If you knew what was In Your Glass Of Milk, Would you drink it?
If you knew what milk contains, you wouldn’t drink it. You also wouldn’t feed it to your children. Why does milk contain muck? It starts with milk production.
Cows are forced to achieve higher and higher milk outputs. In the 1960’s a cow produced an annual average of 1 500 litres of milk. Today that amount has risen to 10 000 litres and more.
Artificial hormones are used to promote growth on dairy farms. Bovine somatotropin, or bST, also known as rbGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), is used to increase milk production. Research indicates that animals treated with bST are more likely to suffer from mastitis, an infection of the mammary glands.
The huge industrial farms that house all of these cows are not the happy dairy farms that you might picture. The cows on these industrial farms never see a blade of grass. They aren’t even seen as cows.
The cows are objects who are exploited because their bodies can have babies and they can produce milk. That is done with callous, uncaring, inhumane brutality.
Because of the constant pregnancies, birthing and milking, the cows usually have mastitis. This is an extremely painful bacterial infection of the udder. Ask any breastfeeding human mother exactly how painful that is.
Mastitis causes pus to leach into the milk. It can’t be helped, so a certain amount of pus, and also of cow poo, in your milk is considered legal.
The majority of hormones found in milk and other dairy products include:
• Prolactin • Corticoids • Androgens • Estrogen • Progesterone • The naturally occurring female sex hormone estradiol
Milk also includes the natural male sex hormone testosterone, as well as three man-made chemicals trenbolone acetate, melengesterol acetate and zeranol.
While naturally occurring, the hormones found in dairy foods do have biological effects in both humans and animals. Sex hormones are part of animal metabolism, thus any product derived from an animal source will contain these hormones. The side effects of consuming these hormones ranges from possible growth promotion (related to sex steroids) to carcinogenic effects.
Dairy milk contains poo, pus and blood. In pasteurised milk, they are still there. Only, they were heated. This only minimised the effect of their germs. It didn’t remove them.
So, what is pus? Pus is the thick, greenish or yellowish liquid that infected tissue produces.
This thick ooze, as well as blood, floats in the glass of milk you greedily down. They drift in your milky, comforting cuppa. And they are in the milk you liberally pour over your cereal.
Along with them, there is something else in milk. This also comes from the rear end of a dairy cow. It is excrement. Call it faeces. Cow dung. Poo.
Now, also think about the chocolate that melts in your mouth, the butter on your toast, the cheese on your crackers, the yellow yoghurt and the pink ice cream you love. All of these contain the blood and pus from the sore, raw, bleeding, oozing, infected udder of a cow.
Plus, the loose, smelly stuff that the cows excreted during milking, are in your delicacies.
So, you are drinking and eating and loving stuff from the rear end of the dairy cow. Gross, isn’t it?
To make matters worse, these aren’t the only things in milk and dairy products. They are also brimful with tears and grieving, pain and torture, brutality and death. All of this is what dairy cows all over the world – even in so-called first-world, civilised countries – have to endure for you to have their milk
A dairy cow produces about 70 litres of poo each day. About seven litres of that comes out during milking. There is poo on the milking machine, on the hands and arms of the workers and on the ground. It comes as no surprise that some of it ends up in the milk itself.
Because this can’t be helped, the milk industry accepts a certain amount of these contaminants in the milk they sell. In America, the Food and Drug Administration allows up to 750 million pus cells in every litre of milk. In Europe, 400 million pus cells per litre are allowed. In Australia, as in many other countries, there is no limit.
But, even in Australia, in 2016 some pasteurised milk products were recalled because they were too contaminated with coliforms. Coliforms are bacteria found in the colons of animals: to be exact, in their poo.
This microbial bacteria was described as “in excess of quality standards”. This doesn’t mean that there was poo, but that there was too much poo.
Most animal milk is likely to contain harmful bacteria.
