There are countless reasons why everyone should really stop consuming dairy foods. Don’t worry—I’m not telling you to cut back on ice cream and pizza. I’m just here to give you the top 8 reasons why you should switch over to the (even more delicious) dairy-free versions of these foods.
1. Cows used for their milk are slaughtered.
I’m not only talking about the older cows, whose necks are cut when they’re “spent.” Male calves are taken from their moms on the same day that they’re born and sold for veal.
If you’re not familiar with veal, it’s the meat that comes from baby cows who are forced to spend their short lives in tiny crates. The absurdly small enclosures are designed to ensure that the calves can’t exercise and grow muscles so that their flesh can be used for tender “gourmet” meat.
2. Calves suffer when they’re torn away from their moms.
It’s not only the male calves who are taken from their moms shortly after birth. Even female babies are torn away from their moms within their first day of life so that humans can consume the milk intended for them instead. If humans weren’t involved, these babies would nurse from their mothers for a full year—that’s longer than many humans breastfeed.
And that’s not all. One veterinary studied showed that, if given the chance, “cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship.” Can you imagine being separated from your mom as a baby and forced into a miserably abusive life? Mother cows are often heard calling for their calves for days after they’ve been taken away.
3. There’s horrifying abuse involved in the dairy process.
Cows endure extreme abuse on many dairy farms. They’re artificially inseminated shortly after their first birthday—which means that a human shoves his or her hand into the cow’s rectum to orient her uterus and then forces an instrument filled with semen into her vagina. This happens every 10 months for the rest of her life. Gag.
Eyewitness footage has caught workers kicking cows and jabbing them with pocketknives as well as beating them with crowbars and stabbing them with pitchforks.
4. Cows on dairy farms suffer from extreme neglect.
Some cows spend their entire lives standing on concrete floors. Others are confined to extremely crowded lots, where they’re forced to live in their own poop. One dairy farm was shut down when it was discovered that the cows were forced to stand, sleep, and EAT in their own knee-deep waste.
Cows have a natural lifespan of about 20 years and can produce milk for eight or nine years. But the stress caused by conditions on factory farms leads to disease and other issues that cause cows to be considered worthless to the dairy industry by the time they’re 4 or 5 years old, at which point they’re slaughtered.
5. Dairy production is helping to ruin the environment.
It’s true—dairy farms are polluting our water, air, and land. In California, America’s top milk-producing state, manure from dairy farms has poisoned hundreds of miles of groundwater, rivers, and streams. That’s because each cow (of the 1 million cows on the state’s dairy farms) produces 18 gallons of poop every day. There’s just nowhere else for it to go.
Plus, the dairy industry is the primary cause of smog-forming pollutants in California. A single cow emits more of these harmful gasses than a car does. You’re probably starting to wonder, “Hmm … what use are car smog tests in California when people can still eat massive amounts of dairy foods without any restrictions?” GOOD QUESTION.
Finally, two-thirds of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food or to grow grain to feed them. And each cow raised by the dairy industry consumes as much as 40 gallons of water per day—and we wonder why California can’t kick this drought. Basically, you can’t honestly call yourself an environmentalist if you consume dairy foods.
6. It’s meant for calves, not humans.
Seriously. Apart from humans, no species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species. The purpose of cow’s milk is to meet the nutritional needs of baby cows. Mind = blown. These baby cows have four stomachs and need to gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months—I’ve never met a human who had this same goal.
Most humans begin to produce less lactase (the enzyme that helps with milk digestion) when they’re as young as 2 years old. That’s because, errrm, we’re not supposed to need milk after that. #NotYourMomNotYourMilk
7. Dairy foods are unhealthy for humans.
Human bodies fight cow’s milk. According to the American Gastroenterological Association, cow’s milk is the number one food allergy among infants and children. Not to mention—millions of Americans are lactose intolerant.
A U.K. study showed that people who suffered from irregular heartbeats, asthma, headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems “showed marked and often complete improvements in their health after cutting milk from their diets.”
Dairy milk is also super-high in cholesterol. A single serving can contain as much as 24 mg of cholesterol, whereas dairy-free milks have none. Also, multiple studies have shown that the consumption of cow’s milk was linked to an increase in acne. Yikes.
8. We can get more than enough protein and calcium from vegan foods.
Nuts, seeds, yeast, grains, and beans and other legumes are extremely high in protein. And eating too much animal protein has been linked to the development of endometrial, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. In terms of calcium, black-eyed peas, soy milk, sesame seeds, kale, seaweed, white beans, and tons of other plant-based foods are full of it.
Whether you’re stunned by these statistics or just sick of having all these facts regurgitated at you, stop consuming dairy foods. Countless suffering cows, the environment, and your own body will all be better for it.