Milk and the production of milk is honestly, one of the main reasons I went veggie in the first place. After I first watched Cowspiracy (a documentary that I’ll talk about in a post later in the month), I stopped drinking milk and eating cheese altogether. It did end up creeping back in, but the more I found out about the dairy industry the more I knew I had to stop. So in this post, I’ll be telling you everything I know.
How your milk’s produced.
Now, funnily enough a cow doesn’t just happen to produce milk all year round. Females cows are artificially inseminated repeatedly throughout their lifetime. Simply for farmers to be able to milk them.
As soon as a baby calf is born, it’s ripped away from it’s mother and the fate of it’s life is decided – that’s a story for another day.
As the hormones are still within the mother cow, this means she’ll start producing milk. To supply the demand of humans, many cows are injected with steroids and hormones, allowing them to produce 10 times more than they would usually for their own offspring.
What does this mean for the cow?
It’s painful. This act of them being continually impregnated and genetically manipulated to be milked more than normal causes them to be in a hell of a lot of discomfort.
A cow’s gestation period is around 9 months and they’ll tend to produce milk after birth for 10 months. Due to this, many cows will be impregnated artificially again around 1 – 2 months after giving birth. This continues the lactation for as long as possible.
Female cows used for dairy are pregnant for almost 300 days a year.
The lifespan of your average dairy cow around the world is 4 – 5 years. During this time, a cow will have been pregnant 3 – 4 times before they’re disregarded, as they’re no longer of use.
Many of the hormones and steroids put into the cow will also affect it’s lifespan. I think it’s important to recognise that in their natural state, a cow would tend to live around 20 years.
The affect of milk on humans.
Without wanting to make this sound stupid, a cow’s milk is meant for a baby cow to grow. For this reason, many of the hormones within dairy aren’t easily digested by humans.
The amount of hormones in cow’s milk, even those that are synthetic and given to cows to produce as much milk as possible, can cause lots of different symptoms to humans.
There’s been research into it causing early puberty, although this hasn’t been proven, it could definitely be a factor. See more on this here: Why Are Children Starting Puberty Earlier?
Acne is also a great concern. It’s generally something seen in teens, as they’re going through puberty and hormones are at an all time high. Adult acne is now more known than ever and you’ll find that many people who give up dairy notice improved skin. This is due to no longer consuming additional hormones. Read up on this here: Dairy and Acne: what the research says.
Yes, believe it or not, as we’re not meant or intended as humans to consume a cow’s milk, this is one of the main reasons many people around the world are intolerant to lactose or even have a milk allergy.
It’s reported than many people have self-diagnosed themselves with the intolerance, simply by cutting it out and noticing they don’t get the same discomfort as before.
The main symptoms people get are;
If you notice any of these after having dairy, I’d highly recommend cutting it out for a week to see if things improve.
We’re the only ones that do it.
To bring this post to a close I just want to mention that humans are the only animal that drinks a completely different species milk. Even as humans ourselves, breast milk is only intended for babies until they’re able to eat solid foods.
Realistically and honestly, would you drink a cow’s milk if you had to do so from the udder?
Also, why is it acceptable for us to drink a cow’s milk? If someone was to offer you a cup of rat’s milk or even human breast milk would you drink that?
It’s all to do with perception. By just thinking a little bit more about where your milk’s come from and what’s in it, I think a lot of people would have a different view.
As always, I hope you’ve found this post informative. There’s another coming tomorrow comparing the nutritional benefits of soya milk, compared to cows milk.
If you have any questions, just pop a comment below. Make sure to follow my Instagram for more illustrations, inspiration and facts about veganism. I hope you’re enjoying this series.
Love, always – B
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