The Truth Behind Milk & Milk Products
By Mr. Amul Jain
For The Animals : Corporate-owned factories where cows are warehoused in huge sheds and treated like milk machines have replaced most small family farms. With genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies, it is common for modern dairy cows to produce 100 pounds of milk a day-10 times more than they would produce in nature. To keep milk production as high as possible, farmers artificially inseminate cows every year. Growth hormones and unnatural milking schedules cause dairy cows' udders to become painful and so heavy that they sometimes drag on the ground, resulting in frequent infections and overuse of antibiotics. Cows - like all mammals - make milk to feed their own babies-not humans.
Male calves, the "byproducts" of the dairy industry, endure 14 to17 weeks of torment in veal crates so small that they can't even turn around. Female calves often replace their old, worn-out mothers, or are slaughtered soon after birth for the rennet in their stomachs (an ingredient of most commercial cheeses). They are often kept in tiny crates or tethered in stalls for the first few months of their lives, only to grow up to become "milk machines" like their mothers.
For The Environment : Cow's milk is an inefficient food source. Cows, like humans, expend the majority of their food intake simply leading their lives. It takes a great deal of grain and other foodstuffs cycled through cows to produce a small amount of milk. And not only is milk a waste of energy and water, the production of milk is also a disastrous source of water pollution. A dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste every day-equal to that of two dozen people, but with no toilets, sewers, or treatment plants.
In Lancaster County, Pa., manure from dairy cows is destroying the Chesapeake Bay, and in California, which produces one-fifth of the country's total supply of milk, the manure from dairy farms has poisoned vast expanses of underground water, rivers, and streams. In the Central Valley of California, the cows produce as much excrement as a city of 21 million people, and even a smallish farm of 200 cows will produce as much nitrogen as in the sewage from a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people, according to a U.S. Senate report on animal waste.
For Your Health : Dairy products are a health hazard. They contain no fiber or complex carbohydrates and are laden with saturated fat and cholesterol. They are contaminated with cow's blood and pus and are frequently contaminated with pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Dairy products are linked to allergies, constipation, obesity, heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
The late Dr. Benjamin Spock, America's leading authority on child care, spoke out against feeding cow's milk to children, saying it can cause anemia, allergies, and insulin-dependent diabetes and in the long term, will set kids up for obesity and heart disease, America's number one cause of death.
And dairy products may actually cause osteoporosis, not prevent it, since their high-protein content leaches calcium from the body. Population studies, backed up by a groundbreaking Harvard study of more than 75,000 nurses, suggest that drinking milk can actually cause osteoporosis. Find out more by visiting our links page.
What You Can Do : According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes more than 550 pounds of dairy products annually, which is 40 percent of the bulk of the food we eat. Click here to see an illustration of the "Food Pyramid" which is representative of actual American eating habits.
Give the bottle the boot! Instead, try delicious soy or rice milk, soy cheese, Tofutti ice cream, and tofu sour cream and cream cheese. All are widely available at health food stores and many supermarkets. Click here for information on adopting a dairy-free diet.