Remember when Subway announced they were going to start sourcing antibiotic free meat? I was scrolling through my old blog posts the other day and came across a piece I had written then. I had been feeling so discouraged at the animosity that move brought out – between farmers!
Unfortunately, this feeling of competition and rivalry has not abated. In fact, the new trade agreement has seemed to acerbate the divide between farmers – especially between American and Canadian dairy farmers. This is why:
Canadian farmers and consumers’ claims of American cows pumped full of hormones and antibiotics are not accurate. Yes, some American farmers use artificial growth hormones on their dairy cattle to stimulate milk production. However, only a small percentage do — and these accusations that American milk is full of hormones are rather baseless. Additionally, American farms face the same penalties we do should antibiotic residues be found in their milk. We’ve interacted with so many American farmers over the years, farmers who farm because they love their cows, their land, their way of life. Family farmers just like us. We are more alike than we are different; this love for dairy farming should be what pulls us together, not what drives us apart. Yes, a share of our Canadian market has once again been given up to foreign imports by this trade agreement. This trade agreement will do
very little to ease the woes for our neighbours to the south but it WILL have a very real, very negative effect on our Canadian dairy industry. It scares us too! Still, I’ve seen just a few too many posts claiming that American milk is garbage. It’s just not fair to our neighbours to the south who work so hard for so little. I hope we can share our concerns about the impact of this trade deal without resorting to fear mongering about the milk produced by farmers just like us.
Instead, why don’t we encourage Canadian consumers to continue to buy Canadian by sharing the benefits of buying local milk? It benefits our Canadian economy, first of all. It’s produced by Canadians, for Canadians. That’s awesome! Additionally, we are so proud of our national quality, safety, traceability, and animal welfare standard – the ProAction Initiative. This program is extremely comprehensive and ensures that the milk our consumers purchase is top quality and is produced by happy, well cared for cows. That’s definitely something to celebrate!
Let’s put a face on Canadian dairy farming. Instead of sharing articles or social media posts that promote fear based marketing, maybe share a photo of your cows or your farm, and explain how you are so proud to produce food for your fellow citizens. Remember that our neighbours to the south are farmers just like us. They too face the same fears and hardships that we do, probably more so given the dismal milk prices there the past several years. Denigrating the work they do is not the answer here. Will you join us in attempting to stop the spread of fear simply by sharing your love for your farm, your cows, and your work doing what you love best? I think that if this were to happen, we’d all win – farmers (yes, both Canadian and American!) and consumers alike.
If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on farmer rivalry and fear marketing, check out this link:
6 thoughts on “Myths and Fear: a farmer’s thoughts on promoting Canadian milk”
I am drinking as much milk as I can- hot chocolate every morning- love it and you for providing this wonderful safe food at such affordable prices.
you’re LYING- but of course your lying- your the wife of a dairy farmer. we know that all new born males are sent to veal crates where they will languish and be murdered at 4 months old. MOST females are killed or sent to slaughter at birth. there’s a growing list of international dairy farmers who gave up the business because they couldn’t stand what they were ding to new born calves. there’s a special place in hell for dairy farmers.
I’M lying?? Really?? I am a dairy farmer. I share our farm life here and on other social media sites in utmost transparency. NONE of our bull calves become veal, they are raised as beef. Additionally, veal crates are no longer permitted in Canada. Veal calves are housed in group pens and they enter the food chain as huge 600-700lb animals, not little baby calves. ALL of our female (heifer) calves stay on farm; we’re growing our herd. Also, no dairy farmer kills or slaughters dairy calves, they are the future milk producers for the industry. Rather than YOU spouting accusations of lying, perhaps you should visit a farm or actually talk to a dairy farmer to learn the truth. PETA lies. THAT has been proven over & over again.
Our farm is certified organic, grass based, and SPCA Certified. We’re very VERY proud of the care we give to our cows & calves.
I’m sorry but you are misinformed. I’ve got 11 calves taken from a dairy on my farm right now. They were bottle fed until they could eat hay, and will be ready to go out on the pasture, which should be soon. There are plenty of other farms in our area that have some too. Yes, some are raised for veal but not all by any means. You obviously are not involved in the new food movement that is concerned about how animals are treated. You just want to condemn the people that are trying to make a change. That’s makes absolutely no sense.
Well said Julaine!.
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
Awesome and super informative article. Thank you for the education and for what you do!