in the world, they are eliminating the basis of society.
    Shame on those.
    I am proud of you.
    Thanks,
    Alejandro Guzman Stein
    Former MInister of Agriculture, Costa Rica

    Liked by 1 person

    • janice says:

      We are not attacking farmers. We are attacking the absurdity of farming animals. No one in first world countries with bounties of everything or REAL food, needs to consume an enslaved, tormented murdered being. Thats it. Not complicated, NO need to eat..to need to kill….do you get it ??? at all?? can you see life beyond a steak?? no ?? Then you have no life already sorry to tell you.

      Like

  2. Marianne says:

    Excellent rebuttle! I would like to add a line about the veal. I too am a dairy farmer and we raise our bull calves. They don’t leave our farm until they are about 6-7 months old at which time they are around 600-700 pounds and have not been castrated. Holstein Bulls can be very dangerous animals. You want to be on guard at all times and always have an escape route. Yes, they are called “veal” or “baby beef” but this is due to their diet of mostly milk and supplemented with grain and a bit of hay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janice says:

      They are called veal and babies because they are babies idiot. Size does not determine age dumbass. 6mos is a fucking baby. You have a CHOICE…hurt, use , torture an innocent life, or fucking NOT. Your choose to hurt, torture, kill. You are a slave to “tradition” you don’t even have any real thoughts of your own. Sorry, and hope one day you figure things out. Too bad so many lives have to suffer for your ignorance in the meanwhile.

      Like

    • Susan says:

      I think there is a lot of propaganda in this as well! Cows to cry for their babies i have witnessed this and in fact do make good mothers (except on your farm apparantly) and sorry to break this to you but dairy is not at all good for avoiding osteoporosis and cancer. A good read is The China Study a fantastic study that is ongoing. I was told years ago i was a prime candidate for osteoporosis i gave up dairy .. i am the healthiest i have ever been in my life 15 years later.

      Like

  3. Abby says:

    You’re only speaking to your experience, not the entire industry as a whole. Thus, you’re not debunking everything she presented; you’re just providing your personal experience to describe what you’ve seen from your personal experience. That aside, how do you counter the argument that’s it’s natural to consume milk from another animal that is produced for its offspring only? Especially when those nutrients can be taken from other sources.

    Like

    • I have visited many, many farms, both in my surrounding area and across Canada. Additionally, I interact with hundreds of my fellow dairy farmers on social media. I KNOW that the care we give to our cows is mirrored on these farms also. There are many mammals that enjoy milk from another species: cats for example. But that’s not the point. Using the “natural” argument could lead to statements like this too: “It’s not natural to eat peas. They’re meant to be the start of new pea plants, not food for selfish humans.” Can you see the absurdity? Yes, there are other sources that provide the same nutrients that milk does… but that doesn’t mean that milk, with 16 essential nutrients ( and these nutrients are condensed in milk, meaning that one does not need to consume an absurd amount of broccoli, for example, to gain your daily calcium needs) is not an excellent source of these nutrients. Milk is a nutritional powerhouse.

      Like

  4. I still don’t believe that it’s the norm that dairy cows are treated fairly . Nor is it necessary in the least to consume the milk of the cows, so the suffering of cows is not necessary. Much like slavery, women’s rights and other issues of oppression in the past, there will always be arguments against ‘quacks’ who want a fairer world for all.

    People are generally pretty dumb and go along with the crowd so any way to avoid forward thinking and different ways of living will be appreciated by them. Videos like dairy is scary make them uncomfortable, so they look for articles like yours to keep with the status quo and keep enjoying cheese.

    The evidence you wrote about is only your experience. It is entirely biased as you make a living off of dairy farming. The dairy is scary girl has no ulterior motive.

    Like

    • I have visited many, many farms, both in my surrounding area and across Canada. Additionally, I interact with hundreds of my fellow dairy farmers on social media. I KNOW that the care we give to our cows is mirrored on these farms also. The “dairy is scary girl” does have an ulterior motive: she believes that dairy farming is unethical, and so she tries to make a case that dairy farming is cruel and inhumane by presenting false and misleading propaganda. I think it’s pretty obvious that a dairy farmer would be a better source of information about what really happens on dairy farms than someone who likely has never set foot on a farm!

