Is dairy milk becoming a thing of the past? For teens today, it just might be. A recent government survey has shown that those in the U.S. are drinking less milk. Less than one-third of high school students drink a glass of milk each day. That number used to be almost one-half nearly two decades ago. The survey also revealed that fewer teens are having sex and doing drugs.

Other studies have shown that Americans have been drinking less milk since World War II, and it seems as if the leaders of tomorrow are carrying this trend forward. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the overall consumption of cow’s milk has decreased by over 30 percent in the last four decades, and dairy companies are getting so desperate that they’re sneaking cheese into as much fast food as they can. While trends haven’t necessarily shown that teens today are healthier than those in the past (kids are consuming more beverages with caffeine and sugar), they may hint that supporting dairy farms isn’t considered to be cool anymore.

If you’re still consuming cow’s milk, here are a few reasons why it’s time to ditch dairy:

1. Cows in the dairy industry endure miserable lives.

crowded dairy farm cows in feed lot

Cows on dairy farms are often confined to crowded, filthy barns or lots and are forced to eat, walk, and sleep in their own feces. These conditions are very stressful and lead to infections, lameness, and reproductive diseases. As a result, these cows typically are sent to the slaughterhouse by age 4 or 5, which is just one-fifth of their natural lifespan.

2. Drinking milk supports the veal industry.

We Animals | Jo-Anne McArthur 

Since male calves can’t be used by the dairy industry, they’re either immediately sent to the slaughterhouse or used for veal. Those used for veal are confined to extremely tiny cages so that their flesh stays tender, and they’re purposefully fed a diet low in iron so that their flesh remains pale. Life for these calves is short, painful, and utterly miserable.

3. Milk is seriously gross.

dairy cow mastitis udders circled

Ever wonder why people have said that cow’s milk has pus in it? Cows exploited for their milk have undergone genetic manipulation and sometimes receive hormones so that each one produces more than 20,000 pounds of milk each year. When you add in the ridiculous production demands and the filthy living conditions, the result is that cows often get mastitis, which is a painful inflammation of the udders. This can lead to pus forming in their milk. Ew!

4. Cow’s milk is meant for cows, not humans.

Like human mothers, cows produce milk to feed their babies. Not only is stealing their milk cruel, it’s also unhealthy for humans. People who drink it are more likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other health issues.

Plus, the ongoing myth that cow’s milk is a good source of calcium is just that—a myth! Other foods like dark, leafy greens and fortified vegan milk have tons of calcium.

5. Vegan milk is extremely tasty.

With so many kinds of plant-based milks available, there are many options to choose from. You can have your favorite vegan milk—like almond, soy, or coconut—experiment with cashew, oat, or hemp milks, or create your own delicious blend.

We couldn’t be more excited that teens are consuming less milk these days. Let’s make drinking it a thing of the past!

Tell Dairy Queen That You Want Vegan Options!