By now you probably have seen the Conklin Dairy footage. If you have not please go watch it here…right now. Then report back! (I could embed it in this post, but it is so horrific I cannot bear to.) I must emphasize the fact that this incident is extreme, but by no means is it rare. The dairy industry is just that -an industry. These companies regard these animals as products and a means to gain capital, not as living, breathing, feeling, sentient beings.
Now come, lets sit by the fire and talk about what is wrong with this picture by covering some questions that are now running through the minds of many.
Why does this happen?
This issue of abuse is not just an animal rights issue.. it is a human rights issue. Dairy and factory farms typically employ those who are willing to do hard, dirty labor for extremely cheap. There is no background check necessary. The type of people that apply for these positions are typically ones with sordid pasts and/or psychological problems. They are treated poorly and are expected work in inhumane conditions themselves. This industry is completely self-regulated, so this leaves these frustrated, troubled employees left to do as they please – as long as they are producing.
Are all dairy farms operated like this?
In all fairness – no. There are a handful of companies that pride themselves in treating their animals, employees and consumers with much respect. These are typically small family-owned farms that hold the credo of providing an organic and sustainable product. But again, this industry is completely self regulated. Do not trust labels like “free range” or “cage free” – they mean virtually nothing. Unless you can go visit these farms yourself – do not believe what the label says.
Are there any other issues with dairy?
So many! Dairy essentially makes no sense for humans to consume. We have been duped by the dairy industry into believing that we NEED their products in order to live a healthy life, and this is not the truth at all.
Fact #1 We are the only species that drinks another mammals milk and continues to drink it past the early stages of childhood. Mammals are meant to drink their mother’s milk until they are fit to be weaned. For humans this is 6-12 months.
Fact #2 Most dairy contains steroids, growth hormones and antibiotics. All of these things are given to cows to help them grow bigger, faster and to not spread disease. You know what else is commonly found in milk? Pus and mucus. Fun!
Fact #3 We are led to believe that dairy is our only source of calcium and vitamin D. Let me start by saying that the vitamin D in milk is fortified! That means it is added after the fact – the same as taking a supplement. The same amount of vitamin D can be found in fortified soy and rice milks or in the sun! Calcium can be found in all leafy greens (kale, spinach, collards), molasses, tofu, tempeh, beans, tahini, broccoli and almonds – just to name a few!
Fact #4 Dairy consumption is linked to allergies, cancer, acne, obesity, diabetes and even osteoporosis!
Fact #5 What happens to the male calves that will not become a mating bull? Why, they become veal of course. And we all know about veal.
Fact #6 Dairy farms contribute to the same environmental degradation that factory farms do. This includes toxic runoff, wasted corn and soy supplies, and tremendous use of fossil fuels.
What can we do to help?
Go vegan! (duh!) Boycotting the whole industry is the best way to prove a point. Money speaks louder than anything else!
Spread the knowledge. In this day and age, knowledge spreads quicker and more effectively than ever before. Share this article and the Conklin video with everyone you know and love.
Be a leader. Start your own campaign. Be creative and fight for a noble cause.