Though dairy is a popular product, there seem to be many untold secrets. Many of us are unaware of the cruelty in the dairy farms, the dangers of consuming dairy, as well as the environmental impact. It is time we address the truth!
A Life of Enslavement
Trapped in a cycle of forced impregnation, perpetual lactation and near constant confinement, dairy cows are treated like machines. At about 1 years old, female cows are artificially inseminated on something the dairy industry calls “rape racks”. After giving birth, they lactate for 10 months and are then inseminated again, continuing the cycle. Some spend their entire lives standing on concrete floors; others are confined to massive, crowded lots, where they are forced to live amid their own feces. In the wild, cows can enjoy up to about 20 years of life and can produce milk for about 9 years.  However, the stress caused by the conditions on factory farms leads to disease, lameness, and reproductive problems that render cows worthless to the dairy industry by the time that they’re 4 or 5 years old, at which time they are sent to be slaughtered.[2,3]
While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are often taken away from their mothers when they are as young as 1 day old to be chained in tiny stalls for three to 18 weeks and raised for veal.[4,5] Calves raised for veal are fed a milk substitute (because the milk is sold to humans) that is designed to make them gain at least 2 pounds per day, and their diet is purposely low in iron so that their flesh stays pale as a result of anemia.[6,7]
Death; Piece by Piece
The cows who survived the dairy industry face a hellish trip to the slaughterhouse. They are crammed onto trucks where they typically go without food, water, or rest during the journey which can last days. Of those animals who arrive at the slaughterhouse healthy enough to walk, many are frightened and don’t want to leave the truck, so they are shocked with electric prods or dragged off with chains. A worker, Martin Fuentes, says many animals are still alive and conscious for as long as seven minutes after their throats have been cut. You see, the industry makes more money the more animals it kills, so workers who stop to alert officials to abuses at their slaughterhouse risk losing their jobs. The meat industry thrives on a workforce made up largely of impoverished and exploited workers, many of them immigrants who can never complain about poor working conditions or cruelty to animals for fear of being deported.
Nobody can dispute that cow’s milk is an excellent food source for calves. Weighing around 60-100 pounds at birth, a calf typically gains approximately eight times its weight by the time it is weaned. Cow’s milk is designed to nourish a 60 pound calf so that he or she grows into a 1000-2000 pounds cow. Each mammalian species has its own “designer” milk, and cow’s milk is no exception. For example, cow’s milk contains on average three times the amount of protein than human milk which creates metabolic disturbances in humans that have detrimental bone health consequences.  This “baby cow growth formula” is loaded with hormones, lipids, and proteins specifically designed for a baby cow. In fact only 25% of our world population can digest cow’s milk, which makes sense! 
In fact, in a 12-year Harvard study of 78,000 women, those who drank milk three times a day actually broke more bones than women who rarely drank milk. The countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis are the ones where people drink the most milk and have the most calcium in their diets.
Milk Consumption is linked with Cancers
The China Study concluded that casein, the protein found abundantly in cow’s milk, is the most significant carcinogen we are exposed to in our lifetime. According to the American journal of clinical nutrition, in observational studies higher dairy intake has been linked to increased risk of prostate cancer and ovarian cancer.
Other Health Disadvantages
- Cow’s milk protein may play a role in triggering type 1 diabetes through a process called molecular mimicry.
- Across countries, populations that consume more dairy have higher rates of multiple sclerosis.
- In interventional animal experiments and human studies, dairy protein has been shown to increase IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor-1) levels. Increased levels of IGF-1 has now been implicated in several cancers.
- In interventional animal experiments and human experiments, dairy protein has been shown to promote increased cholesterol levels (in the human studies and animal studies) and atherosclerosis (in the animal studies).
- The primary milk protein (casein) promotes cancer initiated by a carcinogen in experimental animal studies.
- D-galactose has been found to be pro-inflammatory and actually is given to create animal models of aging.
- Higher milk intake is linked to acne.
- Milk intake has been implicated in constipation and ear infections (cited in ).
Like other animal products, dairy production is a huge waste of resources. In fact according to the water footprint network, it takes 1000 gallons of water to produce 1 gallon of milk. And almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese. In addition, a US Dairy Cows, produces 120 lbs of waste per day. Now that’s one cow. If you multiply that by the 9 million cows, that’s 1.08 BILLION pounds of waste in just one day. The dairy industry like all other animal agriculture is putting our planet in unnecessary danger. A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000.