      Like

      • janice says:

        Right. Like we should take the word of someone who’s whole way of thinking is fucked up. You don’t even understand the word ethical…so not much you can say or do to defend things. Farming being unethical is not a belief silly….its a FACT . There is no ulterior “motive” other than to wake people up to what the hell they’ve been doing all their lives…drinking breast milk from a bovine is good for you…what the fuck? Its the stupidest thing ever but nobody thinks about it . Why? because the lovely dairy industry makes damn sure you don’t think about it. And tries so very fucking hard and spends soooooo much money convincing the masses that NEED it? for health ! lol for calcium !! lol for fucks sake!! Something very wrong when humans get disgusted thinking of drinking human breast milk but not a bovine…hey thats all good and ‘NORMAL!!!???” REally…please please please…respond to that fact.

        Like

  5. Alyssa Willcome says:

    THANK YOU the stupid myths about milk is from killed cows is just absurd. I want all cow activists to read this and realize that they sabotaged the dairy industry. I scrape my cows’, calves’, and heifers’ stalls 3 times a day. Thanks again for the post. If only this would go all over social media like other things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janice says:

      We don’t really care how clean your slaves are. I could care less is you snuggled them in your bed at night before betraying their trust. Why do you think it makes you sound nicer . The act of taking their lives for NO good reason is caveman behaviour . Just because you grew up with lies of “food animals” . Step back and think for yourself. Killing someone because you think he’s tasty is sadistic . You don’t see that way because you’ve been indoctrinated , mind controlled thru out your life. Like it or not. This is the truth. A truth I hope someday you’ll discover for yourself. If no one believed it was ok and “natural” to kill and animals without necessity ..if you were the ONLY one in your community who still ate animals….you would stop and think and no longer feel justified. This is precisely the only reason you still feel justified…because you’re following the herd.. Its a sad way to go through life. Break free, for once use the word “love and care” like you mean it. Because nobody loves and cares..then kills for fun.

      Like

  6. Conny Brieden says:

    I grew up on the country and I think it’s great that your cows and calves seem to live a happy life. Unfortunately this is not the norm. Most of the calves life in their own filth, only have a clean bedding when there is an inspection. The farmer is always well informed, on what day this inspection is….

    Like

    • Hi Connie. I have visited many, many farms. All the cows and calves are just as happy and clean as on our farm. They are kept in clean and comfortable barns. It doesn’t make sense to have our cows in dirty conditions: pens and barns that are not cleaned will be full of diseases and pathogens. Farmers want their cows and calves to stay healthy, so they spend a huge part of their time cleaning pens and barns by removing manure and adding new bedding.

      Like

      • janice says:

        Hi Julaine. It matters not one bit how clean you keep your slaves. The only question that you should be contemplating is why you think you have the right to do what you do, and when there is a choice to not use others against there will and well being…why the hell do you still choose to do this ? Tasty ? really? too lazy to learn something better ? Come on. If you wouldn’t want your child to be used this way…then fucking stop. Its no different . You’re a grown up. Just because someone (animals like cows and pigs and chickens) don’t look the same as you…doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to live , or that they don’t think or feel . Get out of the cave.

        Like

  7. Amanda says:

    First of all, this article is not representative of the majority of dairy farming in Canada. Most dairy farming, just like all other farming, is mass production which puts money over animal/environmental welfare.
    I am a vegan, and I don’t expect you to have a sudden shift in your way of thinking, but I always think it’s helpful to represent several different opinions and facts. You are biased and I am biased. All people will portray things in a way that fits their agenda. You’re likely more biased than me, as you’ve likely been involved in dairy farming longer (than I have been vegan) and have been fully indoctrinated into the lifestyle.
    In order to understand the entirety of the situation, you really need to step back. The woman your criticizing in this article was clearly discussing the happenings on large scale farms, where it’s all about profit and it’s easy for regulations and rules to be ignored. I also don’t believe that all small farmers treat their animals wonderfully and it’s all rainbows and sunshine. Most of the farmers I know don’t regard the animals as beings but rather commodities. Just to let you know, I live in rural southern Ontario where there are many farms. So don’t pull the “someone who likely has never set foot on a farm!” thing on me.
    I’m going to split my response into three sections: ethics, environment and health.

