Is there such a think as cruelty-free dairy? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-24-2004, 09:39 AM
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I know factory farms are appalling. I know that dairy cows and their calves are treated as badly, if not worse, as any animal in the meat industry.



But what about small family farms? Is it possible to have cruelty-free dairy products? Is it possible for a mother cow to have excess milk beyond what is required for her calf? Are there dairy farms where the calf is allowed to nurse?



Thanks in advance for your thoughts,



your cheese-craving vegan,



Colorful





oops I meant thing, not think!
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#2 Old 08-24-2004, 11:10 AM
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As far as production goes...I don't think it possible to eliminate all exploitation of the animal on a dairy farm. It seems to boil down to what you an live with.

There is a place in MN ( my state) that rotates their milk cows in and out of production, does not seperate calf from mother, uses no injections, and grass feed the animals. Pasture is available and used by the animals. They process their own products so nothing is contaminated by "factory" dairies. they mostly sell in coops, farmers markets, and buying groups with home delivery.

Great people cuz, you can talk to them at the market, call them on the phone, and even go out to visit.

To me, this is humane farming, conscientious farming, respectful farming. That family really works hard, they are dedicated to proving that the small family run business can thrive and be kind to the animals that provide their lively-hood. My son does milk, daughter eats cheese, I eat Icecream...so, they have our business.

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#3 Old 08-24-2004, 11:20 AM
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It is "possible" to treat cows well, not overmilk them, not give their calves to veal farmers, and not slaughter them, but that almost never happens, unless it is a family who is NOT in the business of making money.



All organic producers that I'm aware of DO give the calves to the veal industry and have the cows slaughtered after they are no longer productive. I'm not sure to what extent the cows are overmilked.



All in all, if you want to avoid cruelty, avoid dairy, organic or not.
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#4 Old 08-24-2004, 11:27 AM
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Even if you could find a cow that wasn't being treated cruelly, keeping it for its milk is a form of exploitation, IMHO.
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#5 Old 08-24-2004, 02:29 PM
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ok, i think that there are two parts to this question. the first is the underlying premise regarding animal exploitation (where does it begin, etc) and the second is, depending upon the premise, what is acceptable treatment after that.



for simplicity, lets say that there are two premises. The first premise is the most common animal rights premise: all animal use is per se exploitive and abusive. the second premise is the more-commonly held animal welfare argument: animal use is acceptable if the conditions in which the animals were kept is ultimately humane.



the second premise does leave a lot to question. What is animal use? what is acceptable? and what is humane? since these topics are infinitely debateable (or veggieboarders would just run out of things to discuss and/or flame about), we'll set them aside and say that an individual must weigh the information and decide for themselves and that this "animal welfare" argument will run a large spectrum of beliefs and practices.



Assuming that an individual takes the first premise, the animal rights premise, then no animal use--no matter how well the animals were cared for--is acceptable. This is the approach of many rescue organizations, including farm sanctuary. While animals live out their normal lives in an agricultural setting, their products are not consumed by humans or even sold to support the endeavor.



Taking the second approach, that animal use is acceptable, then we must determine what is acceptable and what is not. For some people, it is acceptable to kill animals for food--including young animals such as veal calves--so this aspect of the dairy industry, even the most clean of dairy farms, does not bother these individuals. For others, it is not acceptable to kill animals for food, and i think that it would be harder for them to find a dairy farm that is acceptable simply because eventually dairy cattle themselves find their way to slaughter.



there are a few places where one can get dairy from farms where animals are not killed, but they are rare. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (a new, somewhat radical sect of hindus) often run intentional communities (ashrams) on farms. There, cows live out normal agricultural cow lives. Calves are not separated from mothers. Male calves are raised to be steer (neutered) or bulls for future breeding, often breeding at other ashrams (to keep all of the herds genetically healthy). Females are raised to be dairy cattle. No cows are sent to slaughter, as this is considered a terribly violent act toward a living creature. Many of these ashrams consume the animal products themselves, but often they have surplus which they sell to support their intentional community. If you can find such an ashram (search for international society of krishna consciousness or ISKCON), then this would probably be your "best bet."



