Let's Talk About Dairy.
[This post only touches on the ethical aspects of dairy production]
We've all seen the heart-wrenching videos of animal slaughter in industrial farms, and we've all heard about the inhumane treatment that makes eating meat seem like a somewhat sadistic act. But what makes dairy so bad?
It's natural for female cows to produce milk; it's an inherent part of giving birth. However, cows, just like humans, only produce milk when their babies are born. Therefore, to ensure that cows are generating enough milk to satisfy the human population, baby calves are conceived through artificial insemination - the cows are impregnated through a brutally invasive process known as rape.
As if this procedure isn't agonizing enough for the mother, the moment her calves are brought to life, they are instantly torn away from each other - leaving the mother crying for weeks on after. Of her baby calves, the males are slaughtered for veal, and the females are put through the same process after only thirteen months of living.
Post-conception, their udders are swollen with excessive amounts of milk, and most of the time they can hardly hold themselves up. Held in confinement, they are barely able to stand up straight - let alone walk around like a normal animal.
These poor cows are repeatedly inseminated, separated, and shattered through the process of producing milk. And the pain doesn't stop there. Only after about 5 years, when their reproduction systems are exhausted, are they sent to the slaughterhouse for lack of a better 'use'. But that may be a blessing, because by the time they are sent to the slaughterhouse, they're already practically lifeless.
A mother-child bond is not exclusive to humans. This cruel practice is masked by the friendly advertisements of dairy companies and wrongly assumed to be "natural". Although there are possibly some exceptions, this is the result of revenue-driven animal farms, and this is the cost for a cup of milk, a bowl of yoghurt, or a slice of cheese.
Thankfully, there are various alternatives to these 'staple' foods. For milk, there's oat milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, hazelnut milk...just to name a few! And if you're worried about not getting enough calcium, studies show a strong positive correlation between the consumption of milk and high rates of osteoporosis ('brittle bones'). This is because milk is highly acidic, and calcium happens to be a great neutralizer. Therefore, in order to neutralize the acidic milk that is supposedly meant for cows, your body withdraws calcium from your bones, and this calcium is then released from the body through urination.