    ETHICS
    A statement in your article reminded me of a discussion I had with a person a few days ago, about how calves are typically better off being away from their mothers and receive better nutrition. I countered that the same could be said about the infants of humans. How can we justify taking a child away from it’s mother by claiming we always know what’s best? I don’t believe that there isn’t any trauma and upset when the calf is separated from its mother; cows are very social animals who create strong bonds with one another. Especially mothers and their young. Also, almost every single mother in the animal kingdom will protect and care for her infant/s adamantly, as she wants to ensure the survival and well-being of her infant/s. I have seen examples of this, and have heard anecdotes of newer farmers who witnessed the distress the cows endured when separated from their children. Old hats at the whole farming thing are desensitized, as it’s always been “just the way things are”.
    Also, you can’t pretend you do what you do for the animals. You do it for money. If there was no profit to be made, you would not be doing this. It’s in your interest to support your lifestyle (therefore the bias). I don’t have much to gain personally from supporting a vegan lifestyle, unless you count being ridiculed and put down as a gain. For me it’s a lot more about the animals and the Earth as a whole.
    Calves would naturally drink milk from their mothers for about nine months to a year, but you mention weaning them onto a diet purely of solid food about 2-3 months in. Also, if there would be so much milk that the baby wouldn’t drink, why not just leave them together anyway? If there is no concern that the calf would take most of its mother’s milk, what’s the need for separation? Is it because of cleanliness and bacteria? Because it again all comes back to money?
    You can’t claim to love your animals and then exploit and profit off of them.
    I know you say that you and many other farmers treat their cows so wonderfully and so humanely… yeah, I bet there were slave owners who treated their slaves with kindness, but still in this day and age slavery is seen as immoral, right? Humans have a strong sense of morality, but a lot of people contradict their moral ideals through their actions.

    ENVIRONMENT
    You may be thinking that your form of farming is really good for the environment. It’s not. It can actually be a lot more detrimental to the environment than large scale farming. If you want to see a world where animal abuse in farming is eradicated and all farms become “free range”, “grass-fed” and “organic”, then you’ll be targeting a new victim- Earth. Our home who has given us so much, and we give so little to. There are 7 billion people on this planet. At the moment 99% of all animals are humans and the animals we raise for meat, dairy, eggs… 10,000 years ago the biomass was made up of 1% humans, and 99% other wild animals. We have officially entered the 6th mass extinction, 99% of which is driven by human activity, with 100-300 species going extinct every single day. The natural background rate of extinction is usually about 1-5 species every year. Animal agriculture is a significant contributor to a lot of these issues (like habitat destruction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, etc). The contribution of animal agriculture to greenhouse gas emissions is debated among scientists, some saying it counting for 14.5%, others 18%, and some scientists predict that the number is even higher, going above 50%. All forms of transportation combined account for 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions. So this sounds pretty bad, right? Well, if all people on Earth were to maintain their consumption of animal products and all farming was to shift from intensive to traditional, what would happen? First of all, A LOT of land would be needed. Just to keep up with the U.S populations’ consumption of animal products alone, all of North America and a large chunk of South America would be needed to allow cattle to have appropriate space. People would either have to significantly reduce their intake of animal products (and I mean SIGNIFICANTLY) to make grass-fed sustainable. Cattle that are grass-fed would produce 50-60% more greenhouse gas emission than the cattle that are fed wholly grain-based diets, and use up a lot more water. There is simply not enough space or resources for this kind of farming.
    So in the case between ethics vs. environment, you have to decide what is more important: the welfare of domestic animals in exchange for the degradation and eventual destruction of our environment, or the mistreatment of animals in exchange for our current environment which is still in very bad shape, but not as bad as it would be in the case of all free range animal agriculture.
    I have found a happy medium between these two extremes. I’m not saying that being vegan immediately makes me a moral exemplar, or a champion of the environment. Being a part of human life and society means the destruction of others lives and societies. I just want to try and reduce my impact as much as possible.

    HEALTH
    I’m not going to say much here, just going to comment on the one point about health in your article that really irked me. Dairy products are not inherently good for people. The calcium in dairy is not easily absorbed by humans, and the consumption of dairy can lead to a host of issues: osteoporosis (ironic, isn’t it?), diabetes (especially in children), prostrate and breast cancer, obesity… the list goes on and on. As some anecdotal evidence, when I was consuming dairy I had a lot of acne, my period pains were absolutely torturous, I was nearly obese, I was lethargic, and I would have bowel movements about every three days. Since quitting dairy, all of these issues have either disappeared or improved considerably. To quit consuming dairy has been one of the best choices for my health I have ever made.

    I’m not saying you’re an bad person, after all a majority of what we do and believe in is social conditioning and habit. I’m just saying it’s necessary to take a step back and look at the whole issue.
    In my opinion, ethics are subjective* to each individual, and if there would ever be a time that a lot of people on earth would have to turn to a plant-based diet, it would be because of the utter destruction of our Earth and health.

    I hope you have learned some new things, and I hope you begin to do some research of your own. There is a lot of jargon and bias out there, but usually people go against the grain at risk to themselves. I’m more inclined to believe an activist or a scientist than a government run organization that is subsidized by the food industry.

