Healthy milk comes from less-gassy, longer-lived cows, study says

By Leah Zerbe
Rodale News

A new report by Harvard found that grass-based, organic dairy farmers operate much more lightly on the planet, while often producing milk that’s healthier for people. It’s better for cows, too: They live significantly longer and under better conditions than chemical-based dairy operations, writes Leah Zerbe.

In 2006, a United Nations report raised some eyebrows when it found that cow flatulence accounts for more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the tailpipe emissions from the transportation sector combined. The report blamed issues associated with industrialized operations—things like cutting down rain forests for grazing land; feeding cows an unnatural diet of corn and soy that creates excess, methane-laced cow flatulence; and massive pools of liquid manure that accumulate in huge, factory-like production systems. A 2009 study out of the University of California–Davis put the number closer to 3 percent, but no matter which way you look at it, your cup of milk could be a significant source of pollution.

To figure out which farming systems are more sustainable than others, a new report looking at four scenarios finds that grass-based, organic dairy farmers operate much more lightly on the planet, while often producing milk that’s healthier for people. It’s better for cows, too: They live significantly longer and under better conditions than chemical-based dairy operations.

Your body will thank you, too. Harvard researchers found that grass-fed dairy cows produce milk that’s much higher in conjugated linoleic acic, or CLA.. In the study, people with the highest levels of CLA in their tissue touted a 36 percent lower risk for heart attacks when compared with people to with the lowest levels. Plus, you’re drinking milk free of growth hormone and antibiotics.

Read full post at Rodale News

9 responses to “Healthy milk comes from less-gassy, longer-lived cows, study says

  1. Cow farts are a problem as serious as carbon monoxide from vehicles. But International and Rich Bullies will BLAME the individual’s need for transport and electric power.

  2. Interesting eewindsor. I wonder what would be the effects on the environment from the methane emissions of 7 billion people on a strict vegan diet? Also theoretically what would be the land area needed to provide a healthy strict vegan diet to 7 billion people?

    If we are just talking cows then I suspect theoretically you could provide a healthy diet to 7 billion people using a land area roughly about the size of Texas raising plants, egg laying chickens and milk goats all in said area. I am basing this on what some are currently doing now. The key being supplementing the plant diet with the eggs and milk. Throw in some fish and using the meat from the animals once they have stopped producing and I believe you would have a pretty good life.

  3. Wow…what a revelation!
    I mean, Duh…did we really need Harvard to tell us that?

  4. Leah Zerbe’s article paints a great picture of how crazy industrialized meat production has become. Below is some information I just ran into lately that paints an insane picture of the hidden costs of meat production that are being kept form everyone.

    Would you pay $35 dollars a pound for hamburger? Well that is what we pay it is just that nobody is being told the truth. You pay the real price for the hamburger through our wallets when we pay taxes because the government is subsidizing the meat industry via water and grain subsidies. See a section of the article below that tells hidden cost of just subsidized water for meat production in the USA.

    The Natural Resources Argument against meat-eating
    Suzanne K., April 12, 2006 4:07 PM

    Half of all water used for all purposes in the U.S. is consumed in livestock production.

    The amount of water used in production of the average cow is sufficient to float a destroyer (a large naval ship).

    While 25 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of wheat, 5,000 gallons are needed to produce a pound of California beef.

    That same 5,000 gallons of water can produce 200 pounds of wheat.

    If this water cost were not subsidized by the government, the cheapest hamburger meat would cost more than $35 per pound.

    Note: If you added grain subsidizing which just for corn alone is 22 billion dollars the cost would probably be closer to $70 dollars a pound, this is dishonest and it is crazy.

  5. I just found the actual price for a stake in the USA is $89 a pound.
    See this article
    The Meat Industry….Is it worth it?
    by Fiorella Gardella
    Seminar in Global Sustainability
    University of California, Irvine
    March 1999
    Instructor: Dr. Peter Bowler

    • I read each one the references you gave in your two posts and unfortunately neither one gives the source of the data they used to draw these conclusions. Which makes it little more than anecdotal evidence. If your point is the government spends too much money on subsidies or anything else for that matter, than I’m with you. Lets shut down the USDA, the FDA, the EPA, the BTA, the CIA and any other “agency” of the government you can think of.

      I believe if we buy locally from responsible farmers we know and get the government out of the food business we will all be okay.

  6. Well Michael I am stuck I could not find the reference to their figures either. But I went as far as I could go.
    Amount of water used…/Environmental_effects_of_meat_production
    John Robbins calculations on water per pound 12,000 gallons

    Weight of the cow/steer the number would be right about the medium weight for either animal

    For one cow/steer slaughter weight is about 1100 Lb X 12,000 = 13,200,000 gallons per animal
    cattle 34.4 million a year

    calves 956,600

    I left out the calves and rounded down to 13 million gallons X 34 million head of cattle
    442,000,000,000,000 gallons of water for total cattle slaughtered
    From here on I am lost unless someone can find a figure that would be the cost of water for the feed. Or the total taxpayer cost for subsidizing the water for feed and other costs?

    Maybe it is anecdotal and very possibly it is not but after what I just recently read about the use of placebos I trust anecdotal much more then I do the majority of scientific findings. Have a look at this interesting piece of information “Placebo fraud rocks the very foundation of modern medical science; thousands of clinical trials invalidated.”

    As far as what department would I like to see eliminated of those you mentioned. The FDA would be on top of my list as I do not really know anything about the others. I am surprised that they have lasted as long as they have with all the death and suffering they have caused over the years, Americans need to wake-up.

    If the FDA was in the business of population control they would be considered at the top of their field. One hundred thousand people a year die as a direct result of the medication they were prescribed. “The most common cause of death in the U.S. as of 2005 (accounting for 117,809 deaths).”…deaths

    Then below we have a few of the FDA’s random costly blunders and the rough estimation of the deaths they caused. If they had been working for Hitler he would have been handing out medals to the management and renamed them the Food And Death Administration.

    Avandia 40,000 deaths
    Vioxx 60,000 deaths
    Tambocor 50,000 to 200,000 deaths

    And most amazing, out of all that death not one convection for murder or even manslaughter, very interesting huh? Just goes to show you Michael that Money does talk and bulls–t does walk. Paul

    • The Wikipedia article you site on environmental impact seems to be in question if you read at the top of the article, but that’s neither here not there. I concede there is only so much waste that any particle plot of earth can absorb before the rest becomes runoff into streams and rivers. I also concede that factory farms are nasty places that should not exist. The waste and other damage they do are local community issues and I would never support a federal law to address the issue. If memory servers me right it was federal law in the 1980s that shut down the local slaughter houses and created these giant cesspools who’s only benefit is to the large corporations that run them.

      This leads in to your other point about the FDA. Nothing the federal government does helps the general public, it always ends up making a few persons richer, increases it’s own power and control over our lives and hinders us from helping ourselves. They should have just stuck with insuring the smooth flow of interstate commerce and negotiating treaties with foreign powers. That last one they don’t do too well either, but maybe if they had less things to worry about they could improve upon it.

  7. I am going to keep my eyes out for a clear answer and connection between subsides and the hidden cost of meat it is out of my league but I am sure someone is trying to figure it out. You are so right about the government meddling where it does not belong Michael. It is becoming a sinking immoral morass which is not a good sign for any of us.

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