Do you have a dog or cat? If you do, then you know their expression of happiness with the wagging of a tail, or purring and rubbing up against you. So it isn’t much of a stretch to think that other mammals also have feelings too … including cows.
Yet on many farms, especially factory farms, their lives are spent producing as much milk as possible. Usually after five or six years, even though they have a life-span of around 20 years, their production starts to slow down and they are sent to a slaughterhouse where their lives end abruptly and in many cases violently.
Add this to the forced impregnation of cows some farms use to spur even more milk production, with the resulting calves sold for veal and slaughtered, and the unethical issue expands to even greater heights.
To buy and eat dairy products, people are contributing to this unethical treatment of animals. As a form of passive protest, many people choose to avoid dairy products and go to non-dairy plant-based instead.
Other people have ethical concerns as to what the dairy industry is doing to our planet in terms of water, air and soil. For example, a cow produces between 250 and 500 liters of methane gas every day through flatulence, adding to our growing problem of greenhouse gases and what they do to our environment. During heavy rains, manure mixes with water and the sludge runoff enters our rivers and streams. In that sludge are nitrates which increases the risk of abortion in humans, and dangerous pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli, Crytosporidium and fecal coliform.
Cows use up a lot of resources that could be better used for other things. For example, it takes 100 pounds of feed per day per cow to produce 6 to 7 gallons of milk. Much of what is in cattle feed is grain – grain that could be made into food to help feed the hungry. Of course, all that food creates the problems associated with methane and manure as addresses earlier in this article.
Many people switch to a plant-based diet, which is void of any animal products, for its health and ethical benefits to the environment. Some people can’t eat dairy products because they are lactose intolerant, but now they have other choices for milk. With so many good plant-based milks available, like almond, coconut, rice and soy, is it easy to switch and a smart choice to make both from the ethical and environmental aspects. In the case if your first sip of non-dairy milk doesn’t taste as you expected don’t be discouraged your taste buds will adjust after week or so and you’ll surprised how has been ever possible for you to drink cow’s milk.
My favourite choices for non-dairy products:
Would you like to take to the next level and start a complete plant-based diet. Check out this blog post: How To Start A Plant-Based Diet