The dairy industry spends an inordinate amount of money feeding the public lie after lie about milk. But the dairy industry’s most recent appeal has left us dumbfounded. Agri-Plastics, the company that makes the tiny hutches for the calves (after they are taken away from their mothers – because goodness knows, that milk isn’t for them), has partnered with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and is making PINK HUTCHES for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in a campaign called, “Hutches for Hope“. UM, WHAT!

The dairy industry is trying support women’s health issues, but what about the lives of the female cows? Cows are mammals, just like humans. 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.”

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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 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.

So let’s get this straight – creating pink hutches is supposed to support women’s health issues, while blindly ignoring the many health issues dairy production causes to female cows. This is an industry that separates mothers and babies minutes after birth and impregnates mother cows over and over again until their bodies are so taxed and spent, they lose the ability to hold themselves up and are sent to slaughter for meat … what are we missing here?!

 

What’s more, there are many studies that link dairy consumption with cancer. Casein, a protein found in dairy, has been linked to multiple types of cancerdiabetes, and food addiction, which is why so many people find it difficult to give up cheese. Not to mention, 25 percent of the American population (and 75 percent of the global population) is lactose intolerant and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows 750 million pus cells in every liter of milk — gross.

Also, are we really so quick to forget the massive uproar about recombinant bovine growth hormones (rBGH) in dairy products (after all, keeping a mother cow pumping out 10 times the amount of milk she would normally in the dairy industry requires doses of hormones)?

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The use of this hormone is permitted in the U.S., but blocked in Canada and the E.U. There has been significant concern about the connection between the use of this hormone and cancer in humans, however, the American Cancer Society states that more studies need to be done to conclude if consuming milk with rBGH increases risk of developing cancer. They are clear that “The available evidence shows that the use of rBGH can cause adverse health effects in cows,” and “The increased use of antibiotics to treat rBGH-induced mastitis does promote the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

So perhaps the cancer connection with a single hormone used in the dairy industry is “inconclusive” but the connection to superbugs only draws attention to the much larger scope of impact spawned from dairy production.

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Dairy farms are responsible for an enormous amount of environmental concerns, largely in the form of waste run-off and air pollution. The average dairy farm houses around 130 cows,which produce a massive amount of feces. It takes around 150 gallons of water per cow, per day, just to clean the waste off milking parlor floors using an average flushing system, and that waste frequently finds its way into waterways, leading to a number of public health concerns. To name one example, dairy farming has been tied to “nitrate leaching,” where the excess nitrogen from manure makes its way into soil and effectively leaches nitrates into groundwater. This is concerning for people who live near farms as high-levels nitrates in drinking water can be damaging to health and have also been linked to “blue baby syndrome.”

Between the animal welfare, personal health, and environmental concerns linked with dairy production it seems absolutely absurd that the industry would try to promote itself as compassionate or concerned about diseases such as cancer. Frankly, this is a very poorly planned PR stint to redeem this dying industry – one of many we’ve seen in the past. The Hope for Hutches campaign states “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. We’re taking action.” We certainly hope that action is to transition all of their associated dairies into plant-based milk operations. 

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If you don’t want to support the cruel dairy industry (thankfully, milk consumption has been steadily declining by 25 percent per capita since the mid-1970s!), there are plenty of alternatives with superior nutrition profiles that you can choose from. Every day more and more delectable dairy-free options are appearing on supermarket shelves, which makes it easy as pie to help protect dairy calves and their moms!

Making milk using cows is inefficient and cruel – if we could choose better, why wouldn’t we?

Lead image source: Hutches for Hope

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