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Some facts are so surprising that they can cause you to spurt your drink straight out your nose in shock. Well, let’s hope that drink isn’t dairy-based, because the facts that you’re about to read may make you not just want to get that milk cleaned out of your nostrils, but right out of your life as well.

The dairy industry has more than a few tricks up their sleeves to make you believe that consuming dairy products is just a normal, healthy, and friendly part of every person’s life. Just how much truth is behind this positive outlook on dairy?

10. Cow’s don’t actually “need to be milked by humans” in order to survive

How many times have I heard this argument? Too many to count. According to those who believe this, a cow needs to be milked or else she’ll explode. Not just get an infection or feel discomfort, but almost literally – explode. But let’s just use some reason here through a comparison: when a human mother gives birth to a child, but for whatever reason cannot personally breastfeed that child… does she explode? Is the world filled with combustible women ready to burst from the breast outwards?

While new mothers may experience discomfort at first while raising their child without breastfeeding, eventually their milk dries up, explosion-free, and they live out the rest of their life. Humans and cows are both mammalia of the animal kingdom, along with plenty other species who breastfeed their newborns. Does a fox explode when we don’t milk them? How about a dog?

Like any species, it is usually the job of the offspring to do the milking, not a third party syndicate waiting to sell your bodily fluids to fully-grown beings.

When people retort, “Well how do you KNOW that for sure?” just tell them to ask their mother if their doctor ever warned them of the dangers of self-explosion during their pregnancy. (I’m sure there would be a lot fewer new mothers if this were the case!)

9. Cows don’t need careers

Another “great” argument is that, if we don’t use cows for their milk, they’ll take over the Earth, roam wild and cause mayhem and destruction. Dairy farmers give cows jobs! In this economy, who can turn down that offer?

Cows can. Because they aren’t a part of our economy, or our society. Cows don’t hold human values like needing to “make a living” or having a set purpose in life. Cows do not express the desire to work for humans or do something beneficial for humans, so it’s a little silly to argue that a cow is bored when she’s not being used for dairy or that she’s serving no purpose if we can’t get something out of her. What matters to a cow is their life, their friends, and their offspring. What doesn’t matter to her is whether or not she can provide you with money, cheese or ice cream.

8. How dairy cows become pregnant to produce milk

Dairy cows are impregnated via a method called artificial insemination (warning: the terminology used by the dairy industry deals with phrases related to sexual assault). Dairy farming begins by making bulls ejaculate, typically using an “electroejaculator,” collecting their sperm and then forcibly impregnating female cows with the semen in a constraining device the industry refers to as a “rape rack.”

If it doesn’t sound pleasant, that’s because it isn’t. Nearly, 75 percent of the world’s animal agricultural practices utilize artificial insemination. Physical injury, disease and infection can occur as a cause of artificial insemination, especially if as the industry states the person providing insemination is not extremely careful and properly trained.

7. The amount of money the government spends to promote the dairy industry

Milk! It’s good for you! You love it! You want more of it! Your life would be incomplete without it!

… At least, that’s how most commercials for dairy products depict cow’s milk. Commercials and advertisements which sell dairy products focus on at least one of two categories: “low fat milk keeps you strong, healthy and active” or “high fat dairy products are a guilty pleasure.”

Yet each year, “USDA-managed programs spend $550 million to bombard Americans with slogans like these urging us to buy more animal foods.”

The fact remains that most Americans already eat an excess of animal products, high above nutritional recommendation.

But when you consider that, “Each marketing buck spent boosts sales by an average of $8, for an annual total of an extra $4.6 billion in government-backed sales of meat, dairy, and eggs,” it becomes a bit more clear why people run to fill up on so many animal products.

If this wasn’t enough, the U.S. government also spends on average more than $30 billion in subsidies for animal products such as dairy, and only a fraction of a fraction of that much on fruits and vegetables.

6. The life for calves in the dairy industry

Artificial insemination of dairy cows doesn’t just make them lactate – logically, they also give birth to a baby. But the dairy industry has no use of a being who intends to drink the milk that they intend to use for profit. Male calves, who cannot be raised to themselves become dairy cows, are slaughtered early on in life for veal. The dairy industry is the backbone of the veal industry – without it, the routine slaughter of calves could not continue.

