calf drinking from mother in green field

‘Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?’ and Other Questions Answered

Wondering where you can get raw milk? Stop right there and back it up a bit. Whether it’s raw or pasteurized, animals’ milk is obtained through cruelty and exploitation grounded in speciesism. Drinking milk can lead to severe, lifelong health issues—even death—but drinking raw milk can accomplish that in a week or less.

What is raw milk?

Raw milk is stolen from animals, typically cows, sheep, or goats. It hasn’t been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria such as campylobacter, cryptosporidium, E. coli, listeria, Brucella, and salmonella or viruses that cause illness in humans.

Dairy farms are hotbeds for these dangerous pathogens, as most of these facilities—including those labeled “organic”—confine cows to filthy, crowded lots and force them to live amid their own waste.

Animal agriculture is also the main contributor to disease outbreaks and mutations: The threat of H5N1 (bird flu) only looms over much of the world because the virus was spread by the poultry industry. Now it’s spreading through cow’s milk, and while experts race to determine the true scale of avian flu infections in cows and other species, they’re warning that widespread human transmission may be imminent.

Is Raw Milk Safe to Drink?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called raw milk “one of the riskiest foods” and warned that food-borne outbreaks linked to raw milk continue to threaten the public’s health.

And now, as one out of every five samples of pasteurized milk tested by the government has proven positive for viral fragments of H5N1, the risks of consuming raw milk are more dire than ever. In these samples of pasteurized milk, the virus was inactive and unable to replicate, but there’s no such guarantee for raw milk.

The real question is whether any milk from animals is safe for humans to drink. The dairy industry repeatedly artificially impregnates cows to force them to produce milk. Farmers compel them to spend much of their lives standing on concrete in cramped pens, hooked up to milking machines, sometimes multiple times a day. Many farms pump cows full of antibiotics and growth hormones, which pass residues into the dairy sold in supermarkets.

Additionally, up to 50% of cows exploited for milk suffer from mastitis—a painful udder infection resulting from the grueling, abusive milking routines that dairy farms subject them to. Their infected udders ooze pus, contaminating the milk that ends up on supermarket shelves. Because mastitis is so common, the dairy industry has pushed to keep the allowable number of pus cells in cow’s milk as high as possible—and the U.S. has one of the highest mastitis rates in the world.

That’s not even mentioning the general health risks associated with consuming cow’s milk, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other serious ailments.

Is Raw Milk Better for Animal Welfare?

Mothers of all species produce milk for their babies alone. Only humans consume the milk of other species. Using cows, goats, sheep, or any other animal for their milk is speciesist and cruel, no matter what the supposed animal welfare standards are. Mother cows are fiercely protective of their young and often spend days crying out for their babies when dairy farms cruelly tear them apart.

The dairy industry regularly misleads consumers with humane-washing buzzwords—like “organic” or “grass-fed”—to dupe them into thinking that there’s a humane way to exploit sentient beings. Facilities that make these claims still forcibly impregnate cows, take their babies away from them soon after birth, and use them like milk-producing machines. The only milks that are “better for animal welfare” are ones that don’t come from animals.

Does Drinking Raw Milk Have Health Benefits?

No. Raw milk is not only seriously dangerous to human health but also nutritionally unnecessary for humans, as are all animal-derived products. Vegan milks provide essential nutrients like calcium, B12, and protein, without the cholesterol found in cow’s milk. In addition, vegan milks are lower in fat and hormone-free.

Where Can I Get Raw Milk?

It’s simple: Don’t get it. Consuming cow’s milk fuels the dairy industry’s vicious cruelty to gentle, sensitive cows who don’t want to be exploited. Consuming raw milk is flirting with death. Vegan milks are healthier, better for the environment, and, most importantly, don’t cause countless animals to suffer. Order a vegan starter kit to get started today:

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