Why I believe giving up dairy is no longer “just about animal ethics”.
Around 2 months ago, I was sat eating my cereal and read this quote via pinterest:
“It takes 63 gallons of water to produce one cup of milk!”
I almost threw up in my cereal bowl! I’ve been vegetarian for a long time and at the time of transitioning to a vegetarian , I had a lot of issues with the dairy industry already, but being 11, there wasn’t much internet access to research the issues surrounding dairy in detail, so I guess I became ignorant to that side of “loving animals” until adulthood.
But seriously, 63 gallons per 1 cup? Not mention the amount of grain that is sold from impoverished countries to places like, the UK, USA and Canada in order for farmers and factories to feed the animals -including dairy cows- for use to eat or drink from them.
We are unknowingly and ignorantly aiding in the hunger of millions of people worldwide. Many people all over the world don’t even have clean water to drink and we are wasting 63 gallons per 1 cup of milk, which I might add has less nutritional value than we have been lead to believe. You can get plenty of calcium from other food sources, take chickpeas, any leafy veg, non-dairy milks still provide calcium and almonds (not much good to those like myself with nut allergies but you get the picture). And whilst I’m on this topic…Why are we the only animals in the Eco system still drinking the breast milk of other animals, well into adulthood?
We’d get “grossed out”, if a human drunk the milk of another human past infancy wouldn’t we? So, why does it not seem strange to us that we drink the breast milk of other animals and feed it to ourselves and our children? Would you be happy for women all over the world to be milked so calves could drink from them? Seems strange doesn’t it?
If we started selling human breast milk in our supermarkets would we buy it? Or would it be seen as “unnatural”?
- A cow must have given birth in order to produce milk.
- Cows naturally live for 25 years, a dairy cow will live for a maximum of 4 years.
- A cow must be kept pregnant and giving birth in order to keep producing milk (could you imagine how inhumane society would feel that was if it were human females?).
- In the UK alone, we buy around 5.2 billion litres of liquid milk from the supermarkets and the milkman each year. On top of that, 6,072 million litres go into dairy products such as cheese, butter and dried milk powder, which is a vital component of many other food products. All in all, we buy enough dairy products every year to fill nearly 4,500 Olympic-size swimming pools. – (Taken from http://www.thisisdairyfarming.com)
I just wonder, in a world of growing allergies and intolerances -Do we really need to be consuming so much and if we reduced our consumption would we have less intolerances?
With a growing market of soya and lacto-free products and a growing population of dairy intolerants and allergy suffers? I begin to wonder, Should we be consuming milk at all? Surely we have to question these new cases of milk intolerances’ and dairy derivative allergies, wonder if our bodies were ever truly made to consume this food group and why so many of us are developing these intolerances?
Diseases such as osteoporosis have always been linked to having a lack of calcium in our diets. However, milk is known to have a slightly acidic quality when absorbed into the body (of which on 32% is). The acidity then causes calcium to be drawn out of the bones and into the body where it is seen as “waste” and subsequently excreted by our kidneys. Where as some green, leafy vegetables have a calcium absorption rate of over 50 percent. Here are a few examples of the calcium absorption for vegetables:
- Broccoli – 53%
- Brussels sprouts – 64%
- Mustard greens – 64%
- Turnip greens – 52%
- Kale – 40% -59%
I think a lot of the choices we make are habitual and not necessarily well thought out or researched. Whether that’s down to not caring about what goes into our bodies, listening to what the majority of doctors say “need more calcium milk, milk, milk!” or simply not questioning our food sources (maybe for convenience reasons), or because society has drummed into us for ions that this way is the “right way”, the “normal way”, the “healthiest lifestyle”.
The sad irony is that the world produces more than enough plant food to meet the needs of all its six billion people. If people used land to grow crops to feed themselves, rather than feeding crops to animals, then there would be enough to provide everyone with the average of 2360 Kcal (calories) needed for good health -(Taken from http://www.viva.org.uk/feed-world)
I knew then I was switching to soya. More eco-friendly and definitely cruelty free. I had been thinking about making this switch for a while. I’d stopped having milk in my tea and coffee for months before, the sensation in my stomach like the milk was curdling through my digestive tract-as it tried to digest the substance and the sick feeling I had in my mouth -like I seriously wanted to ‘vom’ when having milk in my cereal, were the biggest factors in the change.
I totally understand fully now why vegans are vegans. It’s not to be part of a fuddy duddy fad, or to necessarily live an extremist view of animal welfare, all they are doing is trying to make a change to the lives of animals, to the world in which we live in, to our health and to the lives of future generations. As a vegetarian (who is asking more questions about Veganism as a whole) I believe we should all be doing more, and for me personally eating more vegan if I’m not yet ready to actually be one.
The fact of the matter is, we only have one planet. There is only this one rock orbiting the sun big enough and awesome enough to house your children and subsequent generations. The amount of waste that goes into agriculture is shameful. We should be ashamed of the mess we are making of this planet God gave us daily.
Whilst, I know that many people will read this and never change. Some of you may at least begin to question the foods you put into your bodies, the amount of waste created from our greed. The amount of poverty-stricken countries, that need not go hungry. I don’t see how God could ever create a world where some have abundance and others wilt away. They’re wilted because of our greed and most of us haven’t even woken up to the atrocity we knowingly or unknowingly have created around us.
I’m waking up. I’m questioning everything society tells me is right or wrong for my body. I’m questioning the consumption of dairy and looking into other food sources, that are rich in calcium other than the milk of other animals. I’m questioning the ethical standing of the dairy industry and coming to my own conclusions. I’m listening to my body and how happy and healthy I’ve felt since removing the majority of dairy products from my life. I say life because this isn’t a fad, this isn’t a diet. I only get one life and to live it, I need to make changes. For my family, for the other animals that dwell on this Earth God gave us, for the environment that we are crowding and polluting. To reduce the amount of waste we make each and every day, but most importantly…For me.