Another option is to find a local person who raises goats or cows as pets. These people do exist, although they are rare, and the volumn of milk that they produce is hard to predict, at best. Often, more people want the milk than pets can provide for both the family who owns them and for others, so it is expensive milk (for instance, raw goat milk from one local man sells for $12 a gallon), and you're often on a rotation of when you'll get the milk that you want. But, this is an option if a local goat herder or cow owner has excess after s/he has used what they wanted for themselves.



i hope this helps! be well and happy!
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#6 Old 08-24-2004, 05:15 PM
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Here's the only form of cruelty-free dairy I know of...







The Rev
LL
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#7 Old 08-24-2004, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post

The first premise is the most common animal rights premise: all animal use is per se exploitive and abusive.



I don't know about that. When I ask for directions from a human, I am using him/her. I haven't seen much evidence to support a claim that AR thinking would confuse 'use' and 'exploitation'.



(Or then my understading of "using" as "putting someone/something in the position of means" is misguided and causes confusion )

"and I stand

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made of weak and useless men"

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#8 Old 08-24-2004, 07:58 PM
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cute pic, Rev!
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#9 Old 08-25-2004, 06:56 AM
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Aww, Rev, that made me smile.
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#10 Old 08-25-2004, 08:55 AM
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What can I say? I'm a sucker for baby pictures.







The Rev
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#11 Old 08-25-2004, 09:29 AM
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colorful, have you tried Crock Cheese from Vegan Vittles? I was really really craving dairy cheddar when I gave up cheese, and this recipe just hit the spot for me with its delicious sharp cheddary flavor. It's out of the world when eaten with crackers and crispbread. I don't know if it's cheddar that you're missing specifically, but if it is, then this recipe is really worth trying if you haven't done so already.



(I think the recipe's also in the latest uncheese cookbook.)
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#12 Old 08-25-2004, 12:18 PM
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I second veggirlie - the uncheese cookbook is definitely worth a look.
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#13 Old 08-25-2004, 12:53 PM
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i didn't like the uncheese cookbook; i thought that the recipes tasted nothing like cheese and had a lot of weird and expensive ingredients. though i did like making tofu "cheese" for lasagne. you use a smooth and a firm tofu and crumble it and mix it with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and italian seasoning to make a "roccata" like substance. then with veggies and stuff it's quite good. but, once i made it just with veggies, noodles, and sauce and it was just as good. and then another time i used TVP, and that was good.



but now i don't use soy, so it's just back to the pure-veggie lasagne.
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#14 Old 08-25-2004, 02:21 PM
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Zoebird--Why don't you use soy?
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#15 Old 08-25-2004, 11:44 PM
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i personally decided that dariy consumption is a form of animal exploitation... and for that reason turned off cheese/dairy straight away... it was an almost knee-jerk reaction. i have only been vegan for about 2-3 weeks now and find that i am really empathetic towards animals.. something i cannot control, just a really strong feeling/belief. which i see as a positive thing. (i think i just went off the topic a bit there, sorry)
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#16 Old 08-26-2004, 07:42 AM
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pugvet:



i've done a lot of research on soy and modern soy production, as well as the soy industry, and learned that the amount and types of soy used in asia (the area touted for having the healthiest diet being "based" on soy--which is not true) are drastically different than what is currently on the market. Soy milks, soy products (veggie burgers and the like), edemame, tofu, and the like are not manufactured in traditional manners that would make soy a healthy product.



also, in asia, people have less than 3 grams of soy a day, and usually with some sort of meat products. In japan, it's seafoods. in china, it's often pork. in thailand and cambodia, it's usually chicken or fowl. in korea, it's often beef. tofu/soy is a supplemental ingredient, not a mainstay. it's there mostly for taste and texture. also, they do not eat the straight beans--as these are nearly undigestable (even though they do taste good, man with some sea salt!)



