By Suzana Megles
I think the celebrities who sport milk mustaches have failed to do their homework. Do we really need milk? Considering that there are many vegetable sources with less fat and calories for realizing our calcium needs–then the answer has to be no. And if we consider the impact on the environment of raising cows for milk or meat, it should be abundantly clear that we should try to wean ourselves as much as possible from dairy and meat.
By now -many of us have heard that cows produce a lot of methane which causes more greenhouse gases in the air then gas guzzling cars or coal-burning factories. As a result, we can safely say that vegetarians account for much, much less methane gas in the atmosphere as compared to meat eaters.
Now Heather Moore in her CARE 2 post entitled “Tyson Fined $2M For Mucking Up Missouri River” gives us yet another very good reason why we should not only limit our meat intake but also limit drinking milk – which, despite the dairy promotions, are suspect.
Aside from the dubious health benefits of milk which have already been written about countless times – there is the sad picture at Moore’s post of two cows with heavy, heavy tits filled with milk. This must not be pleasant for them to carry around day after day until they are finally milked. This process is repeated day after day after day.
For all practical purposes they have no life. They are artificially inseminated, their boy calves are wrested from them shortly after birth (they feel the pang of the loss of their baby calves), and there are no more green pastures in the sun where they can chew their cud contendedly with their calves close by. We have made these living beings who have basic needs like our own – into milk-producing machines. And sadly, after years on the milk line, these cows go to slaughter — some of them alive because of fast lines which fail to stun them properly.
Some of the comments at Moore’s site re drinking milk were aimed at vegans. A couple said that we were self-righteous and overbearing in our smugness. Well, I think there is nothing self-righteous about factual truth, and if we are smug – I am sorry for that. We do the animals a huge disfavor.
Re the Tyson fine of 2 million dollars – the Justice Department levied it against this huge producer of beef and pork for violating an agreement re the pumping of animal wastes into the Missouri River. They were to limit its discharges into the Missouri River and obviously the five million gallons of “treated wastewater” from their Nebraska beef processing facility which goes into the river EACH day was way too much. This causes high levels of toxicity to aquatic life in the river. (I don’t know if people fish in this river – but if I were a fish eater (which I am not), I would think twice about eating the fish caught here).
Per Moore: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported that factory farms pollute our waterways more than all other industrial souces combined. According to the EPA, chicken, hog, and cattle excrement have polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states. Animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population- 87,000 pounds per second. ”
Why isn’t this reported on our national TV news? Shouldn’t people be made aware of this – hopefully leading those who care to change their dietary lifestyles to do so? I can only imagine that the national news outlets are afraid of losing advertisement dollars. Am I right?
I thought that I would stop at this point but decided that Moore’s quotation from a Scripps Howard synopsis of a Senate Agricultural Committee report on farm pollution re animal wastes warranted inclusion here as well:
“It’s untreated and unsanitary, bubbling with chemicals and diseased…It goes onto the soil and into the water that many people will, ultimately, bathe in and wash their clothes with and drink. It is poisoning rivers and killing fish and making people sick… Catastrophic cases of pollution, sickness, and death are occurring in areas where livestock operations are concentrated…Every place where the animal factories have located, neighbors have complained of falling sick.”
I think we need a lot of “Erin Brokoviches” to help these people. Maybe if these big factory farm conglomerates were faced with lawsuits, they would come to realize that big factory-intensive farms are no way to raise animals for meat or milk.
But even more then lawsuits- the farm conglomermates will have to change their modus operandi if a lot more people will be prompted to change their diets and eat less meat and drink less milk. If people can’t find any reasons from doing so by reading what Moore compiled here- then sadly, I guess they never will and the farm animals will continue to suffer and the people near these factory farm operations will continue to get sick. Hopefully, good laws to protect these animals will instead become the norm. Some states like California are moving in this direction.