Thursday, April 24, 2014
The Big Dark Myth of Dairy
Having spent a year of my life as a vegan, having spent 16 years as a vegetarian and still existing now as an occasional fish eater only. . . I've been where the animal rights folks are. I know the off-kilter thinking that leads people that way. The road to many a silly or bad thing is paved with good intentions, they say.
I've been a farmer type for over 5 years now. I've struggled with it. . .had times I couldn't resign the animal activist in me to the farm life. . .
Careful, long consideration put me where I am now: A strong believer in a circle of life that works with nature, that is sustainable and gives a kind life while one does live, whether it be for a long or short time. One that knows there is hierarchy in place in the natural kingdom that makes sense if we will be still and just watch and learn.
I digress. This isn't a vegan or an omnivore debate. That isn't where this posts goes, so do not make the mistake and take it there -
This is about animal rights activists posting things they know nothing about, misleading people. . .at no point does helping others need to cross into making up fiction. I know. I do rescue. Real rescue. The truth is enough, folks.
I just read this little snipped on a share post with a photo of a calf an animal rights organization says they lost.
It talks about how all dairy calves (ALL) are considered waste by farmers and how they are all thrown away and shipped to slaughter within days of being born. That all cows go to the milk parlor broken and defeated. It painted the milking process as painful, really. That all the milk is stolen from these cows that should have went to the calves. . .they picture an older, healthy looking calf that they say they lost because he didn't get colostrum. Hmmm.
It ends with some line about how milk shouldn't be stolen from cows for people.
This is factually untrue on many levels. These folks have no idea what they are speaking about. They spin the story however they like and those with no idea about the food process believe it and chime in with support.
Why? Why do Americans have no more an idea of what it takes to create food than this?
Even in basic factory farm conditions, these things aren't likely to take place. I'm as opposed to factory farms as anyone that ever lived, but many dairies that sell to major milk buyers, like Kraft, are tiny little Mom and Pop operations that run nothing like this. Many. Even on the worst of dairy farms, where many atrocious things do happen, the idea that a cow giving 20 gallons of milk a day, 19 gallons more than the calf can use, is having her milk stolen, that a machine milking her is abuse (which most cows prefer as it is gentler than hand milking) or that all calves are considered waste isn't true.
These people do not even have enough sense to know you cannot NOT milk a Holstein cow. They do not know enough about a dairy cow to realize the cow would die in short order if left on the cow and no human intervened at all.
Further, on most farms, not even a word of what they write is true.
Many bull calves are sold to be bottle raised for family beef. I know a tremendous number of people who buy and humanely raise these calves for 18-24 months on local farms every single year - the steers enjoy many days of grass and sunshine. Not waste, not mistreated. . .functional, sustainable and living the good life for a time. . .
All I could think was . . . maybe if this activist group had enough sense to call a "wicked" dairy farmer, they could have given them the frozen colostrum, if they REALLY needed it, as we have enough sense to keep it, and maybe then they could have saved the calf they "rescued." But no one cared to call a farmer. . . just like no one cared to ask if their rhetoric was true. We might also have told them the calf pictured was no where near newborn age. . .and that something else was wrong.
What happens on factory farms is bad enough - there is no reason to lump all farms together or make up nonsense.
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens
- Proverbs 27:23-27