“…boycotting veal…is a pointless gesture if dairy products aren’t boycotted as well.”
– James McWilliams, Forbes, 10/25/13
I had a revelation in 2009 that spurred me to transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. The revelation was basically that cows don’t make milk unless they have a calf. It seems like something that makes a lot of sense. How had I somehow forgotten that fact? I guess I had never thought much about it at all and walked along in a blissful milky haze thinking of cows as perpetual milk machines, even though a moment’s pause to look at all of mammalian behavior would tell me otherwise. There’s one purpose for milk.
Once I had that realization, there was an emergence of oh so many of questions that needed to be answered: “What happens to all those calves?” “How do the cows keep getting pregnant?” “What are male cows used for?” “Does my vegetarianism matter?” Etc., etc. After time spent considering all these aspects I finally came to this conclusion:
I can’t eat dairy without also supporting the meat industry.
This conclusion has gone through not a few philosophical obstacle courses over the years, which are always valuable processes for evolving your viewpoint. I still believe that the vast majority of dairy that we consume comes from inhumane methods of acquisition and is inherently complicit in the industrial meat complex as well. I also believe that as a general rule, cow milk is for baby cows, goat milk is for baby goats, and human milk is for baby humans. I believe the calcium argument is something we’ve been force-fed by the meat and dairy industries and that we are actually healthier if we stay away from dairy. I know that we are the ONLY species that drinks milk past weening and find that weird and kind of gross. For now, that’s where I stand.
Here is one of the most brief yet thorough descriptions I have seen in a long time that illustrates the relationship between large-scale dairy and meat industries. I thought I would share it with you in case you are also a vegetarian having a revelation about milk as an accessory to animal slaughter. Or, maybe this article will serve simply as a another reminder to be humane this holiday season by swapping out some of those dairy products you’re used to for easy-to-find vegan alternatives. It will take 2 minutes to read and is not graphic. It was written by James McWilliams and appeared in Forbes magazine last month. Here is the link: