That’s what we thought, too. But there is actually more suffering and death in a glass of milk than a piece of steak. This is because the veal industry is a byproduct of the dairy industry.
Cows are like all mammals in that they produce breast milk for their young. In order for a cow to produce milk, she must be pregnant and give birth. It’s funny how easily we forget this. We convince ourselves that cows just conveniently produce milk for the taking.
A dairy cow is constantly impregnated so that she will continue to produce milk. Her milk never reaches her baby, but is instead pumped out of her for human consumption. A cow is pregnant for 9 months. If she gives birth to a male, he is considered useless to the dairy industry. What happens to him? He is immediately taken from his mother and is sold and slaughtered as veal.
Cows form strong bonds with one another, particularly between mother and child. As Michael Klaper M.D. recalls: “The very saddest sound in all my memory was burned into my awareness at age five on my uncle’s dairy farm in Wisconsin. A cow had given birth to a beautiful male calf… On the second day after birth, my uncle took the calf from the mother and placed him in the veal pen in the barn– only ten yards away, in plain view of his mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth– minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days– were excruciating to listen to. They are the most poignant and painful auditory memories I carry in my brain.”
A dairy cow’s life is spent mourning the loss of baby after baby as she continues to be impregnated so humans can consume her milk. And she too is destined for the same horrific slaughter when her body has finally become too ravaged and overworked by constant pregnancy to continue producing milk.
We were slow to realize the direct connection between dairy products and the veal industry. But once it clicked, we were eager to stop consuming dairy. With all the dairy-free milks, cheeses, and yogurts out there, this was an incredibly easy change.
Why choose to contribute to such suffering when it’s so easy to make less harmful choices?
For a great list of commercially available non-dairy milks click here.
Also, see my post about why you don’t need cow’s milk for calcium here.
And go to my FAQ section for advice how to transition off dairy.