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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

That’s Why I Don’t Drink Milk

Written by Ashley Palmer | January 25, 2011

As a child, I hated almost all dairy products. I only “drank” skim milk when it was in my cereal bowl and after I’d added water to it. I picked the cheese off my pizza. I wouldn’t even touch chocolate, which meant that my mother, much to her delight, got all my chocolate Halloween candy. I used to scrunch my nose and say, “This makes my throat feel slimy!” Unfortunately, as I got older, I slowly incorporated these products into my diet, and it wasn’t until college that I began learning the awful truth about milk.

How Are Cows on Dairy Farms Abused?

I was shocked to learn that cows on dairy farms are repeatedly impregnated using artificial insemination. Their babies are torn away from them at birth, with male calves destined to become veal or beef and female calves destined to suffer the same fate as their mothers. These cows are then genetically manipulated to produce about 10 times as much milk as they would naturally, spending their lives constantly bloated and in pain. And cows on organic farms can suffer even more because when the animals’ udders become infected, many farmers will not administer medicine, as that would prevent them from labeling the cows’ milk as organic. On average, cows on dairy farms live for about four or five years, whereas under less stressful conditions, they would live for approximately 25 years! Stress and fear plague these cows on a daily basis, and it’s no wonder that at the end of their short lives, they are completely spent and often lame.

How Does Milk Consumption Jeopardize Human Health?

Ever hear anybody say that milk consumption is actually linked to osteoporosis? Because it is. In fact, dairy products have been linked to a long list of health problems, including osteoporosis, heart disease, some types of cancer, and many childhood illnesses! Trust me, I was shocked too. All at once, I found out that the dairy industry mercilessly wreaks havoc on both cows’ lives and humans’ bones. You can most effectively and healthfully maintain strong bones by exercising, eating plenty of leafy green veggies, getting your daily dose of vitamin D, limiting your salt intake, and avoiding animal protein. Talk about convenience—what’s good for you is also good for animals!

How Many Alternatives to Milk Are There?

When I first decided to cut milk from my diet, making the transition seemed daunting. As I mentioned, by the time I’d reached adulthood, I loved dairy products just as much as the next person. How could I live without milk? I thought that it would be impossible. But once I opened my mind to the idea of change, I realized that many tasty and convenient alternatives are available. If you’re thinking about making a change, just go to your local grocery store and check it out! You can drink soy, almond,  rice, or hemp milk, to name a few. Many of these alternatives even come in different flavors, such as sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, or chocolate! There are so many options, and it’s fun to taste-test a few in order to determine which one you like best.

As you can see, I’ve come full circle. My “picky” tastes as a child were simply the result of my body telling me that the consumption of dairy products is unnatural. I like to think that I was born to be a vegan but just didn’t know it at first. Fortunately, now I do know the truth about dairy products, and I don’t want to support the abuse of animals or jeopardize my own health, especially when there are so many convenient alternatives available. And that’s why I don’t drink milk.

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  • GRAHAM says:

    i’m a heterosexual vegetarian and proud of it, and used to drink the stuff everyday, milk and dairy use to be my favorite foods at one point in my life but then again my mom didnt know any better she grew up on a farm. but never had a glass of milk for at least 2 years and counting so proud but i only have god and Jesus to thank and peter actually for his parabled dream , believe it or not Jesus wants us to be vegan or vegetarians, Daniel his faithful servant was a vegetarian and a blessed one at that , btw want to know more about milk watch udderly amazing by walter veith

  • Little Rocket says:

    Try raising your own chickens. Then you can know exactly how ethical it is, and have a better understanding of an egg laying chicken’s life. It is not as hard as you think, and is now legal in many cities! I am a vegetarian slowly converting to veganism… cheese is the hard one.

  • Jennifer says:

    I am switching to a vegan diet, slow but surley. I was surpried to learn that Amy’s Organics are not vegan. Read labels!!