Compare this to the soy industry which says we should have over 20 grams per day, from any processed expensive source, and you're going--huh?



also, the processing itself is a mess. they often use rancid soy as the base, then the processing aspect of making tofu doesn't make high quality nutritious tofu, but rather a quickly fermented tofu nearly devoid of nutrition that is absorbable.



basicly, i've come to the conclusion that it's not as healthy as "they" say it is, and that the amounts that we need are far less than what we typically consume. i basicly have been soy free for a couple of months now (maybe 3 tops), and i feel so much better. it's amazing.



ok, so where did my info come from? it started at westonaprice.org. and from there, i read their source materials (many were magazines that i had to check out of the library), and then ran my home experiment (soy-free experiment).



we have been able to find lacto-fermented (traditional method) soy at a local asian market. they use the traditional method. lacto-fermented tofu is not vegan, since it comes from milk products. it has a different nutrient and hormone spectrum than commercial tofu that is vegan or made in a new, industrialized way. We are considering adding "lacto fermented" soy back into our diets, but at this point we really don't think that we need to.



so that's that. BTW, westonaprice is not an organization that is pro-vegetarianism. in fact, i would wager to say that they're against it. but, i've read it, learned a lot from the organization, joined in some of their causes (at least locally), and i'm still a vegetarian. i have no intention of going back to meat or even dairy as a regular part of my diet. it is possible to read information and learn from it and still maintain your own beliefs. I don't have to agree with everything that they do to understand what they're getting at and why.
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#17 Old 08-26-2004, 09:09 AM
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I think a good question is:



Would you like someone (even if they otherwise treated you marvelously) to come and milk your titties when they got thirsty? Especially if you weren't being paid?



There's just something amiss about that. Even before I knew about factory farming I knew there was something off with that concept.
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#18 Old 08-26-2004, 09:31 AM
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i had no problem donating breast milk when i was lactating for the 'milk bank' at the local hospital. of course, in most places, they don't do that anymore, because you have to test milk like you test donated blood, so now they went with formulas which i think is aweful.



but anyway, it's fine if someone needs my milk.
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#19 Old 08-26-2004, 09:38 AM
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Where my grandma lives, almost everyone has a cow or two, and if a family collected too much milk/made too much sour cream/buttermilk/butter for their family to eat they go to the market on a sunday morning and try to sell it. The cows down there are treated nicely, in the summer they spend all day (from about 5 am till 6 - 8 pm in the field) eating grass and "hanging out" with other cows, they're watched by one or two people. I guess the winters aren't as good for them, but they're still treated very well.

When i go down there i will be eating eggs and dairy, but mainly because i won't find any subsitutes for it and i don't want to freak my family out too much. I don't think i'll feel guitly about it either b/c i know exactly how the animals are treated.
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#20 Old 08-26-2004, 10:04 AM
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Thanks for the responses everyone.



One reason I posted this thread, was that I was reading my local Sunday paper and there was an article about the cheese production department at WSU (Washington State University). There were pictures of the students hugging & nuzzling the cows. One student wrote that the animals were like people, all with different personalities. She planned on adopting one when her term was over.



This just got me to thinking...if a student who WORKS at that dairy is expressing such a love toward the cows, and she can still in good conscience work there...then are all, or most dairy farms really as cruel as they are made out to be by organizations such as PETA? I've seen some of the pictures, and they are horrifying. But are these just specific cases? Are there really farms where the animals are treated respectfully and compassionately...where they actually have good lives?



Anyway, I do appreciate all your comments and invite more!
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#21 Old 08-26-2004, 10:28 AM
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i went to penn state, which was a large agricultural school, and knew many students who worked in the dairy and other related parts of the school. most of the people whom i knew absolutely loved animals--even animals that they eventually slaughtered or sent to slaughter. for them, it is part of the natural life cycle. they feel that they need meat in order to survive and thrive, so they raise the animals, and care greatly for them, and then eventually eat them.



you may want to check out a local 4-H and see what kids go through. usually, they raise cattle, or chickens, or pigs for contests and then these animals are sold and sent to slaughter. loss is part of the lesson, as is the whole process of working with the animals and learning about them.



i think for me the question is what is a humane life and a humane slaughter? i already come from the perspective that it is ok to kill animals for food if you think it is necessary. so, the next question is, what is acceptable treatment?



i choose not to eat meat because it isn't a necessary killing. if it were necessary (you're in a semi arid environment with you and a male goat--would you eat the goat?), then i find no moral problem with it. since my husband thinks it is necessary, he finds alternative sources from which to get his meat and other products.



the atrocities of the meat-industry (factory farms and slaughter houses) do happen. and, they happen to more than just the animals--they negatively affect the environment (and thus community) and the workers who work under these conditions. that's why we put our money into local, small biodynamic and organic family farms who do everything in a humane, friendly, caring, way.



lots of choices to make huh?
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#22 Old 08-26-2004, 10:33 AM
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ugh yes yes yes, so many choices!!



