With thanks as always to Stacey at ‘Our Compass’;
How is this confusing?
Why do you still breastfeed? Even beyond the suffering violence inflicted on animals and their infants, humans drinking the breastmilk of another species, beyond infancy and with teeth, is bizarre at best, disturbing in general. Does the violent irony of human infants being unable to drink cow’s milk ever hit you?
Feel free to milk humans who can produce breastmilk, that would at least be species specific and eliminate the disturbing nature of breastfeeding from other species and the required violence, reproductive exploitation, separation of mother and children, and violent death, including the downed cows who are so debilitated, diseased, and abused, they need to be moved by machinery, like bulldozers.
Profit and greed are not acceptable reasons; I don’t smoke to sustain tobacco farmers any more than I consume dairy to sustain animal farmers: they both result in suffering and death.
And don’t give me your regenerative nonsense, animal farmers make it sound as if animal exploitation is required to be environmentally responsible, and that animal suffering, violation, and death is just an unfortunate consequence of being “environmentally responsible”. Like, what would people do without the feces, bacteria, rot, gore, disease, pus, blood, decomp, and marrow, not to mention the suffering and violence, if they decided to NOT be “environmentally responsible”? — insert confused, bewildered emojis demonstrating utter clownish, ridiculous behaviour —
Grow up, people. Literally. SL
For too long, mother cows and their babies have suffered at the hands of an industry which views them as little more than production units or waste products. Many people don’t realise that cows must give birth in order to produce milk, and one of the dairy industry’s darkest secrets is what happens to those newborn calves.
The dairy industry
In 2021, nearly 5 million cows were farmed for their milk in New Zealand, over 4.5 million of whom gave birth to calves who were taken away within days of being born. The milk which would normally nourish and sustain their calves is instead taken to be consumed by humans. Female calves are raised by humans to one day replace their mothers in the milking shed, while male calves are often killed within a few days of being born, considered ‘waste products’ of the dairy industry.
Mother cows are not machines
Like humans, a mother cow will carry her pregnancy for nine months. She will love, nurture, nurse, and protect her calf until the day comes when her calf is no longer a baby, but a young adult who is old enough to care for themselves and begin a life of their own. Sadly, this otherwise unbreakable mother-child bond means nothing to the dairy industry.
Every year in Aotearoa, millions of mother cows helplessly watch as their newborns are taken away from them so that their breast milk can be harvested for human consumption.
This cycle of abuse only ends for mother cows when they are no longer able to pump enough breast milk to be profitable to the dairy industry. After 5-6 years of being impregnated, giving birth and being milked, mother cows will be sent to slaughter.
Male calves are not ‘waste products’
Around 2 million male calves, also known as ‘bobby calves’, are taken from their mothers and killed shortly after birth every year in Aotearoa. Because bobby calves are male and can’t be used for milking, the industry has no economic incentive to raise them. Male calves are deemed useless byproducts of the dairy industry, rather than the sentient individuals they are.
Some will be sent to slaughter four days after being born while others will be shot on the farm within just 24 hours of life, all so the dairy industry can take the milk that was meant for him to sell for human consumption.
Dairy is destroying our environment
Animals aren’t the only casualties of the dairy industry. The pollution caused by industrial dairy farming is severely impacting our environment. The dairy industry is New Zealand biggest climate polluter, generating more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transport sector. In the last 30 years alone, the industry’s total emissions have risen 132%.
The dairy industry is also the largest source of water pollution and a major stressor on biodiversity and soil health. Run-off from dairy farms and synthetic fertiliser is poisoning our rivers, lakes and even our drinking water. As a result, 82% of waterways in farming areas are unfit for swimming and up to 800,000 kiwis may be at a greater risk of bowel cancer due to nitrates in water.
Dairy and your health
There is a growing body of evidence that links dairy consumption to many chronic diseases including diabetes, obesity, and cancer. According to Dr Neil Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, taking dairy off your plate can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes and cut the chances of being diagnosed with certain cancers by more than 70%.
Mammals produce breastmilk to feed their infants until they are weaned onto solids. Humans are the only animals that consume milk from another lactating species throughout their lifetime. After infancy, most of us lose the ability to produce the enzymes that break down lactose, which explains why so many people experience bloating, discomfort and an upset stomach after consuming dairy.
Calcium, protein and iron are abundant in plants. It’s easy to nourish your body with plants once you know how!
Dairy is not our future
It’s only a matter of time before Aotearoa can no longer sustain the continuous water pollution, soil damage and high greenhouse gas emissions the dairy industry creates. To protect the animals, our environment and our health; Aotearoa must embrace a future where its primary industries do not rely on the exploitation of our precious land and our animals for profit.
Our farmers are facing massive amounts of debt, increasing public scrutiny and a lack of industry leadership. Animal-free alternatives are shown to require up to 99% less water, produce 97% less greenhouse gas emissions, and requires no animal exploitation.
Governments around the world are recognising the harm dairy creates and are setting plans in place to assist farmers in transitioning away from animal agriculture. Now is the time for Kiwis to hold the New Zealand Government to account for failing to do the same. Our future depends on it.
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