Dairy does not do a body good, no matter what the ads and commercials may tell you.  Dairy products are the most common cause of food allergies.  They are also loaded with fat, cholesterol, pesticides, drugs, pus. . . and might also come from cows who are infected with bovine leukemia virus, tuberculosis, and salmonella.  We may as well consider cow’s milk to be liquid cholesterol as its nutritional content is so similar to animal flesh.

Feeding dairy to human babies can cause constipation, intestinal bleeding, colic, and allergies.  Dr. Benjamin Spock stated in his final edition of Baby and Child Care that cow’s milk is for baby cows and infants should drink only human breast milk.  After four years of age, many people develop lactose intolerance which is the inability to digest milk sugar lactose.  Symptoms include cramping, gas and diarrhea.   In adults, dairy product consumption can lead to diseases, some cancers, osteoporosis, adult-onset diabetes and obesity.  With regard to concerns about osteoporosis, studies have shown that consuming more diary products does not prevent osteoporosis as much as reducing consumption of animal flesh (which leaches calcium from bones).  High protein products (meat, eggs, dairy) require the kidneys to work harder and cause calcium loss in the urine.  To learn more, check out http://dumpdairy.com/

So where do you get your calcium?  It’s easy to do so solely from plant foods and calcium-fortified orange juice.  There are great nondairy substitutes that can take the place of milk, cheese, ice cream, butter, cream cheese, mayo, and sour cream.  Most major supermarket chains carry these products.  (also see http://www.milksucks.com for more info.)

You may be wondering, as I was, why our government doesn’t disclose the health implications of dairy products instead of helping promote their consumption.  It seems they’ve chosen to work with the dairy lobby rather than protect consumers.  I doubt anyone has missed seeing the happy cows depicted in marketing venues.  This campaign was created in response to the public’s concerns for animal welfare, thanks to reports provided by animal welfare groups (check out http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dairy/)

The “happy cow” propaganda was created by the California Milk Advisory Board, a government agency, nonetheless.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued for false advertising and lost because (conveniently) government bodies are exempt from Fair Advertising laws.

What actually happens to those “happy cows” on a dairy farm?  Most of those cows live the majority of their short lives in concrete stalls, attached to milking machines.  In order to regularly produce milk, they have to be repeatedly impregnated and pumped full of hormones (which the consumer ultimately ingests).  The calves are stolen from their mothers, chained by the neck, and placed in veal crates where they can’t move or see the light of day until slaughter (see http://www.mercyforanimals.org/calves/)

Although cows have a natural lifespan of over twenty years, dairy cows are slaughtered after about five years when they are no longer useful.  By then, they are so sick, that many cannot walk.  These “downers” are dragged, or pushed with forklifts, into the slaughterhouse.  Some are left to die slowly.  Much of the hamburger sold in the U.S. is made from slaughtered dairy cows, including most organic milk producers.  The abuses at dairy farms are the standard, NOT the exception.  Undercover investigations by a variety of animal protection organizations reveal workers subjecting horrible suffering upon innocent cows and their calves (watch Mercy for Animals’ Conklin Dairy Farm video at http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ohdairy/).  It seems that some dairy farm workers have no problem beating these innocent animals with pipes, gouging them, stomping on the younger animals, kicking them, dragging them, mutilating them and otherwise making sure that their short miserable lives are hell on earth until they are inhumanely slaughtered.  There is no relief whatsoever for these unfortunate creatures.

Consumers have the power to end animal suffering by withdrawing our support from the egg, dairy and meat industries.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are complicit in the animals’ suffering when we pay others to torture and murder them in order to keep up with our demand for animal products.  By reducing or eliminating our consumption of animal products and requiring more non-flesh alternatives, we can influence the food industry to come up with better and more affordable products that are healthier for us and don’t involve animal cruelty.

Purchasing power is the strongest arsenal a consumer has and can help determine the direction that companies take.  Whether you decide to reduce or altogether eliminate animal products from your diet, you will help make a difference.  We can choose compassion over cruelty with the choices we make.

– Annoula Wylderich