Also, in February 2020, Australia recalled some dairy products because they might have been contaminated by E Coli (Escheicia Coli). E Coli is a type of intestine bacteria. Some strains can cause diarrhoea, food poisoning, cramps, vomiting and pneumonia.
Other harmful bacteria one finds in milk, are campylobacter and listeria. Campylobacteriosis is a disease that transmits to humans from animals or their products. Listeriosis comes from contaminated food or fluids. Both can cause symptoms such as fever, nausea and diarrhoea.
Pasteurisation makes milk safer. But does one really want milk that had to be heated to kill the bacteria from poo, pus and blood? Even if the dairy industry says it won’t kill you? Will you feed it to your family?
Dairy cows and their calves die for us to drink their milk. And during the short time that they are alive, their suffering is beyond comprehension.
Many of us believe that there is no harm in milk and dairy products. We reason that nobody died for our joghurt, chocolate, cheese or milk in our tea.
We couldn’t be more wrong
In truth, there is so much brutality and agony in these products that every sip and bite is drenched in tears and blood.
It is time we learn about the bad side of dairy.
Growing up with it
Who doesn’t order a milkshake to go with their burger? Who isn’t crazy about chocolate? Who can’t wait to have another messy-runny toasted cheese?
Nobody, I guess. I, for one, wanted everything that was dairy smooth, extra cheesy, buttery, creamier than creamy.
Hot summer days were better when I could lick the sticky sweetness of melting ice cream off my fingers.
Then I found out what was in my glass of milk.
Think of women. Of oneself maybe, or one’s mother, wife, daughter. A human female only produces milk if she is nursing – if she has had a baby.
Female cows too can only supply the milk you pour over your porridge after they have had a baby, a calf.
You may think about the jersey cow on your grandfather’s farm, who nurses her calf and also lovingly lets you milk her.
But that jersey gave, say, a bucket of milk at a time. Enough for use in the farm house. In our supermarkets there are rows and rows of milk bottles on rows and rows of shelves. There are billions of supermarkets all over the world.
That means a whole lot of milk.
On these huge dairy farms calves are being born virtually all the time.
The births aren’t caring, kind, loving occasions. PETA investigations have shown that farm workers kick, whip, and jab labouring mother cows and others who had just given birth. Eyewitnesses also filmed workers attaching chains to unborn calves’ legs when their mothers had difficulty giving birth and yanking the babies out of their birth canals, causing the labouring cows to cry out.
Dairy cows give birth to one calf per year.
In nature a cow nurses her calf between nine and twelve months. In the natural, kind world she forms a lifelong bond with her calf and teaches it life lessons. If possible she and her children remain in the same herd.
This doesn’t happen on industrialised dairy farms, where we get our carefully bottled and labelled milk from. On these farms the calf is taken away from its mother after only two days; sometimes sooner.
We want her milk, remember. It isn’t for her baby.
Cows have the same emotions as we do, and they can express them. That makes them sentient beings, just like we are.
When a cow’s baby is taken away, she grieves. It lasts a long time. She paces, continuously bellows, cries tears, rams her body into the bars of her pen, trying to break out. She refuses water and food and gets malnourished.
Just like human babies, the calves cry for the mothers. They don’t do that for long, however. They don’t live that long.
Calves who are only a few days old are taken to slaughterhouses to be killed for veal. Some are sold to beef farms where they are raised to be killed for beef.
If a new-born is weak, it is killed there and then. In countries like Australia they are hit on the head with a hammer until they die. Every year thousands of calves are killed like this.
Usually only one female calf per cow is raised at the dairy farm to replace the mother when she can no longer be of use. That calf is raised on artificial milk.
In nature a cow lives for 20 years.
Dairy cows are slaughtered after about four years. That is when their abused bodies can no longer take the strain of their unnatural, agonizing life.
Sometimes the cows are killed because they get lame. Their legs buckle under their unnaturally heavy udders. Or their joints and hooves pain and get inflamed from the constant standing on cement.
