Milk Monday: Reply to a Comment

Young cattle – the milk cows at the organic fa...

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Morning! I was going to do a piece for today using some facts and figures from the dairy trade press and talking about the implications for animal welfare. In summary it seems that although milk prices are good, there is serious concern over the availability of forage and this is what is most on farmers minds as we get ready for winter. The implication is that these kind of pressures are tending to favour larger herds on imported forage and the connection is easily made with what this could mean for the cows and the advent of “battery” dairies. There is a lot of good stuff to look at but we’ll have to wait a week because I need to sleep for a night shift today and can’t organise it all in time.

However, I did want to pick up on a comment left on an earlier post and drive home a couple of points today.

In The Two Faces of Dairy Farming in the UK, I wanted to point out that there are two ways of running a herd and how heartening it is to know that at a moment when zero-grazing battery techniques are threatening to appear in the UK, an alternative and more humane option is open to the consumer. Commenting on my post,  a commenter called Gypsy thanked me for the comical effect of what I had said.

I think it is very sad your prospective of the dairy business. You who have no understanding of the dairy business or cows from the look of it. All this animal rights stuff is really truly very sad.

This criticim is often levelled at vegans, that it is actually being far removed from the production process of our food that makes people sentimental about animals. Real farmers know where it is really at. But  I would be frighetened by a world in which consumers took no interest in where what they are buying comes from or had no right to call producers to account over their practice. I can’t help feeling that there is a, justifiable, vested interest for people whose livelihoods are threatened by a vegan diet and lifestyle and that this accounts for their sneering dismissal of “those animal rights people”.

I think it is imporatant that we do try to find out the facts about where our food comes from and make a choice so that’s what I am trying to do with Milk Mondays. I think I do have a little understanding of dairy (as I outlined in my last Milk Monday post) and I want to have more. If anyone would like to show me round their farm or do an interview or a guest post with another point of view, please get in touch.

For your info not all calves are on ” Powdered Milk”. It is actually called milk replacer. It is no different than a mother putting her baby on formula. Should we talk negatively of women who formula feed their babies???

So “powdered milk” is not strictly accurate. I am glad it has been clarified that what it is bears no relation to milk at all. No we shouldn’t talk negatively of women who formula feed their babies but if they were formula feeding their babies in order to give that baby’s (rightful) sustenance to be sold in a supermarket we might have cause for concern.  We remove calves from their mother in order to drink their milk – that seems bizzarre to me, sorry.

To boot, you mention the terrible fact that calves are removed from their mothers. Do you understand that the calves at a dairy are better treated and cared for than those calves that are raised on their mothers. Not all mother cows have mother instincts and on the ranch I have witnessed enough calf deaths due to the fact the mother either did not get the calf to suck or got kicked to death.

I don’t think for a moment that the behaviour of animals in captivity is normal. Could the lack of a maternal instinct in a cow have anything to do with the other pressures she is under by being forced to repeatedly breed or not have enough space? Even if calves are better looked after away from their mothers, that is only if they are fortunate enough to be female. I’m sure that if they had the capacity to be grateful, the male calves would rather enjoy a short, cramped life in a veal factory than be kicked to death by the mother.

When are you people going to realize that a cow is an animal. With animal instincts. It is not a human. People are so removed from their food these days it is aggravating. They malnurish their bodies to make a point.

Animals are capable of suffering and we are responsible for that. One of the most fundamental “animal instincts” is the nurture denied to many dairy cows. Cows mask pain and discomfort very well, that’s one of the problems. I know this sounds sentimental but scientific research has confirmed an animals capacity to experience intense psychological distress, pain and misery. Ethically speaking, that is what we need to pay attention to.

The idea that we would be malnourished without cows milk is twaddle. Humans had pretty much populated most of the planet before we domesticated the cow. I’m sorry but this really does rile me, we don’t need milk so it’s all very unnecessary. I am not malnourished, as my doctor can confirm.

Why don’t you take a job on a farm for 6 months and then publish an article with some relevance and real truth. And while your at it get some grain fed beef and eat a steak. Thanks for the article I found it very comicle.

I wonder if Ahmisa dairies needs a farm hand, I would like to be able to write more about their humane techniques that include allowing the calf to be naturally weaned and the mother to live beyond her “usefulness”. And, no, don’t get me started on beef and what it does to the planet.

Next week, some insights from Mole Valley Farmer’s Dairy supplement.


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