Whether your new year goal was to hydrate more, eat nourishing foods, or surround yourself with people that make you happy, we hope it is off to a powerful start!
Veganuary receive record breaking numbers and in Canada, dairy was officially removed as a food group from the Canada Food Guide!
THIS IS HUGE!
It’s no wonder Economist Magazine called 2019 the Year of the Vegan.
When we first dropped the F*ck Dairy Tee last spring, we put together some truths about the industry and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to mention them again. This month, we challenge you to bring up some hard truths on social media and in person conversations about the dairy industry. Do you struggle with talking about veganism? Check out our blog post A how-to guide for having the vegan talk” that will help you with these difficult discussions.
So let’s get to it! Here's our TVTM 5 TRUTHS about dairy.
There is a common misconception that cows simply produce milk all the time.
TRUTH #1: Milk comes from mothers. Female cows must give birth in order to produce milk - just like every other mammal on Earth. The process starts when a farmer injects bull semen into the vagina of a female cow. When she delivers her baby, her calf is removed almost immediately as to reserve her milk for the farm’s profit (and not the baby it was biologically intended for). Next the devastated mother is herded over to the milking machines where she will spend hours every day. These machines cause painful sores that secrete puss* and blood into the milk. When her milk production starts to drop off (around 4 months after giving birth) she is re-impregnated. This atrocious process begins again and again until she is no longer can produce milk at profitable volumes. At which point she will be sold to a slaughterhouse.
*Fun fact: the industry word for puss is “somatic cell” and in Canada the maximum allowable somatic cell count is 400,000,000 per litre of milk... yuck
A second misconception is that there is no death involved in obtaining cow’s milk.
TRUTH #2: Most dairy cows live 4 short years before they are sent to slaughter, when their natural lifespan is up to 25 years. Additionally, male calves are considered useless by the dairy industry and are sold off for veal if not immediately disposed of or left to die. The later was the case for Jude and Magnus, two dairy industry survivors and residents of Robin’s Refuge (one of the local animal sanctuaries that we make our regular donations to). When these boys were rescued from a local dairy farm, they were found in a dark barn, emaciated and extremely sick with nothing but a bowl of milk replacer. It took weeks of bottle training and round the clock care but now they boys are happy, healthy and getting the love they were wrongfully denied at the start of their lives.
There is also the issue of feminism.
TRUTH #3: Cow’s milk cannot be produced without the exploitation of the reproductive capacities of a female body, which is 100% at odds with the foundation of feminist thought. If you have any friends that consider themselves feminists, you should definitely convince them to ditch the dairy.
Another fallacy is that dairy gives you strong bones.
TRUTH #4: osteoporosis - the bone disease that milk is advertised to prevent - is most prevalent in the populations with the highest milk consumption. This is because milk is acidic in the human body and when consumed actually triggers calcium to be leached FROM your bones to balance out the acidity. On another note about the health implications, dairy cows are supplemented with countless hormones* and antibiotics that have been attributed to early onset puberty in girls, antibiotics resistance and many cancers. Finally, the purpose of cow’s milk is to facilitate the rapid growth of an 85 pound calf to a 1000 pound adult cow. There is no biological reason for a human to consume milk past infancy, let alone the milk of a large bovine species.
*Ever wonder where the “soy gives you man boobs” myth originated? The study was published by the Weston A. Price Foundation, a multimillion dollar organization that lobbies for raw milk and grass-fed beef. While it is true that soy products contain phytoestrogens, it has been proven that they do not mimic estrogen in the same way as the study insinuated. And if you ever come across someone who doesn’t eat soy because they don’t want to consume “estrogen”, you might want to remind them that dairy cows are injected with countless of hormones including estrogen to maximize their milk production.
And finally... some real talk about the environment.
TRUTH #5: Cow’s milk is really, really bad for for the environment. While some plant based alternatives are better than others (ie. almond crops require significantly more water than soy) in life cycle assessment studies dairy always ranks higher in land use, water use, water pollution and global warming. Consider this: in addition to the CO2 generated from breathing, cows emit methane from their digestive processes which has 20 times the global warming potential of CO2. Furthermore, a single cow will release 120 pounds of feces and urine every single day. Much this makes its way into rivers and eventually the ocean in which the excessive nitrogen and other nutrients trigger algal blooms. This is a problem when there is enough algae to deplete the surrounding water of its oxygen and this is how ocean dead zones are formed.
We hope you found some of this blog helpful in maneuvering your conversations about dairy.
Our goal with our apparel is to spark conversations about veganism so that we can move toward a more compassionate and sustainable future. We look forward to see where you put your f*ck dairy stickers! Remember to tag us on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtags #fuckdairy and #tvtmclothing.
This article was written by one of our co-founders. Janel has a degree in mechanical engineering and specialized in energy and the environment.
Read our latest TVTM Change Maker Story from Tara and Shannon!
Change Makers Stories are features from humans who are making a real impact in their communities whether it be online or in person.
- Do you or someone you know selflessly volunteer at local animal sanctuaries in your/ their free time?
- Are you or someone you know active on social media spreading awareness about the vegan lifestyle?
- Have you or someone you know started a meetup, market/ festival or other vegan event?
- Have you or someone you know encouraged your/ their family or friends to try a vegan lifestyle and have had some success?
- Do you rock TVTM wherever you go and have some pretty cool conversations?