Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

The Drop Dairy Challenge

Published on February 3, 2010 by   ·   15 Comments Pin It

What a week! Oprah hosts a show on food with bestselling author Michael Pollan and The Kind Diet author Alicia Silverstone, who goes vegan food shopping with Oprah’s camera crew. And Mercy for Animals’ new shocking dairy farm investigation lands stories on Nightline and ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer. Today Marisa Miller-Wolfson of Kind Green Planet challenges you to drop dairy for one week!

Those who’ve seen footage of dairy farms wouldn’t have been surprised by the cruelty depicted in the footage. Not only are many of the practices common throughout the industry, but they’re not even illegal, including:

  • Calves having their horns burned off without painkillers.
  • Calves having their tails cut off without painkillers – a practice opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  • Newborn calves dragged away from their mourning Mothers.
  • Cows living in overcrowded sheds on manure-coated concrete flooring.

But it’s the stuff that didn’t land on the news that hit me in the gut. Check out the investigator’s diary for a more complete picture of daily operations. Two of the tamest excerpts:

Day 30

My supervisor told me that our cows are impregnated every time their daily production drops below 65 pounds per day, which is four times that which a nursing cow naturally produces. I asked him when they are sent for slaughter. “When they can’t f—ing walk,” he told me.

“So we’ll just keep impregnating them until they get sick?” I asked.

“Until they’re too old or ’til they get sick or something happens to ’em,” he said.

He told me that they are usually spent by the age of four or five, about a quarter of the natural lifespan of a cow.

Day 32

I was surprised to hear this same supervisor acknowledge the cows’ capacity for emotion. While I repaired a motor, the cows crowded around me and fervently licked my back. He explained that after they calve, their mothering instinct never leaves. I asked him if he had ever seen cows get angry when their babies are taken after calving. He answered with an emphatic “yes,” telling me that they think, “If you’re taking my kid, you’re dead… and then once you f—ing get the calf outta there she’ll be runnin’ around the box stalls lookin’ for it for days.”

Unfortunately, even organically and locally raised cows are almost always separated from their babies after birth and are always killed after their milk production declines.

You can (and should) watch the video here:

In honor of the dairy cows and their calves, we’re doing a “Drop the Dairy” week. Pick a day to start your 7-day stint, and see how you do.

Fear a fierce cheese craving? Plan ahead. Put the ingredients of Alicia’s favorite Mac n Cheese recipe on your shopping list.

Or add her husband’s favorite pizza to your list, and shred some Follow Your Heart vegan mozzarella on top. Putting it on broil for a few minutes under a high temp will help it melt.

Wanna know which vegan recipe Oprah and Laura Linney rave about? Alicia’s Cheesy Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip. You can even watch Laura and Alicia make it in Laura’s kitchen.

Want a reminder of some of the delicious non-dairy products that are out there?   Check out Marisa’s favorite non-dairy cheese here, and our favorite vegan ice creams here.   On another, and yet similar note, feminists of all genders will want to read this before continuing to support the dairy industry.

Got other non-dairy favorites you want to rave about? Leave a comment below.

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Readers Comments (15)

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by mikebowers1: RT @GirlieGirlArmy: The DROP DAIRY challenge. Why and how:

  2. Kristin says:

    I’m going to repost this on my fb. Some ppl just don’t have a clue, or worse, don’t want to know.

  3. elaine says:

    Also reposting to FB.

  4. Rad_Rosa89 says:

    I’m so glad I don’t support this.

  5. Catherine says:

    There are so many great soy and nut-based alternatives to cow’s milk. I favor the plain flavor Pacific Natural Foods organic almond beverage. Perfect for morning cereal/granola, cocoa, and more.

    Trader Joe’s makes a great soy creamer for coffee, tea, or to thicken homemade soups.

    If you have one nearby, they have a handy vegan list:

  6. Rawqueen says:

    Thank you so much for these exciting vegan valentine possibilities! Who knew there were so many creative gift ideas out there. I find these particularly helpful because my family is vegan/very raw. Also the info re:dairy, though it is second nature to some of us, is very helpful as a reference for folks who are on the leaving dairy border! This should definitely push them over into vegan territory! Give thanks and I will be sure to check out this site again!