5. Life for cows after the milk runs out

Just like veal calves, dairy cows who cannot produce milk due to exhaustion or disease are of no use to the dairy industry. Instead of “wasting resources” (feeding, sheltering), these cows are transported to factory farm feeding facilities to be fattened up, then slaughtered for meat.

4. Cheese can contain cow parts

Ever heard of rennet? It is “a complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach, and is often used in the production of cheese.”

While rennet from plant sources exists, it’s not uncommon for cheese to use rennet from the stomachs of slaughtered calves. Most people assume that cheese is made solely from the milk produced by cows, however, this process also involves the use of other parts of the cow.

3. Organic dairy may be “healthier”, but it’s not concerned with animal rights

In order to avoid some of the cruel practices that occur in factory farms, some consumers switch over to organic dairy products in hope of a humane alternative. But organic doesn’t necessarily refer to the rights or well-being of an animal–at most, it shows a concern for the health of the consumer first and foremost and only hosts the well-being of cows in mind as an afterthought.

As Kind Lifer, Alicia Silverstone writes, “many animal protection, consumer advocacy, environmental protection, and public health organizations have argued that the animals in large organic farms face the same conditions as those on non-organic factory farms. Investigations at farms owned by some of the largest organic dairy companies like Horizon Organic have verified this.”

Read her in-depth article on how organic dairy is still “nasty” to find out more on how organic dairy is no ethical solution.

2. You don’t need cow’s milk in order to survive

Even without making a point on how 2.5 percent of the American manages to survive without drinking milk, it would be easy to see that milk is not some magic life elixir: lactose-intolerance has been common among the population for many years. These people live with either a severely reduced intake of dairy or absolutely no dairy intake at all, and still manage to live happy, meaningful lives.

When you understand how to find the beneficial vitamins found in milk from other sources, there is no need to consume dairy. The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada said in 2003,” that properly planned vegan diets were nutritionally adequate for all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation.”

Meaning that a life without dairy can be nutritionally adequate. Find out where healthy, plant-based sources of calcium come from here.

And remember: you’re not a cow, why would you biologically need cow’s milk to survive?

1. Cows don’t have to live this way

Seeing videos of dairy cruelty and understanding just how widespread this cruelty is can be daunting. Some may feel that the problem is too big, that there’s nothing we can do to change the lives of these animals.

But it doesn’t have to be this way: animal rescue organizations like Farm Sanctuary exist to give cows and other farm animals a life free of pain and exploitation. Supporting organizations like these, as well as relinquishing your support of the dairy industry, is the best and easiest way you can help abused dairy cows.

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6 comments on “10 Facts About the Dairy Industry That Will Shock You”

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mrs lisa moore
1 Years Ago

the treatment of these poor cows is terrible/ we will not be eating beaf or lamb or pigs or milk cream again stuff you farmers you are disgusting people what we would like to do to you is give you the same treat meant you all should go to prison for way you treat your animals if you don\'t love them then get another job cows should be eating grass not in a shed we will do everything Ito stop you doing this disgusting thing to these animals we would like to come to see them when they are out where they belong .we have always loved our meat but the you treat your animals is not right god repays in mysterious ways god help you

Jake Godzik
1 Years Ago


19 Nov 2017

You sound like you grew up in a farm. Left school to help out mom and pop, uneducated and mad at the world.

1 Years Ago

What am i suppose to eat with my cereal?

1 Years Ago

Okay: When you openly state the point you\'re making seems "ridiculous", as in point 10, that\'s proof that it is. No one\'s saying cows will "explode", and if they are, they\'re ill-informed.

That said: MODERN DAIRY COWS ARE NOT PRODUCED BY NATURE. They have been bred to produce much more milk than their calves require to survive, so trying to compared them to humans, which have not been selectively bred this way, is facetious and useless. But the point is not invalid: Dairy cows produce more milk than calves they birth could drink, and yes, they do need that excess milk removed or they suffer pain and illness. Because they\'re not nature-created to fit a niche, they\'ve been selectively bred.