Being a parent, and a vegetarian, involves a lot of hard thinking! My brain hurts!
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#23 Old 08-26-2004, 11:46 AM
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Zoe, ignore my PM. You answered the question quite well above. Thanks!
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#24 Old 04-11-2009, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by csweihe View Post

As far as production goes...I don't think it possible to eliminate all exploitation of the animal on a dairy farm. It seems to boil down to what you an live with.

There is a place in MN ( my state) that rotates their milk cows in and out of production, does not seperate calf from mother, uses no injections, and grass feed the animals. Pasture is available and used by the animals. They process their own products so nothing is contaminated by "factory" dairies. they mostly sell in coops, farmers markets, and buying groups with home delivery.

Great people cuz, you can talk to them at the market, call them on the phone, and even go out to visit.

To me, this is humane farming, conscientious farming, respectful farming. That family really works hard, they are dedicated to proving that the small family run business can thrive and be kind to the animals that provide their lively-hood. My son does milk, daughter eats cheese, I eat Icecream...so, they have our business.

C-Sta



I live in Minneapolis. What's the name of the brand? I'd really appreciate it. Thanks
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#25 Old 04-11-2009, 02:23 PM
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My opinion is this:



Drive by a large beef cattle feed lot in the summer, now drive by the dairy farm.



Um, lets see dairy cows that have grazing pastures, or angus cattle that walk in their own filth?
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#26 Old 04-11-2009, 02:40 PM
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My opinion is this:



Drive by a large beef cattle feed lot in the summer, now drive by the dairy farm.



Um, lets see dairy cows that have grazing pastures, or angus cattle that walk in their own filth?



Now drive past the veal crate...



Quote:
#35 is a two-days old baby, his umbilical chord is still attached, his coat is still slick with birth fluids, his eyes are unfocused, his legs, wobbly. He is crying pitifully for his mother. No one answers. He will live his entire short life an orphan, his only experience of mother love will be one of yearning for it, his only experience of emotional connection, one of absence. Soon, the memory of his mother, her face, her voice, her scent, will fade, but the painful, irrepressible longing for her warmth will still be there. At four months old, he and other orphans like himself will be corralled into trucks and hauled to slaughter. As he will be dragged onto the killing floor, he will still be looking for his mother, still desperately needing her nurturing presence, especially at that dark time when he will be frightened and needing her more than ever in the midst of the terrible sights, and sounds, and scents of death all around him and, in his despair, in his want for a shred of consolation and protection, he, like most baby calves, will try to suckle the fingers of his killers.



He is the face of the "rose" veal we are encouraging "responsible restaurant leaders" to use.



Quote:
#6, is a first time mother. She is frantic. Her baby is missing. She is pacing desperately up and down the paddock, bellowing and crying, and calling for her lost boy, fearing the worst, having her fears confirmed. She is one of the thousands of defenseless females born into a quaint, verdant, organic dairy farm. She will spend her entire short life grieving the loss of baby after baby. She will be milked relentlessly through repeated cycles of pregnancies and bereavements. Her only experience of motherhood will be that of a mother's worst loss. In the prime of her life, her body will give, her spirit will break, her milk "production" will decline, and she will be sent to a horrifying slaughter, along with other grieving, defeated, "spent" mothers like herself.



She is the face of organic milk.

\t

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#27 Old 04-11-2009, 03:01 PM
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Yes, there is such a thing as "cruelty-free dairy", at least for me.

"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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#28 Old 04-11-2009, 03:05 PM
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Yes, there is such a thing as "cruelty-free dairy", at least for me.



Do the calves stay with their moms or are they removed by force? Do they all live out their natural lives or are they trucked to a slaughterhouse to be made into hamburger when their usefulness is up?

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
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#29 Old 04-11-2009, 03:59 PM
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or are they removed by force? or are they trucked to a slaughterhouse to be made into hamburger when their usefulness is up?



Nah.

"Hell exists not to punish sinners, but to ensure that nobody sins in the first place."
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#30 Old 04-11-2009, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irizary View Post

Do the calves stay with their moms or are they removed by force? Do they all live out their natural lives or are they trucked to a slaughterhouse to be made into hamburger when their usefulness is up?



Would it make you feel better if it was for Kosher?
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