Hello again. Is it natural and ethical to eat dairy products? We’ve been working our way through the list of food types that humans eat to see whether humans are designed to eat them, and whether these foods are ethical choices. For the reasoning behind this quest, have a look at this post
By dairy products, I mean the milk of and foods derived from the milk of cows, goats, sheep, camels etc. Something that amuses me is that human adults will happily drink the milk of an animal, yet, if offered the milk of a human, they recoil in horror. Makes no sense to me, honestly. I mean, look where your milk and cheese comes from – there’s the picture.
Is it natural?
Can we (human primates, equipped only with our bodies and natural items such as rocks, sticks, soil, fire, etc) catch an animal and milk it? Chances are slim. The only way would be to capture some calves or other baby animals, rear them, let them breed, and after the females give birth, milk them. Seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to…..
Is it natural? Well, I don’t see the other primates going to these lengths to get food. They certainly don’t go up to a lactating animal and start sucking milk. This is because milk is meant to rear the young of the particular animal it is designed for. So, milk from a cow is for calves.
Humans who drink and eat dairy products should consider that milk is designed to make a calf gain .45 kilogram per day (1) . In one year, a calf will weigh eight times as much as it did at birth – that is, a 30kg calf will weigh 240kg in about a year. Humans should weigh three times as much as they did at birth, by their first birthday. Thereafter, children should be weaned from milk causing their weight gain to slow right down, and it should stop when they become adults.
So, if a human (especially an adult) drinks milk and eats dairy products, he or she stands to gain weight at the same rate as calves do. Result – obesity.
Is it ethical?
a) Has the animal supplying the milk suffered the least harm?
Taking milk from an animal means that you are depriving the baby animal of its natural food. To get the full quantity of milk from an animal in a dairy farm, the babies are killed at a very young age. Some female calves may be kept for breeding, but, on the whole, the males are killed and sold as veal, or just disposed of. In New Zealand alone, over 1.5m calves are killed annually, in the dairy industry, and 21 million globally (3) for veal and beef.
This video shows how calves are removed from their mothers one day after birth to be raised for veal – be warned – it’s awful:
So, the adult female is deprived of her young, and the baby is killed. This is not ethical.
b) Has the animal supplying the milk had the best life possible?
Any animal kept captive for its milk is not having the best life possible.This film explains this all very carefully. Dairy is not ethical.
c) Is this food good for us?
Dairy products are not good for humans. There are many reasons, including the risk of obesity as outlined above.
- It removes calcium from your bones because it makes the body pH acid
- It creates a myriad of diseases due to its acidifying effect, including arthritis, diabetes and auto-immune diseases.
- The antibiotics in commercially-produced milk is bad for humans.
- The oestrogen in milk creates hormonal imbalances in humans resulting in premature puberty, breast cancer, and ‘man boobs’ (2)
Here is an investigation on the problems related to dairy intake:
Final verdict in my opinion
Dairy products are neither natural food for humans, nor are they ethical.
Definitely off the list.
What do you think?
Next post: eggs