  • Ashley-P says:

    Hey Beber – even small dairy farms repeatedly impregnate their cows using artificial insemination. Their babies are still torn away from them at birth, with male calves destined to become veal or beef and female calves destined to suffer the same fate as their mothers. :(

  • Beber says:

    The place I live in has very limited amount of vegan products, though I lasted for three months before going back from vegan to vegetarian. But now I buy bio-milk that is labeled with a standard that the cows are treated well and spend their day in pastures. I still wager between the picture of cows being used like milk automates, but if we do not buy this kind of dairy products from farmers who actually treat their animals fairly, their businesses will fall and the cruel dairy farms will hold the eternal monopoly.

  • Susan Strickler says:

    I just bought a soymilk maker and 30 pounds of soybeans and I make my own soymilk. It is so easy to make and so delicious and nutritious. I flavor it with a tablespoon of agave nectar and some sea salt. You can also add other healthy ingredients like oats or shredded coconut. After making a batch I’m left with an added benefit – Okara (tofu like food) as an egg replacement in baking, or you can use it like you use tofu.

  • mrs.nolen says:

    I’m going from vegetarian to vegan! And I’ll try to get my kids that way too! :-)

  • melody ovadenko says:

    if your heart is in the right place ….that is all that matters.

  • Terri says:

    I was raised on a small dairy farm and our cows were not treated in the way Keegan Baur portrays. The cows were pregnant every year, and milked twice a day, by myself. The calves were allowed to be with their mothers for three days getting the much need colstrum milk they produce after birth. We did not rip them away. Our cows were on an average of 10 years old and were not lame or worthless. I avoided drinking milk, just because I didn’t like it and now, at age 50 have a spine that has wasted away in spots. Milk does have is advantages and disadvantages. So now I take calcium and vitamin D to stop the bone loss. Not all farms are as horrible as you think.

  • Gabry Wong says:

    Hey, this is a grat article and it helped alot. I didnt know that cows have been suffering that way. Considering where I come from, theres no such thing as a almond, rice, or hemp milk cause Malaysia (I live in Labuan island to be exact) does not have these kinda products. Although we have Soy Milk, but the soy milk here consist of 10 – 12 table spoons of sugar which is in the end of the day considered as Unhealthy and will definitely cause a high sugar level to a person’s health. Theres no way we can get Soy Products at sugar free. Basically, in malaysia, if one is to consider not consuming dairy products, that person will suffer Im sure because Malaysia is not like other develop countries just yet. It is lacking of many products and we are at limited choice.

  • essayweb says:

    I must say that there is alternative of milk.

  • Brenda Coticelli says:

    I spent many summers on a dairy farm upstate New York and never saw any of these abuses. I will try to stop using dairy. My granddaughter is in Rutgers Univ.majoring in animals studies. She stopped using milk and is a vegetarian as I am. I am constantly disgusted at the mistreatment of animals and send letter and e-mails to my congressman and to the Bureau of Land Management and whomever else is abusing animals.

  • BatGirl says:

    VaLourah. Being vegan isn’t about being perfect, it’s about doing the best you can. In this world, you’re right, it is impossible to be vegan without “some sort of cruelty or food web disruption.” But we can’t always control these things. By being vegan with what we CAN control, we are still reducing cruelty in the world and voting (with our dollars) for a more cruelty free world.

  • VaLourah says:

    I’ve been studying environmental studies in university and also became a “flexatarian” a little while ago. I disagree with many processes that disrupt the food web and especially disagree with any form of cruelty on both human and non-human species.

    Interestingly though, how can one totally be vegan without some sort of cruelty or food web disruption? Soy products and such alternatives to animal products are mainly monocultures that cause cruelty and messes with the food web on an agricultural level. That alone is tied to economics, politics, and social sciences (injustices), as well of course ethics (such as the cruelty of mainly wildlife). So to be a real, pure vegan is still very hard to escape the cruel practices of where our food orginates from. It’s just not focused on farms with animals.

    I’d like to see PETA do more on these practices too so the food web can be just as ethical as we strive it to be.

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