Americans aren’t drinking cow’s milk like they used to. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the overall consumption of cow’s milk has decreased by over 30 percent during the last four decades. And according to a new report, the number of people who identify as vegan has increased by 600 percent over just three years.

It looks like the popularity of almond and soy milk is here to stay. Here are seven likely reasons why people aren’t so into cow’s milk anymore:

1. People hate that cows in the dairy industry are abused and killed.

Cows on commercial dairy farms are often confined to massive, crowded, filthy barns or lots and forced to eat, walk, and sleep in their own feces. The highly stressful conditions lead to infections, lameness, and reproductive diseases. Even though cows have a natural lifespan of 20 years, cows on dairy farms are typically sent to slaughter by age 4 or 5.

2.  Cow’s milk is just plain gross.

dairy cow peta2 factory farming

You’ve probably heard that cow’s milk has pus in it. Let’s break down why:

Cows undergo genetic manipulation and are sometimes given hormones—all to make sure that each one produces more than 20,000 pounds of milk each year. Because of this excessive milk production, as well as filthy living conditions that breed bacteria, cows often get mastitis, or a painful inflammation of the udder, which can result in pus in the milk. In other words, a lot of the milk that cows produce has pus in it. Gross.

3. Cow’s milk isn’t healthy—for humans!

cow nursing

Just like human mothers, cows produce milk to feed their babies. Cow’s milk is meant for calves, not humans.

People who drink cow’s milk are at greater risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and a whole load of other health issues. Nor is it a good source of calcium, since animal protein causes it to leach from the bones. Other foods, including vegetables like spinach and kale, are loaded with calcium—and so is fortified vegan milk! #NotYourMomNotYourMilk

4. Stealing cow’s milk is undeniably cruel.

Jo-Anne McArthur | We Animals 

Cows on dairy farms are artificially inseminated by being placed in restraint devices called “rape racks.” After cows give birth, their calves are taken away when they’re just a day old. The milk that was supposed to be consumed by their young is instead consumed by humans. The vicious cycle is repeated each year until the cows’ milk production declines and they’re killed.

5. Drinking milk is SO 1955.

In the 1950s, people were advised to drink two to three glasses of milk a day. They also thought that smoking wasn’t bad for your health. We’ve since learned that smoking tobacco and drinking milk are bad for you, so it’s no surprise that milk consumption is waning.

6. Drinking milk hurts the environment.

Each cow raised by the dairy industry consumes more than 40 gallons of water each day. Manure from dairy farms in California, which produces the most milk in the U.S., has contaminated hundreds of square miles of groundwater, rivers, lakes, and streams. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, agricultural runoff is the primary cause of polluted waterways.

7. Plant-based milks are delish!

Not only is cow’s milk cruel, it’s also boring. With all the different types of plant-based milks available—including almond, coconut, soy, cashew, rice, oat, or hemp, in a variety of flavors—consumers have an endless selection to choose from.

The consumption of cow’s milk is going downhill. Let’s make drinking it a thing of the past and end cows’ needless suffering.

Check out peta2’s #NotYourMomNotYourMilk Campaign

Learn tips to help you break up with dairy products, and enter to win a year’s supply of vegan ice cream!