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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I shop for the food for my family and this month I bought all organic dairy products. I live in the Central Valley of CA and know just what a dairy farm looks like and I can't bring myself to use their products anymore. Is buying organic any better? I have been a lacto veg my whole life and I am looking for a way to eat dairy without the horror of factory style dairy farms. Do you have any suggestions? I noticed that because I payed top dollar for everything we consumed much less dairy this month as well (which is good for my waistline) and the cows.
 

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from what i have heard those cows are not treated any better. they suffer the same conditions and are denyed medical care if it's needed so that they can still be considered "organic" hopefully someone will post who knows more about it then i do

personally, for my own health i have given up dairy

my best suggestion is soymilk


good luck with it all
 

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I would think that unless you are buying your milk directly from a small farm where you can see what is going on, then it probably isn't much better. In order for commercial organic dairy farms to make money, I would think they would be run the same/similar to other factory dairy farms. I really don't know for sure, though. And then there are those with the view that milk is not produced for our consumption anyway, etc. etc.
 

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I went in search for a response to your question. This is what I found on www.goveg.com under ther secion "Organic and free range Products:fact or fiction"

A recent Gallup poll found that 96 percent of Americans believe that animals should be protected from cruelty, yet animals on today's farms receive no protection from even the worst abuses.1 As people become more aware of the horrors of factory farming, companies are responding by adding labels to their products with comforting words such as organic, free-range, cage-free, natural, and Swine Welfare Assurance Program (SWAP).

These labels may conjure up images of animals who roam freely in green pastures, but the reality of life and death for animals on organic, free-range, and SWAP farms is very different. On organic and free-range farms, most animals are mutilated without the use of painkillers, kept in filthy, disease-ridden sheds, and finally forced to endure a long trip to the slaughterhouse without food or water. There are no humane slaughterhousesin fact, free-range and organic animals are often sent to the same slaughterhouses that kill animals from factory farms.

By far, the most common animal welfare labels are SWAP and United Egg Producers (UEP) Certified. These labels are simply fancy names for factory farmingboth were created by meat and egg lobbying groups, and both simply serve to put a happy face on the absolute worst practices in today's factory farms.

The UEP Certified label reads, Produced in Compliance With United Egg Producers' Animal Husbandry Guidelines. What the label doesn't say is that the "guidelines" mean next to nothing. The program allows factory farmers to cut off hens' sensitive beaks with a hot blade, cram six or seven hens into a tiny cage where they can't spread even one wing, and house them in filthy sheds with more than 100,000 other hens.2 UEP had been stamping its egg cartons Animal Care Certified," but after Compassion Over Killing sued the industry for misleading consumers, the industry was forced to adopt the less deceptive UEP Certified label. However, the exact same horrific treatment of hens continues. Watch what happens on UEP-certified farms.

The SWAP label shows a gentle hand cradling a pig. In reality, SWAP allows all the worst abuses, including keeping mother pigs in filthy cement-and-metal crates so small that they can't even turn around and cutting piglets' ears, yanking out their testicles, and chopping off their tailsall without any painkillers. SWAP even allows farms to kill sick piglets by slamming their heads into the pavement.3 Most people would agree that the products from animals who are abused in these ways should not be labeled care certified or welfare assurance, but the meat and egg industries have adopted these phrases to con consumers and increase their profits.

Animal products with labels designed to make us feel good about eating animals are typically not much better for the animals themselves than the regular animal products are, but they are also nearly as harmful to our health. The only advantage that organic products have is that they are not laced with arsenic, antibiotics, or hormones. Although flesh from these animals might be safer than that from drugged animals, the best choice is to avoid all meat. Organic, natural, and free-range flesh, milk, and eggs are devoid of complex carbohydrates and fiber and are laden with artery-clogging saturated fat and cholesterol, just as all animal products are. Major studies linking the consumption of animal products to heart disease, cancer, and other leading killers suggest that it's these components of animal foods-animal fat, animal protein, and a lack of fiber-that cause disease. Organic and free-range animals are killed in the same filthy slaughterhouses as animals from factory farms, so their flesh is subject to the same bacterial contamination from unsanitary conditions as well.


Also, not to mention that the standards for diary in the US (I dont know where you are from, so I'm saying the US) are much, much worse than any other country. Europe will not buy milk from us (at least so I am told) b/c we will allow milk full of puss and other nasty things to be sold. I would try to switch over to soy or rice milk. You may have to try a few brands to find one you like, but it's worth it.


I hope this helped you.
 

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I know there are one or two companies that do actually have some better (I will not say good) conditions; the big company buys from smaller companies and sells it all under one label. However, this does not get rid of veal calfs and the suffer the mother cow feels when her baby is taken away.
 

