A rant about… the dairy industry

August 8, 2006 at 8:04 pm (Uncategorized)

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I have decided to try my very best and be a vegan. “What is the point of that?” is the usual reaction I get, “eating milk, cheese and eggs causes no harm to an animal”. Sadly, that’s what they want you to believe… The dairy industry certainly has very little thought for the poor animals caught up in it. Male cows, being no use to the dairy industry as they cannot provide milk, are shot at birth in their thousands each year (same with male chicks as they cannot lay eggs). Some say it is disgusting for people to eat calves but surely it is preferable for them at least to have a bit of a life before they are killed? (Obviously when you are transporting them hundreds of thousands of miles to other countries that is something else altogether!). Cows are very maternal; they need to have their calves with them and separating them at birth causes so much suffering and depression to both mother and calf. The dairy industry do not care about this of course, and keep the cows pregnant more often than they should so the milk keeps flowing, modifying the cows so that they produce un-natural amounts of milk. And when you think about it, drinking milk is a weird thing anyway. No other animal drinks milk when they grow out of adulthood and the milk is intended for the calf, not a human. You wouldn’t dream of drinking a dogs milk for instance. What’s the difference? There are plenty of other ways to get your calcium. Though if you must buy milk, please think about buying organic. Not only does it have such a nicer taste but the cows actually are given time with their calves and they have a better quality of life. Worth a few extra pence I think.

Eggs… same thing. So many people willingly buy battery eggs as they cannot see beyond the price of the item. That’s all that matters for some, the cost. But what about the wider cost? Hens caged in A4 spaces, never seeing the sun in their lifetime, unable to move let alone walk and as there are so many crammed into such a small space, disease spread quickly. Is this really the kind of egg you want to eat? Free range is not ideal either. The wording indicates hens contentedly roaming around fields but in reality that is only the few who can get past the mêlée in the barn. Many do not make it. If you can’t do without your eggs then why not buy at a local farm where you know the hens roam free? Not a commercial hen breeding machine as so many are? You will certainly notice a difference in taste. But there is also the problem of ‘hidden’ eggs. Ready meals, processed food, sandwiches etc. often contain egg though why would the manufacturers want to spend more than they have to when it’s price that is the only thing that matters. If ‘egg’ is listed in an ingredient you can guarantee it’s from a battery hen and by buying that product you are effectively giving a nod to the practice continuing. And it’s not as if there aren’t plenty of alternatives out there. Quorn only use free range eggs as do M&S which is fantastic and many sandwiches makers are following suit. It’s a start. I just hope others follow their lead and consumers take more responsibility in what they are buying and give more thought to the wider consequences of their choices.

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