Below is a round-up of digital media from various corners of the world this week related to animal advocacy & dairy awareness.
Moksha is a calf who was being sold for $2.00 to be “dog food” because she was born sterile. Instead, a young girl paid the two dollars and brought the calf home to a place where they had no where to keep her. A neighbor stepped in and said he would keep the calf in his garage. He then reached out to Lancaster Farm Sanctuary who brought her to sanctuary this month and named her Moksha which means liberation from suffering.
Visit Lancaster Farm Sanctuary & donate to their incredible mission here
Last month we had a podcast session with children’s book author Tabatha James of The Sensible Vegan. Moved, as were so many of us, by Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscars acceptance speech, she created the code “Joaquin” for use through February to get 20% off your copy of her book Farmer Sue Knew which, like Joaquin’s speech, highlights the fact that baby calves are separated from their mothers so the milk intended for them can instead go to grocery stores for human consumption.
The Truth About Dairy
by Robin Coarts, February 2020
There seems to be a spike in posts recently about dairy, dairy farmers, animal rights, etc. which is amazing and can be confusing for those who don’t know what’s wrong with dairy…
Here’s my take and some background…
I found the Oscar acceptance speech by Joaquin Phoenix to be inspiring and it felt good to have a person on stage use their 45 seconds to highlight one of the most hidden parts of our food system: the truth about dairy.
1. Dairy milk from a cow is meant for baby cows. The only way a cow produces milk (like a human) is to become pregnant and have a baby. So the milk you are drinking (if it is dairy milk from a cow) was never intended for human consumption – it is baby cow milk.
2. We are the only species on the planet that will drink the milk from another species. Other animals who produce milk which we do not consume: cats, dogs, rats, and so on. These milks are meant for their babies, just as human milk is meant for human babies.
3. Once that mom cow has her baby, the baby is taken away and the mom cow is hooked up to a milking machine (similar to breast pumping to my fellow moms who put up with that misery…) and she will continue to be pumped until it is time to get pregnant (artificially inseminated) and give birth again and again until the mother cow is no longer producing enough milk to be worth her place in line. She is then sent to the slaughterhouse.
4. If a mother cow has a baby boy cow, the baby will be sent to a veal farm for a short while and then sent to slaughter. Veal meat is meat from a baby cow – they are kept in crates and tied up so they don’t gain muscle and keep themselves “soft”.
5. It is heart wrenching to hear a mother cow cry and moo for her baby as they are being taken away. I cannot even fathom the panic mom cow and baby cow are feeling. Everyone knows the bond between a mother and baby is almost instant and it is the same across species. Why do we use phrases like “momma bear”? Because everyone knows how moms feel about their babies.
6. And finally, there are literally 6,000 dairy alternatives at this point, so give them a try! Almond, soy, coconut, rice, cashew, oat, etc. etc. etc. No taste is worth the pain, suffering, and cruelty that these cows endure so we can have milk and cheese.
Robin Coarts is a Humane Educator and Plant-Parent. After completing a master degree in education she founded Plant-Based with Robin and teaches online courses on the topic of Plant-Based Eating, Living, and Parenting. Follow Robin on FB at Plant-Based with Robin & her website for more information and Plant-Based tips.
UPDATES FROM HLFARN 2019 COW RESCUE
The following photos are updates from the 2019 rescue of 401 cows from a closing dairy on the Big Island. Read more about the history of the rescue & rehoming of cows here: http://pacificrootsmagazine.com/hawaii-cow-rescue-reflection/. Photos & captions provided by HLFARN (Hawai’i Lava Flow Animal Rescue Network) founder & organizer Alessandra Rupar-Weber.
You can continue to provide support for the sanctuary and care of these beings at the Hawai’i Cow Rescue GoFundMe page
I stoppd drinking cow’s milk as a young teen. Frankly, I just really didn’t like the taste of it. This was back in the late 80’s and in most grocery stores where I lived at the time there were perhaps two brands of soy milk on shelves and that was about it. I did however continue to consume animal dairy. Cheeses, ice cream, butter, coffee creamers- all with cow’s milk. They were staples in our kitchen.
Then in early Autumn 2014 I had what I call the ‘milk click’. My son was coming up on one year old and I mention that because being a breastfeeding mother was, I know, part of the puzzle piece that pivoted my own awareness.
All those years, I never considered that the products I was eating relied on a mother being pregnant and giving birth. Not only that, the milk in these products I was consuming was milk biologically destined for cows. Just as my son nuzzled at my breast and drank milk that my body produced for him, so had mother cows given birth to calves and were producing milk – milk that I realized I had no business using.
Some people might scoff and say “Really, you didn’t know that dairy was from cow milk?” Sure, of course I did. But I admittedly was not dialed into the reality that I was supporting routine separation of mother and calf. I also had not processed the absurdity that I was regularly consuming products of not only mother’s milk, but another species mother’s milk. Learning about the cruelty inherent in the system was traumatic. There is indeed a trauma that consumers can experience when we learn about the practices we have supported. The vast majority of dairy products today come from industrialized dairy production in which calves are seen as byproducts. I mourned for the mothers and babies in this system and still do.
All of the updates in this post are live from this week and are windows into the work people are doing with dairy awareness, animal advocacy and to ensure safety and peace for animals. It is incredbile to witness and be inspired by the tremendous work of people across the globe advocacting for animals, creating sanctuary space for them and caring for them. It is also incredibe to see how much has changed in the marketplace for plant-based milks and dairy analog products over the last few decades. I am truly grateful to have seen this develop during my lifetime.
-Annika (February 13, 2020)