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Organic Valley is a co-op of independently-owned organic dairy farms whose conditions are not those of factory farms.

http://organicvalley.coop/why_organi...treatment.html

Quote:
  • All Organic Valley animals, including chickens and turkeys, have access to outdoors. Cattle graze in pasture whenever possible. Hogs live unconfined, and bed on thick straw. Natural sunlight is required in the hen houses.
  • Organic Valley animals are raised on some of the smallest farms in America! Many of our dairy farmer-members have less than 20 cows. Appropriate scale is important to our philosophy of animal welfare.
http://organicvalley.coop/why_organi...practices.html

http://organicvalley.coop/why_organi...ent/index.html
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaleigh View Post

Europe will not buy milk from us (at least so I am told) b/c we will allow milk full of puss and other nasty things to be sold.
No, it's because non-organic US dairy farmers tend to use rBGH which is banned for use in Europe.
 

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Things work a little differently in Australia, for the most part our animals are raised in paddocks etc as opposed to factory farmed (with the exception of pigs and some chickens) and we have a few companies who actually state on their dairy products that the animals are treated humanely (which I would imagine would really be false advertising if not true). A lot of our meat etc is imported from the US though. I tend to buy free range and organic but I'm careful about the wording on the packets. If it states that the chickens actually are free range and are allowed outside etc I'll buy it, if it just claims free range without explanation I'm a little wary (hubby and kids are omni's, hence me buying meat and dairy).
 

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On virtually all dairies including Organic Valley you can be sure, calves are stolen from their mothers at two days old, and the milk they need is diverted to humans who don't need it. The cows are forcibly impregnated every starting very young, and when their milk production drops some time in young adulthood, they're trucked to the slaughterhouse, often over long distances in sweltering heat or freezing cold. Sick cows may get little or no veterinary treatment, because it's not cost-effective. The cows produce lots more milk than they would in the wild, because we've forced them to, through intensive breeding. The high volumes of milk extracted leach calcium and minerals from their bones and many develop osteoporosis.

There are cruelties upon cruelties in essentially all commercial dairies. To put it in math terms, dairy=humane is an unsolvable equation for all practical purposes. My recommendation - just to save time, get to the bottom line, and ease animal suffering as much as practically possible as soon as practically possible - would be to skip the whole quest for humane dairy and start the quest for alternatives, of which there are many, and to suck it up and go without some cheese products. In time, there will be vegan alternatives for all of them. In the meantime, it is a nice feeling knowing that you're refraining from inflicting avoidable harm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I have never bought meat or eggs because of religious reasons. I have been past many of the horrible factory farms and know people who work and justify the animal cruelty that is found there. I noticed that by buying organic this month we consumed half of what we normally do. I need to start small with this in my family. My husband is also a lacto vegg and doesn't plan on not drinking milk. I use Silk soymilk right now and like it. I do not like most soy or rice cheeses. I do like goat cheese. Is that industry any better?

Thank you for the responses.
 

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Riverguna have you looked at Joanne Stepaniks The Ultimate Uncheese cookbook? It has loads of recipes for "cheeses". I've tried a couple, mostly the sauces and some of them a pretty good (and I was a cheese lover!)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegzilla View Post

On virtually all dairies including Organic Valley you can be sure, calves are stolen from their mothers at two days old, and the milk they need is diverted to humans who don't need it.
Sorry to be nit-picky, but I have emailed back and forth with Organic Valley and they allow calves to stay with their mothers for longer than 2 days (I think it's between 4 days and 2 weeks). Not that it's THAT much better, just wanted to put the accurate info out there.

I used to buy from Organic Valley. But I just couldn't continue to do so in good conscience because of the reality that eventually, the calves ARE taken away. I'm a mother myself and I just don't want to have any part of babies being taken from their mothers.

However, if you are going to eat dairy or eggs, and you aren't going to go farm-direct, I think Organic Valley is one of the better options out there.
 

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I just dug up an email I received from O.V. awhile back, in case anyone is interested:

Quote:
Thank you for contacting us at Organic Valley.

Organic Valley and it's farmers strive for quality and are always glad to hear from our satisfied customers. Organic Valley appreciates your support!

Here are the answers to your questions in the order in which you asked

them:

Organic Valley's poultry farmers buy their chicks from an outside source at the age of 2-3 days old, so they receive only female chicks.

The farmers must also follow strict rules for the humane treatment of the birds. The chickens must have exposure to natural light and have adequate outdoor space. No cages or forced molting is allowed.

Organic Valley's poultry farmers do not practice debeaking of their chicks. The chicks for laying hens may have what is called tipping done.

Most farmers get their chicks at no more than 3 days old and by the time they have arrived at the farmers they have been tipped already. Tipping is where the very tip of the beak that is extremely sharp is taken off.

