Sunday, March 2, 2014

got milk?

I do. But it's unsweetened vanilla soy milk. Sometimes almond milk. I never drank a lot of milk, but liked in on my morning cereal. These substitutes are fine. I prefer their taste to cow's milk, and don't miss it at all. I do miss cheese sometimes, but have found a few substitutes that are pretty good. (More on that and other substitutes later).

Sometimes people wonder why you would become a vegan, when a vegetarian doesn't eat meat either. For most vegans, the reasons they choose that path are clear. Health and environment may be motivating factors, and great ones at that. But, when you realize how factory farming has changed the way we treat animals, it's an easy choice to opt out of the system.

I was prepared to do some research and quote numbers, but I really just want to tell you in broad terms what I've learned about the dairy industry. It starts with cows being artificially inseminated as often as possible. They have to continue to have calves so they'll continue to produce milk. Their calves are taken from their mothers after a day or two. Imagine the stress that puts on mothers and calves. Females are resigned to the same "life" as their mothers, and males will probably get to spend the rest of their short lives unable to move in their veal crates.
The cows are given hormones to help produce more milk than is natural, milked daily, and spend much of the time indoors, on concrete. Many suffer from arthritis, mastitis, not to mention the emotional toll of this unnatural existence. After 4 or 5 years they are "spent" and can't produce like they could, and sold off for cheap beef.
Workers on factory farms, part of the system that treats cows as production machines, sometimes make the lives of the animals even more miserable. If you are not required to be concerned about the comfort, fear or suffering of those in your charge, it can lead to even more horrific cruelty if these "men" become frustrated at all. But, who gets frustrated at work, right?
Dairy consumption allows the suffering to continue so we can satisfy our palates. I choose to not be a part of it.

"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?' - Jeremy Bentham

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