Is the dairy industry worried about the phenomenal popularity of plant-based milks? You bet your non-leather boots they are. Why else would they be making such a big deal out of a campaign they’ve deemed “Februdairy”?
In the plant-based world, January was renamed “Veganuary.” The event urged people to try going vegan for one month — a new year’s resolution to benefit animals, the environment and your health. Unfortunately, dairy can’t quite make those claims.
Even so, Big Dairy launched “Februdairy” as a month long “celebration” of all things dairy. The industry aimed to flood social media with positive messages, countering the critical information flowing from animal activists. But Februdairy simply can’t overcome these basic truths.
The dairy industry is hugely cruel to cows and calves. Dairy farmers forcibly impregnate female cows over and over to keep them producing milk — it doesn’t just flow naturally as so many people seem to believe. Once the calves are born, farmers take that milk and sell it to consumers.
The calves that result from these impregnations don’t get to drink their mothers’ milk. Instead, they’re carted away almost immediately to become veal — if they’re boys — or the next generation of dairy cows — if they’re girls. See what separating a mother cow from her baby looks like, if you can bear it:
This heartbreaking practice happens on a massive scale every day. Oh, don’t get me started on the rampant abuse within the dairy industry. With a simple Google search, you can see it all caught on video, again and again.
Dairy farming negatively affects the environment in several ways. These are but a few of them:
- Cow manure produces ridiculous amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, a major factor driving climate change.
- Storm runoff from dairy farms sends tons of manure and fertilizer into rivers and streams, where it pollutes our waterways and creates huge dead zones in water bodies like the Gulf of Mexico.
- Milk delivery trucks and milk production machinery spew pollutants into the air.
- Dairies located near lower income communities significantly reduce the local residents’ quality of life, due to constant odors and manure dust in the air.
OK, say it with me. Cow milk is food for baby cows, not humans. We’ve just come to accept that it’s human food because we were conditioned to believe that. Normally, we’d be as squeamish about drinking cow milk as we are at the suggestion that we try dog milk, donkey milk or beaver milk. “Ewwwww gross!” is the universal response — because we know that stuff isn’t meant for us.
Dairy products contribute significant amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat to our diet. If you eat things that are high in fat — especially in saturated fat — you face an increased the risk of heart disease. Studies show that milk consumption doesn’t protect against osteoporosis – and may actually increase a woman’s chance of fracturing a hip by 60 percent.
Oh, by the way, milk has no naturally occurring vitamin D either. Milk producers add that when they fortify it. Those good reasons for drinking milk are disappearing one by one, aren’t they?
So, does Veganuary actually work? According to the initiative’s website, 60,000 signed up participants signed up in 2017. And of these individuals, 66 percent were still eating vegan by July. That’s pretty impressive!
And a big chunk of these converts were vegetarians turned vegan. I’m always happy to see this happen, because the dairy and egg industries are just as bad — if not worse — for animals than the meat industries.
Big Dairy, feel free to keep pushing Februdairy. We know that you’re deeply worried about your future — and you should be. Every year, more and more of us are turning away from dairy products. Our reasons may vary, but the end result is the same: Your profits are dropping.
The time is now to begin transitioning the dairy industry to something new — the sooner, the better. After all, the future is plant-based. Elmhurst Dairy saw the writing on the wall, so why can’t the rest of you?
So long, Februdairy, you silly campaign. We see right through you.
Photo Credit: Farm Watch/Flickr