Thursday, January 19, 2006



When I explain to someone how we get milk (because most people have only the vaguest concept), especially if the person is young, and I explain that we have to impregnate the cow each year, so that the cow will give milk, and then we take the calf from his or her mother when the calf is only two days old, and then the calf gets no more milk after that, so that we can have it all...and when I explain that the male calf is then chained and put in a veal pen, where he gets no exercise, and is fed an iron-deficient formula to make his flesh turn pale, and is slaughtered four or five months later to be sold as veal...and when I explain that many dairy cows do not graze in pasture but are kept chained inside barns...and when I explain that we give most of them hormones that boost their milk production but cause painful udder infections...and when I explain that when the cows' milk production drops, we kill them...I feel like I am explaining the facts of life to children. People usually react with "I didn't know that," "really?" and with wide eyes. Sometimes they shake their head slightly in disbelief.

I think the dairy industry prefers that consumers remain ignorant, clinging to their child-like storybook notions of how milk is produced. With the dairy industry's commercials and ubiquitous pictures of happy cows in wide-open pastures, it seems like they are trying to keep people stupid, because once people find out how cruel dairy is, they may be less inclined to buy the product.

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