Tipping only removes the tip and is done to prevent feather picking and cannibalism, which can cause great pain and suffering to many in the flock. In debeaking up to 1/3 of the beaks are removed. This process is restricted in the certification regulations.

On our website, www.farmers.coop., there is some more information about required animal treatment. You can also find the mandatory requirements for our egg producers on this website. From the homepage click on on "See Farm Requirements" (highlighted in red,on the right-hand side of the page), then click on the egg pool on the left-hand side.

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Most farmer's leave the newborn calves with the mother to naturally nurse for 3-4 days. After this period of time the calves are started on bottle feedings. They still receive mother's milk for 1-2 weeks via bottle and then they are switched over to pail feedings, where they will continue to receive milk until they are 6-12 months. The time periods will vary depending on the management technique of each individual farmer. All of our farmers are required to feed whole natural milk and are restricted from using milk replacer. In the case of our farmers, removing the calves from the mothers at two weeks is not a hindrance, but helps to create a better bond between that calf and the farmer. The calves receive one on one attention while being bottle fed, which creates an environment that is calm and relaxed, as the animal is familiar with human contact. This makes the transition into the milking herd much more calm. The calves are not scared and nervous, and they will come to the farmers whenever they enter the pasture areas, wanting to be petted or looking for feed.

Our male calves do not end up in confinement veal operations. Veal producers rely on cheap, abundant sources of calves from the conventional dairy industry. Organically raised male calves have a much higher value than their conventional counterparts. Our farmers either raise the males as steers for the organic meat market or sell them to other organic farmers that specialize in beef.

It makes sense for an organic farmer to pay a higher price for organically raised calves, since they will receive a higher price for the meat at the end of the process. Organic farmers cannot raise calves in confinement conditions, so you will not find white veal producers in our cooperative.

I hope this provides you with the information that you requested. Do not hesitate to contact me if you require additional assistance.

Sincerely,

Brandy Smith-Vuich

Organic Valley/ Cropp Cooperative

Consumer Relations

1-888-444-6455 ext.437

[email protected]
Even though I think they are so much better than the alternatives, I am vegan for 2 reasons:

1. Organic dairy cows still have their calves taken away

2. Organic egg producers buy their chicks from commercial hatcheries, thus supporting the industry that "disposes" of male chicks by suffocation, grinding, or other methods.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RiverGuna View Post

I have never bought meat or eggs because of religious reasons. I have been past many of the horrible factory farms and know people who work and justify the animal cruelty that is found there. I noticed that by buying organic this month we consumed half of what we normally do. I need to start small with this in my family. My husband is also a lacto vegg and doesn't plan on not drinking milk. I use Silk soymilk right now and like it. I do not like most soy or rice cheeses. I do like goat cheese. Is that industry any better?

Thank you for the responses.
If you cut your family's milk consumption in half that's huge progress.

I imagine goat farming is a cruel as the rest. Probably the male kids that are produced as a result of impregnating the females are sent to horrible slaughter as soon as they reach adulthood.

I don't know if you all eat much cream cheee but I think the Toffuti "Better Than Cream Cheese" is better than most soy cheese. Some of the vegan parmesan's not bad, either, especially since it's typically mixed in with so many other things. I also liked the suggestion of the Un-Cheese cookbook.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I will have to check out the cookbook. All my books right now include dairy. I have used rice parmesan and liked it. One of my daughters doesn't do well with dairy so I have been supplementing since she started eating.

That is interesting information about goats. I must admit some of it was way above my head.
 

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i found that, when i was vegan, i prefered to simply not have anything 'cheese like' and just rely on foods and sauces that i liked 'for themselves.'

i found most 'cheesey' recipes to be full of ingredients that were expensive, or hard to find, or just have a lot of ingredients. and often, with lots of work and little pay off.

so, instead, i just got into other things that i liked and used those instead. it was just easier to not look for or think about 'cheese substitutes' and instead just find foods that exist, recipes that exist that are cheeseless and enjoyable for themselves. and then use those.
 

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I used to work on a goat farm, and while the conditions for the goats were generally pleasant (green pastures, warm barn, nice caregivers who knew all of them by name), they still had their babies taken from them every year, and the majority of the babies were sent to a nearby meat farm. Some of the mothers got over losing their babies quickly, some took longer, and some never got over it. There were a couple in particular who, even a year after their first birth, still cried mournfully all the time and constantly looked for their babies.

There is no such thing as cruelty-free dairy farming. What I described is about as good as it gets.
 

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YES it is better to buy organic, ALWAYS. Is it the best ever? Maybe not. Is it closer to the best ever than glow in the dark pasteurized homogenized glow in the dark pesticide larvacide hormonally altered..milk? YES it is much better.

I have heard horizon organic dairy is not as ethical as they could be, and they ranked lowest out of all the dairy farms in ethics. I usually get organic valleys raw cheese.
 
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