Like most people, I grew up thinking that milk was a harmless everyday product, essential for a healthy diet. I was horrified when I discovered the truth about the dairy industry: that cows are forcibly impregnated in order to produce milk, that their calves are taken away from them at birth, and, if the babies are born male, are nothing more than an unwanted by-product, usually destined to be slaughtered for veal.
Mother cows will often cry out in distress for weeks after the loss of their young. Despite their distress, instead of nursing their babies these cows are hooked up to milking machines several times a day, often causing painful swelling & bleeding of their udders (a legally allowable amount of pus often remains present in milk when it reaches consumers). This cruel cycle is repeated year after year, until the ‘spent’ cows’ overworked, exhausted bodies no longer produce profitable milk levels, and they are sent for slaughter, to become low-grade hamburgers or dog food. (A dairy cow typically lives 4 to 5 years as opposed to 20 years naturally).
As a mother, I cannot imagine a more traumatic experience than having my newborn baby snatched from me at birth. I cannot imagine a greater violation than somebody stealing and killing my baby, so that they can sell my breast milk. So now, when I think about milk, falsely advertised with images of contented cows grazing on idyllic pastures, this ‘harmless’ everyday item for sale in every shop, on every corner, of every street, in every city, in every country, around the world, I find myself asking: ‘Why are humans so addicted to drinking breast milk stolen from murdered babies?’
I often wonder how many millions of cows have been condemned to this miserable existence. And why? So that we can have ice cream? Yoghurt? Cheese? None of these are things that we actually need (but if we do want them, there are dairy-free alternatives); in fact there’s growing research to suggest that cow’s milk is actually quite harmful to our health.
To me, milk represents a brutal separation of mother and child, and a sad reminder of the way we humans needlessly torment so many living creatures on this earth with such casual indifference. All so we can keep on taking what isn’t ours to take.