The dairy industry illusion

Trigger warning: Mentions of animal cruelty, bodily fluids and slaughter.

As a vegan, I have come to realize the deceptiveness of the dairy industry. They sell lies through lively, brightly colored and persuasive commercials or advertisements

The purpose of spreading the word about abuse in the dairy industry isn’t just to preach about adopting a vegan lifestyle. It is to unveil the reality that dairy products are not so nutritious anymore compared to their plant-based alternatives.

I never truly understood the importance of being vegan or vegetarian when I was younger — I grew up in a household that loved Saturday barbecues and having milk every morning with our cereal. 

Learning about the dairy industry’s practices of animal cruelty was what prompted my switch. I came across a documentary about humans working in dairy farms that were overworking their cows and causing severe trauma to innocent animals.

I remember crying as I thought about the amount of money I had put into supporting such an industry. I decided to change my ways by educating myself and those around me about the harassment animals go through on a daily basis.

A 2021 article from The Humane League (THL) stated that cows are brutally killed at age 2 for meat consumption. On top of this, cows in the dairy industry are forcibly impregnated to satisfy the world’s desire for milk. Once a calf is born, it is taken away from the mother immediately, and the mother is not able to grieve the loss of her child. Instead, the cow is forced through life-threatening machines that pull at their sensitive udders all day, every day for two years until the cow is impregnated again.

“Cows are trapped in an endless cycle of pregnancy which forces their bodies to produce the largest amounts of milk possible,” a THL article said. “These practices, combined with the conditions on factory farms, give rise to numerous physical problems in cows that often result in chronic and debilitating pain.”

The act of removing a calf from its mother is inhumane and cruel. In addition to this trauma, THL article also states that most calves aren’t allowed to live the full 15-to-20-year life expectancy of most cows. 

Not only are animals exposed to diseases that eventually kill them, humans are repeatedly seen beating and intentionally killing the cows at the dairy farms. Animal Outlook released a video in 2020 exposing graphic pictures and videos of cows on a farm being beaten with metal rods, and dead animals lying around the farm. 

The dairy industry has been proven to trick its consumers into thinking that cows can produce rapid amounts of milk naturally on their own. In reality, cows are terribly overmilked to force the cows to lactate.

Sonja Swenson, a research coordinator at the Centers for Health Policy and Primary Care, often reports on animal rights issues. She conducted an interview with Dan Shannon, coordinator of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s 2002 “Got Pus?” campaign. 

 Shannon asserted poor living conditions for cows, in which they are forced to “produce four to 10 times the amount of milk they are naturally supposed to,” increases levels of pus in their milk. 

Shannon also told Swenson that the stress on the cows’ bodies could weaken immunity to diseases such as mastitis, an inflammation of the udder, leading to higher amounts of pus in milk.

In this case, how on earth has cow milk passed FDA tests and nutritious studies on milk? 

Especially in 2003, when demand for milk was even higher, cows were brutally overmilked as much as they are today. This caused not only the cows’ health to deteriorate, but also bacteria, blood and pus to build up in “safe-to-consume” everyday milk. 

The New York Times reported the FDA was in a feud with the dairy industry when testing milk for traces of drugs or any other unsuitable products traced in store-bought milk. 

The FDA stated in the article that they were concerned that the meat residues around the dairy farms could actually result in drug residues in the milk they were producing. In response to the press, the FDA document also reported milk sold to consumers was inherently safe for consumption.

People often look away from commercials or documentaries when they begin to talk about the behind-the-scenes cruelty of the dairy industry. Still, they chow down on cheese curds that, despite being loaded with all kinds of terrible ingredients, have been marketed to brainwash the consumer. Even after witnessing acts of inhumanity within the dairy industry, people across the world don’t consider these findings and fall for industry giants' illusions. I implore consumers to educate themselves on these unethical practices as much as possible, as these schemes will only continue to persist.

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