  7. Marisa says:

    Thanks, all, for spreading the word. And thanks to you, Catherine, for the Trader Joe’s link. I’ll forward it along!

  8. Melina says:

    As much as I hear the cry for vegan, not once has Girlie Girl Army mentioned the many revolutionary farmers who practice humane treatment of their animals. Animals who give their milk freely and abundantly keeping their babies healthy and having enough to share with their fellow humans. I am open-minded, so if you have some way to address your opposition to this kind of conscious dairy-eating then please speak up.

  9. Chloe says:

    Melina – we do not believe animals are here for us to use as food or clothing. PERIOD. And our thoughts on your “humane” farming are covered in When YOU have just given birth and don’t mind numerous people stealing the milk made for YOUR babies… let us know.

  10. Simone says:

    Melina, sometimes I wish I could wake up with rose -colored glasses as you do and see the world all flowers, peace, love and light but the reality is, animals raised as slaves in whatever varying degree of slavery they are put in is WRONG. How would you feel if you just gave birth to a beautiful shiny new human baby and some revolutionary government official said that not only would your milk be used to feed your precious new baby but ALL the babies on your street, then in your town and well..just about every baby everywhere and when you cant produce anymore milk, some terrific guy will come along and make sure your body is so abused by artifical means to make it think its constantly in a state of pregnancy that your body becomes nothing more than a milk machine …how would you feel? Women make enough milk to feed our own. We have the choice…they dont. I hope your open mindedness alows you to see animals as individuals that were not put here on this Earth for us to use in any way….they deserve the right to be left alone. We do well….no BETTER without dairy (and meat of course)…so instead of sticking up for those great farmers out there who selfishly use animals for profit lets give props to those that rescue these animals and give them a chance to again..simply be left alone.

  11. April Oh says:

    Definite food for thought! Just send this post to those naive enough to say “Cows don’t get killed for milk – so ‘duh!’ dairy’s okay” (…like Paul McCarthy) or “I would be vegan, but I just really LOOOOVE cheese.” Lame.
    The trick is getting the word out to those who really need to be receptive to this message. Thanks for always doing your best, Chloe!

  12. Ari says:

    Melina – Furthering Chloe and Simone’s points, I’d just like to add that even the most “humane” dairy farmer eventually sends his cows to slaughter once they’ve stopped producing significant amounts of milk. And 99% of animals, even those raised on what’s considered the best farms, end up in the same ghastly slaughterhouses as their factory farmed brothers and sisters.

    Also consider this: since cows have to be pregnant in order to produce mammary secretions, their offspring is also a byproduct of dairy farming. Female calves can obviously become dairy cows but male calves have no use to a dairy farmer and will usually wind up becoming veal.

    Dairy consumption is not only unnecessary for humans, it’s also completely unnatural. Humans are the only mammals that drink the mammary secretions of another animal. We’re also the only species that drinks milk past childhood. Let’s all make the conscious decision to grow up and stop drinking milk that was never meant to be ours in the first place.

  13. Marisa says:

    Thanks, Melina, for speaking up when I’m sure many others have thought the same thing but didn’t want to cause a stir…or didn’t want to hear the other side.

    Thanks also for your open-mindedness. It seems that others have already summed up the main points:

    -all dairy cows are killed once their milk production declines. In fact, vets/scientists are studying senior cows at farm sanctuaries because dairy cows are never allowed to outlive their milk productivity on even the best of farms. Once their milk production declines, they become a huge economic liability and are slaughtered.
    -babies are separated from their mothers, even on local “humane” farms
    -we don’t need dairy to survive; in fact, we’re better off leaving our arteries free and clear of the artery-clogging cholesterol
    -every year more delicious dairy alternatives products hit the marketplace and make it easier than ever to drop dairy

    Thanks for caring about the treatment of cows and for your openness to hearing another perspective.

  14. […] vile humans in the newly released video from Mercy For Animals) and often indirectly (your glass of milk, lipstick, shoes.) But the first step towards non-harming is recognition and change.  We can all […]

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