Is It Time To Let Dairy Fail?

A recent article by a dairy chief executive describes an industry in crisis, stating that demand for milk products are falling. It blames health professionals for warning the younger generations away from dairy, and speaks of a new ‘three-a-day’ dairy campaign to be launched soon. This initiative will promote daily portions of milk, butter and cheese.

But hang on a minute: why are we being told yet again to ignore the experts? At the risk of stating the obvious, surely when it comes to issues relating to health, health professionals are the ones with the answers. NHS guidelines state to use butter sparingly, and warn against the high fat and salt content in cheese, so the idea of promoting these products under the guise of a health initiative seems a tad bizarre.

It’s not just high doses of saturated fat and salt which present a health issue – dairy also contains cholesterol, a fat-like substance which sticks to artery walls and increases the risk of heart disease and strokes. Cholesterol is only found in animal products, and is completely unnecessary in our diets, as our bodies produce all the cholesterol we need.

Contrary to the dietary advice all schoolchildren are fed, dairy is absolutely not needed for optimum health. Calcium can be found in leafy green vegetables, where absorption rates are often higher than in dairy, as well as fortified plant milks.

Given that this campaign is evidently not focused on improving human health, why the push for dairy? The answer is obvious. This is a campaign motivated by profit above all else, and its success would impact negatively on public health, the environment and the lives of countless animals.

The public have been understandably worried about the livelihoods of dairy farmers for some time. However, even if everyone became vegan we would still rely on farmers to grow our food. If dairy farmers switched to producing plant crops, instead of losing their livelihoods they could find a more stable and reliable income. All this aside, since when is it OK to justify an unethical practice simply because it provides jobs?

Because dairy is undoubtedly unethical. Cows don’t produce milk for no reason – just like humans, lactation comes as a result of pregnancy. The dairy industry profits from separating cows from their babies, and taking the milk intended for the calf. Contrary to what many believe, farmers aren’t being kind to cows by milking them.

Milk is obviously a failing industry. Sales of plant milk are going through the roof as consumers opt for plant-based versions made from soy, almond, coconut, hazelnut and more. Rather than fight this tide, dairy executives need to accept it and respond appropriately. Dairy runs at a loss, meaning that each dairy farmers’ income is heavily subsidised by the government. Rather than continue with this unsustainable use of public money, we could direct this money elsewhere – towards something healthier, more sustainable and less cruel.

Our younger generations are growing up more compassionate, and better informed about the impact their choices make on the world around them. Instead of listening to people who have a vested interest in dairy sales, we need to follow the trend set by younger people and switch away from dairy.

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40 Responses

  1. Mikey

    The only issue I see with this is the potential that farmers may not be able to produce crops on the land that they farm currently. Not all land is Arable and suited to crops. It would be destroying thier livelihoods’, however unethical the practice is l, isn’t that unethical as well? Where do you see dairy farmers in the future – what would they go on to do?

    1. eva

      they would go find a different job like the rest of us. they don’t need to be farmers in order to exist. do farmers care what we do in order to sustain ourselves? the answer is no!

    2. sue fuller

      hello, Mikey. Anything can be grown under glass or polytunnels, plants food is being grown using aquaponics on top of city skyscrapers these days so i reckon ex-dairy farmland could be utilised. The current subsidies could be switched from dairy to horticulture/agriculture quite simply surely 🙂

    3. Jenna

      I see the point but we can’t continue an unethical practice because someone makes money off it. Mostly it would just mean no more people go into dairy farming, and most farms are owned by corporations.

  2. Graeme M

    Why would dairy farmers going out of business be “unethical”? Many businesses fail and people are left without a livelihood – it’s the nature of our economic system. Few industries are protected and I think it’s time we got over the idea that farming should be somehow exempt. If it is unethical and people choose to vote with their pockets, then surely that is a success of our system? History is littered with industries that ended because society went on without them. Perhaps dairy farmers might look to the future and find new ways to earn a living.