When that happens and they can’t walk, they are dragged by tractors or pushed by bulldozers to their slaughter.
After their calves have been taken away from them, the distraught mother cows are hooked up to milking machines two or more times a day. The cows are nothing more than milking machines themselves. They get milked for as long as they live.
To give milk, all of these cows must be pregnant, and they must get so again and again.
Unfortunately, in between the pregnancies calves are born. The farms don’t want them. Only the cow mothers do, and the calves want their mothers. But they don’t have a say in the matter.
To get these cows pregnant, they suffer artificial insemination. This happens in what is known as rape racks. Do we really want to let that thought sink in?
A cow carries her calf for nine months, just like a human female. She has her first baby when she is two years old. For the next few years of her miserable life she is continually impregnated.
Worldwide the dairy industry performs more than 130 million artificial inseminations per year.
Bull studs or artificial insemination centers usually “collect” semen from bulls. It happens two or three times per week, with each bull having two or three ejaculations per day.
It takes three people to do the semen collection. One handles a teaser, one controls the bull and the other collects the semen in an artificial vagina (AV).
The teasers are normally trained steers. A steer is a young, castrated male – when it is older, it is called an ox.
The steer stands in front of the bull and is manipulated to arouse it, as a cow would. Once aroused, the bull mounts the steer. It is called false mounting.
When the bull’s penis is erect, it is ready for ejaculation. Then the “collector” guides its penis towards the artificial vagina. The bull thrusts into it until it ejaculates.
The artificial vagina consists of a tube with an inner lining, that is lubricated before use. On the outside of the tube is a rubber pouch that warm holds water.
From the collection centre, the semen goes to a laboratorium. Dairy farms buy it from there.
The bull can also be aroused by masturbating the penis or the inside of the rectum. Electrical impulses are sometimes used.
Usually cows are artificially inseminated again within three months after giving birth.
The dairy industry can be considered crueler even than the meat industry, because of the psychological, sexual and physical abuse that occurs prior to slaughter.
Video: Peta: The life of a cow (on a dairy farm)
Slaughterhouses are required to stun dairy cows unconscious with a blow to the head before bleeding them to death. It isn’t always successful. Conscious cows are then hung upside down, kicking and struggling because they are in pain and scared. Then they experience more brutality to stun them. Often their throats are sliced whether or not they are unconscious.
“Worldwide 65 billion animals are slaughtered annually. That makes more than 2 000 animals per second.” –
H.O.P.E. – It matters what you eat
The excessive use of water in the dairy industry makes it bad for the planet. It takes 5 000 litres of water to produce just 1kg of cheese.
I have this memory: I am drinking a cream soda float at a scuffed light green Formica table. It is in The President, the only cafe in the small town I grew up in. A blob of ice cream is bobbing on green cool drink, melting into a sweeter-than-sweet childhood delight.
I lived in a world with endearing advertisements of boys with a milk moustache. Muscled men posed with glasses of milk. Pretty ladies received boxes of dairy chocolate as gifts. In my tea was full cream milk, I had crackers with soft cheese triangles, pink joghurt.
We had milk, and everything was all right with the world.
I couldn’t imagine living without it. Not then.
Now there is rice milk in my fridge. I eat coconut milk chocolate. I make cashew nut cheese.
Something has happened that shattered to pieces the idyllic pictures I had harboured for so long: of smiling, bouncing cows on daisy-dotted fields, of clever cows that eat green grass and make white milk.
I had become aware of something.
Even after learning about this abuse, I didn’t become a strict vegan overnight. I ate vegan cheese, for instance, and yet often had dairy chocolate. I didn’t check labels and bought biscuits containing milk.
Now I realise how easy it is to shun dairy. Non-dairy products taste better and are better for one’s health.
If one is ready to do so, you’ll change your lifestyle. If not, why not sometimes be kind to the cows and their calves? Mix plant milk into your pancake batter. Buy coconut joghurt. Next time, order an almond milk cappuccino.
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight.” –