America’s Dairy Problem Overflows: Farmers Forced to Dump Unwanted Milk

Published by Zachary Toliver.

Every vegan has had that moment of checking food ingredients and asking, “Why the hell does this contain milk?”

It’s because the U.S. is up to its eyeballs in excess dairy “products” and exhausting every option possible to use it. But according to reports, sales in the U.S. are steadily declining and expected to drop 11 percent by 2020—and we think that’s a conservative estimate.

The dairy industry is doing so poorly that any downtime in production means anxiety for farmers. When a major yogurt plant in New York closed for just one week around the Fourth of July, farmers had nowhere to send their milk and dumped what they couldn’t use for production. In July alone, farmers in the northeastern U.S. dumped nearly 24 million pounds of unwanted milk.

Instead of allowing market forces to regulate this crippled industry, companies and the government are doing everything they can to keep milk production going.

Commissioner of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Richard A. Ball said that even though there is gross waste in the dairy industry, farmers refuse to produce less. While organizations backed by the industry work to push powdered milk and other dairy “products” down consumers’ throats, New York State plans to put $250 million into production efforts in order to compensate for the surplus.

Behind every cup of yogurt and glass of milk is a grieving mother cow and the calf who was torn away from her shortly after birth.

Despite the declining demand for dairy “products,” cows are kept almost constantly pregnant in order to maximize milk production. Calves are taken away from their mothers within hours or days of birth so that the milk that was meant for them can be consumed by humans instead. Male calves are typically shipped off to be slaughtered for the veal industry, while females endure the same fate as their mothers: repeated forced insemination until their milk production wanes, at which point they’re sent to the slaughterhouse.

In addition to contributing to the horrendous suffering of thinking, feeling beings, the consumption of cow’s milk has been linked to an increased risk of having strokes and developing everything from cancer to heart disease to diabetes. Researchers believe that the dairy industry’s decline can be attributed, in part, to consumers’ growing awareness of just how unhealthy cow’s milk is and their desire for better options. Fortified soy milks, for instance, contain high levels of essential nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, protein, and vitamin B12—with none of the cholesterol, hormones, or cruelty of dairy “products.”

Dump dairy by going vegan today.  

Ditching dairy is easy! Check out our guide to plant-based milk to learn what to look for at the grocery store, and browse thousands of dairy-free recipes on PETA.org. Also, don’t forget to order a free vegan starter kit by clicking the button below:

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you are agreeing to our collection, storage, use, and disclosure of your personal info in accordance with our privacy policy as well as to receiving e-mails from us.

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind