Just as a reminder, dairy is the impregnation of female mammals followed by the removal of their infants so that the lactation their bodies produce for these infants may be pumped out and sold for use by humans. That is the fundamental principle of dairy. We can set the practice in a factory farm, a ‘family’ farm, an organic, free range feel-good farm; it can take place in barns or in feedlots or rolling pastures. We can feed our victims grass or any substance that keeps them alive until we’re ready to send them to the slaughter-house that will be their only escape, but the fundamental principle remains. That is what dairy IS.
As consumers become more aware of the practices that constitute the industry that we know as ‘dairy’, it becomes clear that a word we all once thought of as ‘wholesome’, ‘natural’ and even ‘necessary’ is actually none of these things. The word disguises commercialised reproduction, the corruption of motherhood and the selling of defenceless, innocent lives by the litre. The word ‘dairy’ deceptively veils a process that is so inherently violent and harrowing that when we are first made aware of it, we struggle to comprehend how we could have remained oblivious for so long; that we could ever have accepted it as ‘normal’.
Many others feel as I have felt, bewildered and incredulous at their own lack of curiosity despite considering themselves to be intelligent and perceptive in other areas of their lives. As a mother myself, one who has breastfed her two infants, it is a sobering realisation that even the profundity of that experience, awareness of the biological processes that triggered it, combined with unshakeable knowledge that lactation is specific to each mammalian species, was insufficient to wake me to my past complicity in the atrocity that is ‘dairy’.
The victims of dairy
However even as awareness of the plight of our dairy victims spreads at last, there is a tendency to assume that this rapacious industry involves only cows and their calves, but this is definitely not the case. Any species is considered fair game by our own if there’s an opportunity for money to be made; we apparently have no scruples whatsoever about the completely unnecessary subjugation of the vulnerable, ignoring their right to live unharmed in favour of our own self-interest as consumers, and/or the commercial advantage to be gained from supplying our demands. So cows and their calves are used (as are bulls); and sheep and their lambs (and rams); and goats and their kids (and bucks); buffalo and other species too, depending on where we live, as this is a global issue.
So surely taking milk from goats is okay…?
So despite our increased awareness, a myth persists that using goats for their milk is somehow more ethically acceptable than using cows for theirs; a perception that goats’ milk may somehow be obtained without harming the victims and that we somehow ‘need’ to consume some form of dairy product.
Put bluntly, there is a lingering idea that weaned humans somehow require to switch species for a continuing supply of breast milk for our wellbeing. When we put it in those terms, it becomes clear what a thorough brainwashing job has been done on us all for us to believe such utter nonsense. I know I find my thoughts straying back time and time again in frustration to seek the source of the catastrophic deception that took so many years for me to see though. But I digress.
This short blog highlighting the plight of dairy mother goats whose bodies are used until they break, whose beloved infants are taken from them to become replacements for them or to be killed for their flesh, and whose treasured lives end in our slaughterhouses because of our unhealthy obsession with their milk, was prompted by a recent comment by my great friend Sandra Higgins of Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary and the groundbreaking Go Vegan World campaign. I was moved and inspired by her insightful words and the video that accompanied them:
The question is not how the animals are treated but that we think they are ours to use. By using them for dairy we take their whole life from beginning to end, and make that life’s purpose serve our desires. Cheese and other dairy products are unnecessary for human health; in fact there is a growing body of evidence that links their consumption to human illness. But more importantly, the standard practice entailed in human consumption of the milk lactated by goats to feed their children is abhorrent, even when the best welfare standards are adhered to.
Please watch this non-graphic video. It does not contain the usual scenes of “cruelty”, or “ill treatment”. It merely shows standard practice.
Ask yourself if this is acceptable. Ask yourself if the taste of goat’s milk or cheese can ever be worth the price they pay.’
I know what my answer to that question is. The answer made me vegan. Let your answer do the same. Be vegan.
Links about dairy goats (ongoing):
Present status of the world goat populations and their productivity: http://lohmann-information.de/content/l_i_45_artikel17.pdf
Number in the UK – 33,000 https://www.sruc.ac.uk/info/120183/alternative_livestock/276/dairy_goats
Number in the US 373,000 https://www.agmrc.org/commodities-products/livestock/goats/dairy-goats/