As to the points about cow "careers" and just "letting them free", this also ignores the point that modern dairy cows do not "fit" in the wild. They are easily preyed upon by predators, they don\'t have robust immune systems, and what nature would have imbued them with (herd mentality and instinctual caution) had no purpose for producing milk, so those traits have been ignored.

Simply put, a dairy cow "in the wild" is a soon-to-be-dead cow who will live the rest of its short life in discomfort and easily preyed upon by an ecosystem they do not fit in anymore.

Yes, there are farms for freed dairy cows--but there are thousands of times more cows alive than these farms could sustain, and even if we did build enough to house all of them the costs of upkeep and maintenance and medical care would vastly outweigh the money the government gives the dairy industry in Point 7.

Hell, even the point about artificial insemination is moot--bulls have been bred bigger and bigger, and the cows who could not support the weight of those bulls in the wild would be crushed attempting to breed. But, again, this is unimportant to dairy production, so these traits have been ignored. Most cows can\'t support the weight or the strength of the thrust of the bulls they would try to breed with in "nature". And many cows cannot give birth naturally any more either.

Meaning, if cows are "freed" and we suddenly go cruelty-free overnight, the cows will not just "go wild" and become part of the ecosystem--they will live short, brutal lives, succumb to injury trying to breed or give birth, injury trying to live in a world they\'re not suited for, in constant pain from over-production of milk and no way to relive said pain, and die of predation or starvation.

To clarify: I DO NOT LIKE THE MEAT INDUSTRY. I do not like the practices, the forced breeding, the slaughter of male calves, the force-feeding of corn-syrup based food, or any of it. But to simply assume we can just "stop" without slowing down and allowing the numbers to dwindle is not only naive, it\'s insulting.

If we just stopped, those animals would all need constant lifelong care to live, which would take a truly phenomenal amount of money from which there would no longer be profit. And the animals could not be allowed to breed, because cows CAN NOT LIVE as they are in nature, so the species we use would simply have to die out completely.

This is the cost of centuries of artificial selection--an animal that no longer fits in nature. But sure, let\'s pretend people are actually talking about exploding cow-tits or "jobs" instead of the actual problems they see with slowing or stopping the dairy industry--a strawman argument is easier to dismiss than the truth.

4 Years Ago

This article is mostly a bunch of BS. While is it very true that people do not need to consume milk to survive, and may also be true that we would be better off eating a plant based diet, most of the rest of the article is blatant lies and distortions. While it is true that some farmers may be obusive, most are not. And of course, the most obvious question that you ignored is what would happen to cows if people didn\'t eat meat or drink milk? Cows don\'t wander around wild, and not many people would want them to. A cow is expensive to feed and maintain, so if people didn\'t eat meat and drink milk, most cows would ;cease to exist.

People are idiots
08 Jul 2014

So you think it\'s not cruel to use something the industry has named a "rape rack" to force impregnation on an animal, so they can force breed the animal, then take the milk of that animal and give it to us instead of their own offspring just like any other mammal on this planet does. You think its not cruel to slaughter the male calves for veil just because they can\'t produce milk on dairy farm? You think that\'s nice, do you?

" so if people didn\\\'t eat meat and drink milk, most cows would ;cease to exist"

So if they didn\'t kill the cows, then they couldn\'t exist. That\'s some brilliant logic, there. If you have to force breed an animal into existence just because you like the taste of them, and the secretions that come out o them, then it doesn\'t seem like a valid reason for an entire species exist. Force breeding does not exist in nature. Why in the world did it become more valid just because you like steak? If you really cared about them (which you claim to) then why force breed and kill them? You don\'t care, obviously. This is just a mindless talking point that you didn\'t think through.

The animals would peacefully non-exist, just like 99.99% of the species that have ever existed at one time. The major difference is that none of them were force bred into existence. There is nothing wrong with non-existence. Non-existence hurts nobody. No species should ever be force bred to exist solely based on the supply and demand of an industry.

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