Harm is driven by consumer demand – thoughts about dairy

Most of us were raised to believe that we ‘needed’ to consume dairy to be healthy. We were also taught that taking milk didn’t harm cows. Many of us live our whole lives without ever challenging these childhood myths. The fantasy is reinforced in the media by the industry itself in what has up to now been a very effective way of keeping consumers oblivious to reality. When we do finally look at it with an open mind, not one of us can understand how long it took us to realise the horror of the industry that is driven by our demands as consumers.

Animal use is big business. Huge. ‘Dairy‘ is a business of commercialised reproduction. It is a business of forced pregnancy; a business of separating mothers and their babies, to facilitate the using of their hormonal secretions or breast-milk (commercially known as ‘milk’) as a commercial resource. This resource is sold for profit either as a liquid or as any one of the many substances we have become accustomed to consuming without the slightest thought: yogurt, ice cream, cheese, butter and so on.

There’s no way round this. All the ‘organic’, ‘grass fed’, ‘free range’ labels that we have been taught to look out for, do NOT prevent this underlying process from happening. For every defenceless mother trapped within our profit-maximising system of ruthless exploitation, her entire existence is one of forced impregnation, pregnancy, birth, separation from her infant, and daily subjugation to our sucking pumps and tanks. We drive this process with every purchase that we make.

For dairy mothers of all species, although still young, when their production of breastmilk falls below a commercially viable (i.e. making the maximum profit) level, their only escape from the relentless cycle is the clanging horror of a slaughterhouse where their poor, depleted bodies will become the cheapest of ‘meat’.

In 2016, 286,000,000 (286 million) dairy bovines, 20,500,000 (20.5 million) dairy goats, 30,000,000 (30 million) dairy sheep and 78,000,000 (78 million) dairy buffalo and camels were slaughtered. These numbers will include at least 21,000,000  (21 million) dairy calves killed as ‘waste products’ because their sole purpose for being brought into the world was to induce lactation in their mothers. Millions of additional calves and kids will have found their way into the ‘meat’ statistics not quoted here, as a consequence of being ‘fattened up’ for consumption.

Dairy doesn’t CAUSE harm – it IS harm. It’s a death sentence for this baby at the top of the page, for their siblings yet to be born and ultimately for their mother when she has nothing left for us to take.

Once we know this, there’s only one question that demands an answer. What am I, as an individual consumer, going to do about it? My answer made me vegan.


Statistics source: Food and Agriculture Organization – FAOSTAT Production – Livestock Primary – 2016.

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