Transition to Compassion
Though cutting foods from our diet can seem like a huge change, realize that this has to do with protecting our planet, caring for animals, and preventing diseases. Making the transition to dairy free, has never been easier in countries like the US. Today at local grocery stores, there are loads of plant based milks such as almond, soy, cashew, oat, hemp ,flax, rice. In fact, the production of vegan cheeses as well as vegan ice creams and yogurt are becoming very popular with options at stores!
Calcium Needs & Vegan Sources
It’s not just vegans who need to plan carefully to get enough calcium each day. Over 75 percent of Americans are calcium deficient. (See! The people’s mad dairy intake doesn’t seem to do it, hehe) We need between 1000 and 1200 milligrams of calcium per day for healthy bones Great vegan sources of calcium include; hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg), collard greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg), black strap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg), tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg), and kale (1 cup contains 180 mg).
I hope I have inspired you to stand up for the animals, our planet, and adopt new compassionate habits that will benefit your health, as well as our environment, and the animals. I’d love to hear from you! Let me know what you think, and if you would like more articles like this one. Please share this article with friends, family, and on social media. It is time we get the truth out there!
 Albert DeVries, “Cow longevity economics – the cost benefit of keeping the cow in the herd,” delaval.com. http://www.delaval.com/en/-/Dairy-knowledge-and-advice/Cow-Longevity/Scientists-view-on-cow-longevity/Cow-longevity-economics—the-cost-benefit-of-keeping-the-cow-in-the-herd/
 Anne Karpf, “Dairy Monsters,” The Guardian 13 Dec. 2003.
Richard L. Wallace, “Market Cows: A Potential Profit Center,” University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
 Susan C. Kahler, “Raising Contented Cattle Makes Welfare, Production Sense,” Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 218 (2001): 182-6.
 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, “Safety of Veal, From Farm to Table,” Oct. 2006.
 David Goldstein, “Up Close: A Beef With Dairy,” KCAL, 30 May 2002.
 Stephanie Simon, “Mad Cow Casts Light on Beef Uses,” Los Angeles Times 4 Jan. 2004.
Debunking The Milk Myth: Why Milk Is Bad For You And Your Bones http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/
 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General; 2004.
 Amy Lanou Ph.D., nutrition director for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C.
 Dahl-Jorgensen K, Joner G, Hanssen KF. Relationship between cows’ milk consumption and incidence of IDDM in childhood. Diabetes Care 1991;14:1081-3.
Malosse D, Perron H, Sasco A, Seigneurin JM. Correlation between milk and dairy product consumption and multiple sclerosis prevalence: a worldwide study. Neuroepidemiology 1992;11:304-12.
Key TJ. Diet, insulin-like growth factor-1 and cancer risk. Proc Nutr Soc 2011:1-4.
Kritchevsky D. Dietary protein, cholesterol and atherosclerosis: a review of the early history. The Journal of nutrition 1995;125:589S-93S.
Gardner CD, Messina M, Kiazand A, Morris JL, Franke AA. Effect of two types of soy milk and dairy milk on plasma lipids in hypercholesterolemic adults: a randomized trial. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2007;26:669-77.
U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agriculture Statistics Service, “February Milk Production Up 1.7 Percent,” 19 Mar. 2015.
Michaelsson K, Wolk A, Langenskiold S, et al. Milk intake and risk of mortality and fractures in women and men: cohort studies. Bmj 2014;349:g6015.
Spencer EH, Ferdowsian HR, Barnard ND. Diet and acne: a review of the evidence. Int J Dermatol 2009;48:339-47.
Caffarelli C, Baldi F, Bendandi B, Calzone L, Marani M, Pasquinelli P. Cow’s milk protein allergy in children: a practical guide. Italian journal of pediatrics 2010;36:5.
Lanou AJ. Should dairy be recommended as part of a healthy vegetarian diet? Counterpoint. The American journal of clinical nutrition 2009;89:1638S-42S.
Water Footprint Network, “Product Water Footprints”. Global Assessment of the Water Footprint of Farm Animal Products, WFN.
Calcium Deficiency: The Leaching of America Written by Dee McCaffrey, CDC Monday, May 25, 2009
Calcium in the Vegan Diet By Reed Mangels, PhD, RD