By Heather Moore
I didn’t want coal in my Christmas stocking, so this Christmas I offered Santa vegan milk — never cow’s milk!
Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do — to feed their babies. Cows naturally produce only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves, but genetic manipulation and, in some cases, antibiotics and hormones are used to force each cow to make more than 22,000 pounds of milk a year.
On dairy farms, both organic and conventional, female cows are forcibly impregnated every year so that they’ll produce a steady supply of milk for humans. The calves are torn away from their mothers soon after they’re born, which causes both mother and baby extreme distress. Mother cows bellow for their babies for days.
Most male calves end up in barren feedlots, where they’re fattened and then killed for beef — meat from cows on dairy farms makes up about 20% of the U.S. ground beef market. The calves raised for veal are chained up in small crates and fed a formula that’s low in iron so that they’ll become anemic and their flesh will stay pale. They’re sent to slaughter when they’re only 3 to 18 weeks old.
Female calves are treated as milk machines, like their mothers. Some are forced to spend their lives standing on concrete, and others are confined to crowded lots, where they must live amid their own feces. When they’re too sick or worn out to produce much milk — usually when they’re around 4 or 5 years old — they, too, end up at the slaughterhouse, bloodied and dangling by a hind leg with their throats cut.
Even the Grinch wouldn’t support such cruelty to animals!
Vegan milk is delicious, healthy, humane and environmentally friendly, which is important if you’re dreaming of a green holiday season. University of Oxford researchers found that producing a glass of dairy milk results in about three times more greenhouse-gas emissions than vegan milk and consumes nine times as much land. That land is used for pasture and to grow the animals’ feed, which causes them to belch out massive amounts of methane.
If you want to get on Santa’s “nice” list for next year, take it from me: Drink vegan milk! Cook with it, too! As the researchers pointed out, choosing plant milk over cow’s milk is much better for the planet, not to mention for animals – and you! Happy New Year!
Substitute vegan options for milk, eggs, butter this holiday season!