Is Dairy ever humane? (poster seeking to eat more ethical/humane dairy) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-01-2008, 07:31 PM
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I strive to be a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I realize this may not be enough for the vegans out there, but I am trying. I have very little considered a vegan lifestyle. It does not seem practical, I like to go out to eat and I find it hard simply to find vegetarian dishes at restaurants. Do organic farms treat the animals any better? I know PETA's stance on organics, but I saw a video of an organic farm in which the cows were given lots of pasture to graze on. I've also heard of other instances in which dairy cows are given a good life. Like to know everyone's stance on this. I'm not planning on being a vegan but if I can eat more humane/ethical dairy I would like to try.
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#2 Old 07-01-2008, 07:33 PM
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i don't think it is because it's not even ours to drink in the first place. it's for calves.
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#3 Old 07-01-2008, 08:01 PM
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I don't think a discussion about whether you can or cannot drink milk because it is humane or not, can have any outcome other than vegans explaining why not. Since this is the vegetarian board, and should be a safe place for vegetarians to be lacto or ovo, it's not really fair to ask someone to tear that idea up here when this is the vegeterian board. Therefore, wouldn't it be better to ask that question that is heading toward a vegan outlook on the vegan board, where they can rightfully say all the things they feel about it, without the vegetarians feeling like they are getting kicked in the teeth? Having all this go on here, would violate the first rule about not telling a vegetarian they are not doing enough. If you question your vegetarianism, the perfect place to do it is in the vegan folder, truthfully. I say this with no malice, but trying to preserve the vegetarians right to be here without feeling policed by vegans, and I say this as a vegetarian that doesn't drink milk.
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#4 Old 07-01-2008, 08:03 PM
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The only way I can think of dairy being "humane" is if you rescued a pregnant cow, and allowed the calf to stay with her and just took small amounts of milk from her, so that she had plenty leftover for her calf (milk production would increase to meet demand up to a certain point). But even this assumes that animals are here for us to use, and that is not really the case.



Organic farms still remove the calf from the mother, and male calves will still become veal. The cow will still have a shortened life span and be slaughtered for her meat at the end of her life.



But buying organic dairy, even if it were humane, would not solve the 'convenience' factor. Most restaurants do not offer organic foods. It's quite easy to replace dairy at home with soy, rice, or other plant based alternatives. The one thing most people have a hard time with is cheese.



I think being vegan is only as hard as you make it. It's a bit of a shock at first, but it is certainly do-able. Any major change in lifestyle is hard at first but gets easier with time. I'm not judging vegetarians who consume dairy - I was one for ten years! I always thought veganism was too hard, and that it was ok since the cow wasn't being slaughtered for her milk. Once VB (and other sites) opened up my eyes to the inherent cruelty in milk production, I couldn't imagine doing anything but giving up dairy. After that it was easy, whenever I wanted milk I thought of the veal calves and couldn't bring myself to drink milk any more than I could eat a piece of steak.



Yes, it is a journey, and it isn't all or nothing. Every little bit helps. we all strive to do the best we can and we all have room for improvement in reducing cruelty. However you get there, and wherever you go, I wish you luck



ETA: I agree that this should be moved to the vegan forum.
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#5 Old 07-01-2008, 08:22 PM
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Well, under what circumstances would you be willing to be milked so that, say, a cow could drink your milk?



I think that if I could lactate (well, I might be able to, but as a male, it's rather tricky), maybe I'd be willing to be milked under some circumstances -- maybe if I got generous financial compensation. Then again, I've never breastfed... anyone. Not even my own baby. Actually, I've never had a baby. Anyway... the point is I'm not 100% sure what breastfeeding involves -- I've heard some women saying that it can be rough with complications like mastitis, and others finding it a relief.



I dunno.



Maybe I should leave the "under what circumstances would you be wililng to be milked?" question to the ladies. Or maybe not ask it at all.