  3. Lynn

    Have you ever actually visited an actual dairy farm? Spent time with farmers? You might be suprised? Dairy farming is a thousands years old practice using, cows, sheep, goats, camels among other animals! Dairy was particularly popular in areas where food supplies were erratic and with nomadic people. Animals could be herded , in addition to providing food they provided warmth….. Yes, people use to live with them…. They were family!!! Most farmers I have had the privilege to visit, view their animals as family and treat them accordingly…….. It’s too hard of a job ; you can’t do it unless you love it! One farm I visited , the cows pastured all day , returned to a pristine barn( you could literally eat off the floor) treated to a hot bath, milked, then bed in the barn! The farmer then returned after his dinner and spent the evening with his animals ….. He would brush them, hug them….. He loved them!!! He was also very perturbed by a cow who had rejected her calf……… It’s perfectly fine not to eat dairy, but it’s not quite the nasty business you describe. Everyone has the right to choose what they eat , and saying no to dairy, seaweed, soy, broccoli….. Whatever… fine; but, pardon the pun, you don’t need to spread a load of bull, to “educate” . ……. PS……. Do some homework on fortification; you will find it’s synonymous with processed food. Real food ain’t fortified! Make sure to check the sugar added to your plant milk:……..better to stick to ages old soy preparations that have stood the test of time with no added sugar! There is a lot of processed garbage sold under the soy and vegan umbrella……….veganism is huge business!!!!!

    1. Jenna

      Well it is thousands of years old, a surefire way to tell if something is ethical. And for you information, I have visited dairy farms. Not one baby was with their mother and they were chained up. The only baby boy was waiting for the truck. The ones who were not producing enough were going to be killed, at a fraction of their natural lifespan, which can be into their twenties. That isn’t love. that isn’t family.

      it is breast milk from a cow for heaven’s sake!

    2. Lynn

      While that might have been true back in the “good old days” when a family had a cow to feed themselves and maybe sold the female calf to a neighbour, todays corporations who own and run HUGE dairy farms are not ethical. As for the one lovely man who cared for his cows, that may be true of many farmers. Not all farmers are money-hungry evil people. But those calves…where do they go? The males are useless because you cannot obtain milk from them so they go for veal at a tender age (pun intended). The females are raised to join their mothers (who are usually spent now and have been ground up for chuck burger meat). That is not ethical. Why not keep impregnating tens of thousands of women and keep them lactating to produce milk for human consumption? We should not be drinking the milk from another species. As for the sugar in plant milk, I buy unsweetened plant milk to avoid that sugar.

    3. A

      Sorry Lynn, but when people turn away from dairy and see a reduction in their acne and an improvement in their digestion, they don’t want to run back to it. It’s not only vegans buying plant milk, and most people who buy plant milk couldn’t care less about the ethics involved in dairy. When they have a product that works better for them, they will buy that. A colorful story about how much a farmer loves his animals isn’t going to overpower an improvement in the way they feel with less dairy and more plant milk.

  4. Lars

    “The dairy industry profits from separating cows from their babies, and taking the milk intended for the calf.”

    Related to cows, the only thing I can reply to this is: BULLSHIT!
    1. On farms calfs still get milk… For some months.
    2. After some months calfs stop drinking milk, they start to drink water and eat e.g. grass. Good cows produce milk up to about 13 years. So not the whole cow milk is intended to be drank by the calfs..

    It looks like the author has never been on a farm ever. So he should better be quiet and not judge!

    1. Lynn

      What you report above in your comment is the exception. The dairy farm my friend works on takes the baby away immediately. He or she may be fed milk but not from their mother and they are treated like dogs in shelters. Put in pens by themselves. A good cow doesn’t live that long, by age 5 she is hamburger meat because she has been milked 3x a day. This is a smaller operation I’m talking about too…300-350 cows, milked 3x a day. Hardly ethical.

  5. Dana

    Dairy is a filthy cruel welfare industry. No farmer pays taxes to support me- I am sick and tired of my tax dollars supporting beef dairy egg and poultry industries. I have had to change careers several times in my lifetime- time for dairy farmers to be productive citizens instead of opportunistic parasites

  6. Jenna

    Dairy is nothing but animal cruelty and environmental destruction ( it takes a huge amount of water and resources and generates a huge amount of waste. It means impregnating cows year after year, forcibly, and taking her babies away to be killed or used as breeders. Cows are very maternal and family oriented and they don’t forget this. They are slaughtered when milk production declines. Some are so worn out and sick they can’t walk to their own slaughter, at four years old. Healthy cows live into their twenties.

  7. Linda

    Almond or coconut milk on my cerial?? GROSS. There goes more than half my normal eating habits that I include milk with. I guess a cows life is worth more than mine!

    1. Lisa

      I don’t eat cereal, but my husband and son do and I get them vanilla almond milk. I’ve had absolutely no complaints. I keep plain, unsweetened almond milk on hand for any other cooking needs. Not consuming dairy is actually good for you , so your life is worth something. You get to save yourself and lessen the suffering of other creatures.