    *Just because ethics is subjective doesn’t necessarily mean what you believe in is right or wrong. A lot of issues are more in the grey than strictly black and white. Animal agriculture is definitely a grey issue, as you’ll find that depending on where you live you might eat some animals and have others as pets/revere some.

    Also, one final comment on a comment you made to someone else that I found pretty comical! There has been no evidence of other mammals who would actively seek out drinking another mammals milk (that is designed for their infants!). People ignorantly feed their cats milk thinking it’s cute and good for them, but it’s not. Feeding cats milk can actually hurt them. Cats are strict carnivores, and the day you see one sucking the teat of a cow, or drinking the milk of one their preferred prey animals instead of eating the animal instead, make sure you let me know!

    Hope you make it through this whole thing. I’m not 100% right, you’re not 100% right, we just have differing views and facts to back up our beliefs. However, some of these facts are clearly more indicative of a much larger issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Charles Earl says:

      http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/trends-fads/is-milk-bad-for-your-bones

      Milk causes Osteoporosis? False.

      “Studies demonstrate that the acid residue of the diet does not affect the overall calcium status of the body. It appears that your body compensates for these calcium losses by increasing the amount of calcium it extracts from your food. In any case, although acid-forming foods may increase calcium in your urine, this calcium is not coming from your bones. The whole calcium balance thing is being handled in the digestive system and kidneys. ”

      “Now that we’ve got all that settled, there’s one more thing: Turns out that dairy is not an acid-forming food after all.

      That’s right: milk produces an alkaline residue when digested. So even if there were evidence to uphold this theory about acid-forming foods stealing calcium from the bones, it would not appear to apply to dairy products anyway. “

      Like

      • janice says:

        NO one cares about your silly “arguments and rebuttles” Once you’re awake…you’re awake. Its nothing you will ever understand..until you awaken. Sorry for your sad life of defending the torture of animals because you can’t figure out what else to make for dinner. I know,,,its so hard and time consuming and hard and …..blah blah blah. Vegans have lived long and healthy lives for life ever. Thats the onlydiscovery and evidence I needed to chose otherwise. Even though I was a hard core cheese lover. I was done with that non sense 24hrs post informed. There is nothing anyone can ever say that will make sense regarding farming animals. EVER.

        Like

  8. A difference of a few months isn’t debunking anything, the process is the same. Do you think it’s ethical to rig someone’s body via selective breeding to repurpose their very personal reproductive functions and entire existence for another species’ unnecessary pleasure? Would you want it done to you? I certainly wouldn’t want to be a prisoner in my own body that was bred to produce lots of milk, that would be very restrictive and uncomfortable. I wouldn’t want a baby forced into me by another species. Would you? Oh, a “maternity leave,” how nice of you! She gets a two-month break from constant mechanical milking for the pleasure of another species. Very generous.

    “Additionally, a bull on a farm can be dangerous, both to farmers and farm staff, but also to dairy cows.” Then why the hell have you attempted to confine and manipulate dangerous animals, or the females that mate with those dangerous animals? Right, because you want to exploit and profit from them. Your “one purpose” of “impregnating a cow during her fertile period” is so she will lactate so you can profit from her reproductive cycle and stolen motherhood. Trying to justify sticking your hand in the anus of a female of another species so you can profit from removing the baby you are forcing into her so you can take and sell the milk she is producing for her that baby is very sad.

    “Many dairy cows don’t have much of a mothering instinct.” Really? So you’re telling me that an animal raised as motherless child who went on to be a childless mother and who has been selectively bred for certain traits to the detriment of others, and is domesticated and confined into an unnatural existence, might be a bad mother? How shocking. I wonder what other animals of all the animal species on earth might also be bad mothers, so we can go around swiftly removing their babies from them hours after birth for their own good, NOT because we want to take their milk and sell it or anything like that! Funny, even beef cows don’t need their babies removed from them. Only dairy cows. Such a strange coincidence that the only bad mothers are those that farmers want to exploit for the substance that would be unavailable if they allowed them to nurse their babies.

    If you were doing “whatever we can to keep our cows happy and comfortable,” you would not breed them, you would not take away their babies, you would not take their milk for another species. Again, you are doing whatever you can to take the cows’ milk and sell it. You are making sure they don’t die before you have them killed. Why can’t you just admit this?