Anyway, personally I don't consume dairy, but if you're trying to find out to what extent claims by putatively humane dairy producers are true and to what extent they're as cruel as other dairy producers, what I'd do is get a notebook, go around a grocery store where you'd shop, write down the brand names of putatively humane brands that are available where you'd shop, and then do some research on the internet, finding out who's the best and who's the worst. Or, if you're buying from, say, a farmer's market with a local dairy farmer who claims to treat his or her cattle well, but for whom there's no publicly available information... well, you'll just have to make the judgement call and decide whether to trust or not.
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#6 Old 07-01-2008, 09:24 PM
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Thank you Idhan for being the poster to actually understand and answer my question. I was asking if you have to drink dairy what is the less evil way of doing it. I do not want to go on the vegan board and be attacked by vegans telling me the cruelty of dairy farms.
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#7 Old 07-01-2008, 09:29 PM
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if i was going to look for 'humane dairy', i think i'd want to find out from an impartial source what 'organic dairy really means, legally. then i'd want to go and visit the farms i was considering getting dairy from personally, talk to the farmers, ask questions about the cows, and see it all for myself, before deciding. i think beyond the obvious, every place is going to be different. the term 'organic' doesn't automatically equal 'treat cows nicely' or 'small scale production'.
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#8 Old 07-01-2008, 09:31 PM
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Not to be contrary, but rather realistic: There is no humane dairy.



If one does their research, they'll find out all they need to find out.
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#9 Old 07-02-2008, 02:21 AM
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Why is it so important for you to drink milk?
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#10 Old 07-02-2008, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blugirl400 View Post

I was asking if you have to drink dairy what is the less evil way of doing it.



No-one has to drink dairy.

If you want to drink it, be aware of the suffering involved.



You might as well ask what is a less evil way of being a paedophile.
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#11 Old 07-02-2008, 03:31 AM
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Dont ask yourself if being lacto-ovo-vegetarian is enough for the vegans out there, because what vegans might think about it really isnt the issue here.



Rather ask yourself if someone else taking and drinking their milk is fair to the cow and her calf. (not to mention breeding them for this purpose) Veal is a dairy product too.



Quote:
Originally Posted by blugirl400 View Post

I strive to be a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I realize this may not be enough for the vegans out there, but I am trying.

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#12 Old 07-02-2008, 04:39 AM
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Milk is for cows and its also bad for you, most milk contains hormones, drugs, and pests, its really not nice to consume at all. Most cows suffer, as they are forced to produce more milk, in the end of the day milk is just gross! have you ever tryed soymilk? I was a vegeterian before so I know what its like, I used to use milk almost everyday, but I feel even better without it
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#13 Old 07-02-2008, 04:50 AM
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I don't use dairy at home, but my husband's not willing to give it up, so I do buy some for him.



In my county we have a couple of dairies. I've looked at them and seen how the cows spend their days (they're out in pasture as you drive by). I know them to be free of added hormones. So I buy from them. It's the best I can do given my constraints. Perhaps you could check out your own options.
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#14 Old 07-02-2008, 07:13 AM
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I was told by a dairy farmer that organic dairy is actually less humane because they can't give the cows medication, so if they get ill they just have to suffer.



besides

no matter how nicely they treat the cows when theyre giving milk, as soon as they cant any more theyre sold and killed. theres no retirement home for cows! keeping something alive just to take milk from it, killing its babies, then killing it once youre done with it doesnt seem humane to me. no matter how nice a farmer is he won't have the space and money to keep every single cow that can no longer produce milk
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#15 Old 07-02-2008, 07:45 AM
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Hi, Blugirl.



As I understand it, there are two main problems with milk, as regards the welfare of the cows:



1) Cows must become pregnant to produce milk. Roughly as many male calves are born as female- but they are not needed for modern dairy operations, so they are almost always butchered at an early age for meat. Can you find an operation which does not do this- perhaps a farm where the males are kept on as draft animals, or even as pets? And how long would a cow produce milk from one pregnancy? If she has one calf each year, as is usual with most dairies, there would shortly be a cow overpopulation problem... unless some of them were butchered for meat (as they generally are now- see below).



2) Cows can live for roughly 20 years, I think. But they lose the capacity to produce milk much sooner than they would normally die of old age, as do almost all mammals (including us humans). What will be done with these retired cows?



Theoretically, I think these problems could be avoided if people were willing to pay an extremely high price for milk from a farm which did not kill cows who were not producing, but such an operation would find it hard to compete with other dairies otherwise. I think some dairies run by Krishna devotees would be acceptable, but I'm not sure.

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#16 Old 07-02-2008, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blugirl400 View Post

Thank you Idhan for being the poster to actually understand and answer my question. I was asking if you have to drink dairy what is the less evil way of doing it. I do not want to go on the vegan board and be attacked by vegans telling me the cruelty of dairy farms.



The vegan board does not 'attack' people. I've found that part of the board very supportive, they might inform you of the cruelty of dairy because there IS a lot of cruelty involved, whether you choose to turn a blind eye is up to you. That's why people have mentioned it here, you asked if dairy is ever humane and people have given their opinion.



