Warning this is a strong opinion piece Since I’ve become a mother I feel more deeply connected to other mothers of all species. That bond of parent and child is obvious from elephants to kittens. It’s a protective, nurturing force that is so powerful it can be bewildering.
After reading Carol Adams book The Sexual Politics of Meat, I was moved by one of the images in her book that was a poster with a tearful cow on it that read, “Milk comes from a grieving mother”. It struck a chord in me that took me back to all my years of researching the horrors of the factory farming industry that eventually lead me to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. Not only did the cows have their babies taken away after they were born, this process was repeated over and over again throughout the lives of these poor animals until they where “spent” and wound up as fast-food burgers. The females are injected with bull semen by machines that violate their vaginas, forcing their wombs to bear another life so that we can harvest the milk that is intended to nourish their offspring. And for what? we are exploiting the reproductive organs of these sentient beings because “it tastes good” or because we’re addicted and “can’t live with out cheese”? To me this falls short of an enlightened human consciousness that we are supposed to be moving towards. Call me crazy but I think coconut milk ice cream is pretty damn good.
Even small-scale organic dairy operations have the “by-product” of male baby calves to deal with, most of whom end up being butchered after spending a short miserable existence in a veal crate. The sadness is incredibly difficult to witness. I’ve seen countless videos of mama and baby crying for each other as they are separated. Shortly after giving birth the mother’s udders are hooked up to sucking machines that often leave them swollen and infected. And for any nursing moms who have ever used a breast pump can attest that it can be pretty painful. Imagine having one hooked to your body all day? even if you are bleeding and have mastitis? Never mind the hormones and pasteurization which basically renders the milk carcinogenic and nearly impossible for you body to digest.
According to the China study the protein casein found in cow’s milk is linked to tumor growth in other mammals including humans. So unless you’re getting raw dairy from your neighbor’s cow who milks it by hand in-between the nursing calf who is allowed to grow up and live in a grassy pasture in the sun, I would enjoy a glass of non-dairy milk instead. Let us allow these dear sisters to be free from the exploitation of their bodies for the sake of profit and indulgence. There is enough sexual abuse, rape and disrespect of the feminine in the world, we don’t need to pour it over our breakfast cereal before heading off to work.