When did milk become an ethical dilemma?

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately you’d know that there has been an uproar over dairy prices in Australia which are at record lows. People are out in droves buying milk and supporting our local farmers, and 891 ABC radio recently asked how milk became an ethical issue. And even more recently, Senator Nick Xenophon has proposed that the government pay to implement a free milk program for school kids.

It always has been an ethical issue, but not for the reasons that you think. I’d like to talk about the hidden victims of the dairy industry; the cows. It’s obvious, but people forget that, for a cow to produce milk, like any mammal, they have to be currently or recently pregnant. As a result, in order to produce the milk, they are often artificially inseminated, which is the most efficient way to get cows pregnant. It’s akin to rape, and animals are literally placed on ‘rape-racks’ to facilitate this process. Once the calves are born, they will want to drink that delicious milk, which of course is ours, so we take the calf away and either grow it for meat or have it killed. Once the dairy cow is too old to produce milk, they are slaughtered, usually for their flesh.

It’s not for any good reason either. Despite myths stating otherwise, milk from other species is quite harmful for humans, and leads to increased rates of osteoarthritis, and so Xenophon’s proposal is irresponsible and simply dangerous. Most humans are against exploiting animals for enjoyment, but somehow food animals are in a category of their own.

How did we get caught up in this hysteria around milk while forgetting the real victims of the situation? Luckily, there are at least a few who realise the insanity of the situation.

If you already recognise the horrors of the dairy industry, make your voice heard lest we start feeding our kids the product of torture, rape and suffering (I mean, what kind of lesson is that?). I might suggest writing your local politician, or write a letter to the editor in a newspaper. If this is totally news to you, I’d advise you to do some research.

Adapted from a submission to the Adelaide news publication The Advertiser.

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