If you want milk then I'd suggest looking for a local source and seeing how they treat their cows. But as someone has mentioned, restaurants are likely to use the cheapest milk they can get, which probably isn't very humane. And seeing as you wouldn't want to go vegan in a restaurant, then you'd be contributing towards 'eviler' milk (lol eviler)



My opinion? It's not humane, but if you don't want to even consider veganism then that's up to you. I would suggest trying rice and oat milk though, not just because they're humane but because they taste a lot nicer. Oat cream is fantastic in hot chocolate. Nomnomnom
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#17 Old 07-02-2008, 08:14 AM
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Mod Reminder: This is the VEGETARIAN forum, not the vegan forum. The OP is looking for suggestions about how to purchase dairy *as humanely as possible.* This is not an appropriate place to debate the use of dairy. If you cannot answer the question posed, please respect the OP's wishes that this not become an anti-milk thread.

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#18 Old 07-02-2008, 08:19 AM
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I was trying to suggest ways of procuring milk humanely, but I might not have come across that way.

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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#19 Old 07-02-2008, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom View Post

I was trying to suggest ways of procuring milk humanely, but I might not have come across that way.



My post wasn't directed at anyone in particular Just trying to keep things civil around here.

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#20 Old 07-02-2008, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

Mod Reminder: This is the VEGETARIAN forum, not the vegan forum. The OP is looking for suggestions about how to purchase dairy *as humanely as possible.* This is not an appropriate place to debate the use of dairy. If you cannot answer the question posed, please respect the OP's wishes that this not become an anti-milk thread.



In that case the thread title is very misleading and should be changed.
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#21 Old 07-02-2008, 11:42 AM
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yeah, i answered it strictly by the title before i saw that it was in the vegetarian section. my bad.
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#22 Old 07-02-2008, 11:51 AM
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Another good arguement as to why this section should have a header like the teen or womens sections.

Lynn

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#23 Old 07-02-2008, 11:52 AM
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I've added a note to the thread title, hopefully this will help. I didn't want to entirely change the title to something different without being asked to by the OP.
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#24 Old 07-02-2008, 11:56 AM
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The OP is asking how well animals are treated on various dairy farms and what people think about it.

"and I stand

upon a mountain

made of weak and useless men"

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#25 Old 07-02-2008, 01:51 PM
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link deleted
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#26 Old 07-02-2008, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilac wine View Post

link erased! thank goodness!



I received an infraction from a mod for doing what this poster is doing (posting a link to milk info). My posts were deleted, too. Mods, please distribute the same punishment here. Thanks.



WARNING: DO NOT POST LINKS IN THE VEGETARIAN SECTION DISCOURAGING MILK-DRINKERS FROM DRINKING MILK.
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#27 Old 07-02-2008, 02:31 PM
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didn't realize. will erase link.
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#28 Old 07-02-2008, 02:34 PM
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It's one of those unwritten rules that apparently can get you banned and "common sense" says you would avoid. For instance, talking about milk in a thread about milk is bad if that thread is in the vegetarian forum. I completely agree with the mods and am in 100% favor of preventing this kind of horrible thing from occurring again in the future.
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#29 Old 07-02-2008, 02:42 PM
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i will leave it at this, then, because i understand you want to know whether organic is more humane:



if anything, i would argue that organic dairy is significantly LESS "humane" (i.e. more cruel) in a few ways than conventional dairy.



Before she and all of her babies are slaughtered like all other dairy animals due to consumer demand for her breastmilk, an organic dairy cow will stay "part of the herd" for another 2-4 years beyond the average conventional (non-organic) dairy cow's "tour of duty"...This means that her body will be forced through 2-4 more pregnancies, 2-4 more years of constant milking, and that she will have 2-4 more of her calves stolen away from her as newborns never to be seen again. Also, she, like most dairy cows, will more than likely have mastitis (udder infections) due to the constant milkings- the vast majority of dairy cows suffer from this- but because she is an "organic" cow, she will receive no antibiotics to treat this infection or other medicines for various other illnesses she may suffer from.



And the slaughtering happens in the same facilities all other dairy cows are slaughtered in, so there's no difference there at all.
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#30 Old 07-02-2008, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabid_child View Post

Mod Reminder: This is the VEGETARIAN forum, not the vegan forum. The OP is looking for suggestions about how to purchase dairy *as humanely as possible.* This is not an appropriate place to debate the use of dairy. If you cannot answer the question posed, please respect the OP's wishes that this not become an anti-milk thread.



The OP asked the question 'Is dairy ever humane?' and I feel that gives me the right to reply (wherever it was asked). In fact, as someone who cares about animal suffering, I feel an obligation to do so.
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