Can Vegans Drink Milk?
Remember when we all got free milk at school?
So, if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about adopting a plant-based diet and are asking yourself whether or not vegans or those on a plant-based diet drink cow’s milk or milk from another animal.
Well, the quick answer is no. Which leads onto the next question of why not? I mean, how could one possibly object to drinking cow’s milk? We’ve been told all our lives, haven’t we, that milk is one of the most naturally healthy drinks you can have. We all remember those ads on TV telling us how milk is full of calcium and gives us strong bones. And then there’s the cows. We believe, don’t we, that cows lead a happy life out in the fields grazing all day long before giving us their milk for us to enjoy. A real win-win, right?
That’s the story that we have been lead to believe, it’s the story that I thought was true for the vast part of my adult life.
It turns out they weren’t so happy after all. Every year millions of cows are used for dairy production.
When she’s born, a female calf is immediately removed from her mother and placed in a small enclosure by herself. Instead of her own mother’s milk, she is fed pooled milk from the milking parlour and artificial milk replacer. She is dehorned and any extra teats are cut off without pain relief.
When she’s is 3-6 months old, she is moved into group housing with other calves her age.
Although she would normally be physically ready to mate at 20-30 months of age, on a dairy farm, she is forcibly impregnated at 12-15 months-old through artificial insemination.
Nine months later, she gives birth to a male calf, who is also taken from her right after birth. Depending on his breed, he will either live in a crate so small he cannot turn around for veal production, or he will go to a feedlot and be slaughtered at only a year old for beef production.
She is milked for 10 months, during which time she is impregnated again. She is given a short 30-45 day “rest” before she gives birth.
She gives birth again and the cycle continues. Every time her baby is removed, and she must endure the emotional pain again. Cows call out for their babies, as they are separated.
This miserable process repeats for the next 3-5 years. When she is no longer profitable, she is killed. She is slaughtered at 4-7 years old, though she could live up to 20 years.
A life of suffering, and early death, for no reason other than human desire. A glass of milk or block of cheese is not worth inflicting this pain on another being.