    2. Em

      You aren’t going to die on a non-dairy diet so what are you talking about live’s worth for? As for gross; you are drinking another animal’s breast milk which contains ridiculously high levels of protein for human consumption and has been linked to breast cancer.

    3. DJ

      Linda what???!!! Yes, sorry hun, but another sentiment being’s life IS more important than your taste buds. Maybe one day you will have a heart bigger than your stomach. You say almond and coconut are gross??? To the contrary, bovine calf growth hormones on my cereal is gross. I stopped breastfeeding years ago. You should consider doing the same. If not for the sensitive, loving, mother and baby cows, then for your artery clogging, high cholesterol, cancer feeding health.

  8. Nursing on another mammals milk that is perfectly designed to grow a newborn calf into a young cow is already a failure of incalculable proportion!
    The very normalizing of a variant of bestiality, forcing female cows to become pregnant with masturbated semen by humans, into female cow vagina’s for the sole purpose of taking HER milk produced for HER calf, a calf that will experience ( tens of millions worldwide)unfathomable suffering, in and of itself is a failure and stark ethical contradiction.
    Combine the ethical, moral and humane aspects of milk production with the medical FACTS that cow’s milk and everything made from it, increases breast and prostate cancers, increases insulin disruption, increases leukemia rates, and much more ill health consequences, not only is dairy already FAILED, the matrix that promotes it is mentally ill promoted as normal!!!!
    NO OTHER SPECIES on earth nurses past weaning, never mind on another mammals mammary secretions designed for that species. It’s absurdity and counter intuitive but confirms that dairy interests have been successful in marketing a product that is neither required, healthy or humane… If you use dairy, you are still a baby so GROW UP. NO OTHER SPECIES does this!!!! The lives of animals made a living hell has become the reflection of suffering in human society. Everything we do to them IS done to us!! Get calcium from PLANTS, that’s where the COWS get theirs…

  9. Jo

    Almond milk or coconut milk on my cereal!!!!!!! Pahahahahah yet you regularly ingest a lactating cows secretions laden with pus bodily secretions and antibiotics!!!!!

    I have no words I really don’t 😂😂😂😂😂😂

  10. How about a few votes for Permaculture. Permaculture is not even just about ‘perma’ and ‘agriculture’, its founder explains in one of his vidoes that it is just about finding sustainable and permanent solutions to problems. From sustainable housing, to transportation, to growing food.

    By planting nitrogen fixing usable plants near usable plants that need nitrogen, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren showed that even marginal land could be encouraged to mimic forest and jungle ecosystems but with far more growth with far more output that humans could use. It is different for different climates and locals. Bill Mollison even did it on the balcony of an apartment building (5 square meters) that grew one-fifth of the needs of the couple living there. Zero carbon homes were an outgrowth of this type of engineering before the term even existed.

    Upwards of 3/4 of arable land is used to raise grains for animal products in some areas—most of it government subsidized. Impossible quantities of water get used up to do this (impossible=unsustainable in this case). One way or another, a change is coming and it is close at hand. It would be nice if it isn’t forced on us by widespread famine here as well as overseas.

    Check out ‘permaculture’ on Google and begin the transformation where you can. I am, and I expect to grow a substantial amount of the organic Vegan food I will need on the houseboat now almost complete.

  11. Candie Kennedy

    I am so glad that people are waking up about cow’s milk. The fact that cow’s milk leaches calcium from bones has been documented and studies done on the subject. Not to mention the cruelty that happens on a daily basis to baby cows and tgeir mothers is beyond words. If you eat a plant based diet, you end up with vibrant health. End of story.

  12. Brian jackson

    What a load of BS. If you eat a product containing cholesterol it does not go into the arteries. People have been eating and drinking dairy since Adam was a boy and provided it is done in moderation it is very healthy.
    This aticle sounds like a load of left wing- green – PC nonsense by vegan nut cases.

  13. Rob

    Why do people insist on calling corporate agri business farmers? Agri business is nothing akin to the family dairy farmer of generations past. Yet taxpayers continue to subsidize corporate agriculture. What’s up with that?

  14. What is not discussed is the subsidies that supposedly provide for “nutrition” are really to provide cheap meat for the fast food industry and leather once the cows are spent in 5-7 years.

  15. Cynthia

    Not totally agree with this articlle
    Yogurt is a superfood for humanbeing
    Grain milks can be a source of estrogen and most of them are genetically modified so are they better than dairy
    Since many years we know that most of the cholesterol is produced internally in the body and not for diet source

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