    The dairy industry cares about calves to the extent that they need to get them to a profitably exploitative end in one piece. Science Daily published a report authored by University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Early separation of cow and calf has long-term effects on social behavior. “Growing up without a mother has consequences. Scientists at the Vetmeduni Vienna studied the long-term effects of early maternal deprivation. Their study shows that calves which have contact to their mothers or to other cows during rearing become more sociable adults. The results of the study were published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

    It is natural for a cow to give birth once and year? You are really talking about what’s “natural” to justify a human being to stick their hand in her anus? And giving birth yearly does not lead to premature aging, exhaustion, or mastitis? You know what does? Being constantly impregnated in order to produce excessive amounts of milk, which you pointed out is beyond her control because she has been selectively bred into a body to do so, and being mechanically milked at all times excepting 2 months out of her constant pregnancies. Again, none of this would be happening if you weren’t exploiting her for her milk. LSU AG Center says “One-third of all dairy cows are estimated to have mastitis.” Do 1/3 of any other nursing animals including humans have mastitis? No? What do you think the odds are that if another species was exploiting them to constantly produce milk, they would too?

    They are slaughtered for beef once they reach “an appropriate weight,” usually near 2 years of age? It is “appropriate” to slaughter a young healthy individual at age 2 into their 20+ year lifespan? Or worse, 4-6 MONTHS? As long as they have “a completely balanced diet of forages and grains” before you end their existence, sounds like a great deal for them. Or “shipping them off to slaughter” on average age of 8-10, a mom? Sounds like a great “thank you” for a mom who “gave” the milk you took from her that she produced for the babies you forced into her and took as well over and over for 8-10 years. Sounds like you are truly “caring for their animals with respect and compassion.” I think I will try it with my dog, because I love and respect her. I will breed her and take her babies and milk for 8 to 10 years and then kill her.

    I’ll stop there but could go on. You have been desensitized so deeply that you are talking literal nonsense to try to justify the unjustifiable. You need to be deprogrammed. I am friends with former goat dairy farmers who went vegan when they somehow woke the hell up one day. They now run a vegan farm sanctuary. Anyone can change. I hope you look within and stop with this nonsense. You have done absolutely nothing to debunk Erin Janus’ video, you have only further cemented the inherent obscenity of exploiting mothers of another species for their lactation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • janice says:

      You are a sad person who is still asleep while living. You still have absolutely no understanding of your indoctrination via media, school and so on. Hopefully, one day soon, you will figure that life is more than you and your silly feelings of ” We are human therefor anything goes justified”. There is NOTHING that can be said or done to think that USING others for your pleasure is ok. Get well soon.

      Like

  9. surchatm says:

    I would research more into the “Milk and Osteoporosis” part. It is not an argument to say that “professional” doctors advise milk to fight Osteoporosis. We have known in history that doctors can (un)consciously ignore some facts because of lobby or God knows what. Using doctors as a proof of something being true is simply using the “expertise” influence lever (Influence and persuasion, Cialdini) on your reader. All this to say that I have found quite serious pages saying that cow Milk isn’t making your bone stronger but quite the opposite. Don’t take my word for it I haven’t read enough. Go out and do your research.

    Like

  10. Janice's mother says:

    Janice, you are very narrow minded and only look at things from your own perspective. Your way of argumentation is offensive and similar to the way a cult recruits and brainwashes new members. I believe and intervention is in place.

    Like

  11. Steve says:

    In denial? Of course you are. Just because a diary industry exists does not mean it is right for its continuance.

    One step back to observe its practices and how it operates it becomes instantly clear it is nothing more than a totally unnecessary, barbaric industry.

    Stop, just stop it.

    Like

      • Janice McFadden says:

        oops….NOT. just noticed who said what. And you wouldn’t know an intelligent argument if it hit you the face..which it probably has many times over. Steve said it all.

        Like

  12. Caroline says:

    As a vegetarian of 45 years standing, I am amazed that Janice’s vegan diet has done nothing to assuage her anger and aggression. A passionate belief is better communicated in a more measured way.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Selma says:

    You exploit animals for a living. Therefore your article has no credibility. The vegan lady has no ulterior motive for trying to help the plight of dairy cows, there is no financial gain for vegans to be vegan. Please stop perpetuating lies about humane farming. The two words are not synonymous.

    Like

  14. Jaimie says:

    You know that Osteoporosis Canada’s official sponsor is Dairy Farmers of Canada right?…. They aren’t going to recommend something thats goes again the industry which funds them…. that’s the whole problem that people don’t seem to understand. The dairy industry is on complete control and people just listen to what the industry is telling them because it’s filtered through a charity organization that THEY are funding.

    Like

Let us know what you think! Leave a reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s