The dairy industry is struggling. We have all seen the falling prices of milk and farms closing down because of debts. Now more has been added to its misery.
A recent high profile vegan advertising campaign targeted the dairy industry, among other industries that exploit animals, with messages such as ‘humane milk is a lie – don’t buy it’ and ‘the dairy industry takes babies from their mothers’.
The National Farmers’ Union has called the campaign ‘a wakeup call’ not because it misrepresents the dairy industry as they say, but precisely the opposite – because it tells people exactly what happens on British dairy farms.
Anyone with basic research skills and the Internet can verify the claims made in the adverts. Google ‘life of a dairy cow’ and you will see information about how cows are artificially inseminated, have their calves taken away so they don’t drink the milk that is meant to be sold, and are kept indoors for the vast majority of their life.
You will see that male calves have no value to the dairy industry and are killed for veal at a young age. You will see that female calves face the same fate as their mothers, treated as mere milk-making machines.
There can be no refutation of the fact that calves are taken away from their mothers, a truly distressing ordeal that goes against the mother’s natural instincts to care for her young. She would naturally live up to 25 years, but on a dairy farm she will be slaughtered at age 4 or 5 when her milk production drops.
These practices happen on all farms, regardless of any high welfare labels or how long the cows get to spend outside. Dairy farms exist solely for profit, and animal welfare is greatly compromised.
It is jarring to hear about farmers ‘caring’ for dairy cows, and then going on to say that the animals will either end up in the dairy herd or slaughtered for their flesh; it would be troubling if this was the usual usage of the word ‘care’.
Go Vegan World’s campaign may come as a shock to many people because of the years of dairy industry propaganda that we have become used to.
Remember the ‘Got milk?’ adverts, or the ones that tell you ‘happy cows give better milk’? It’s ironic that cows are assigned human characteristics like happiness when it suits the industry, while at the same time animal advocates are told that animals do not have emotional lives akin to humans.
Now that someone is directly calling out the dairy industry on its lies, industry representatives feel obliged to act. And they should, because more and more people are learning the truth about dairy and picking up almond, soya or oat milk instead.
If you are interested in learning more about veganism, take the 30-day Vegan Pledge at www.vegansociety.com/veganpledge now.
(Featured image: newborn male dairy calf, destined to be raised and slaughtered for veal. Credit Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals)