At first glance, the dairy industry and milk don’t seem like they should be a concern for vegans so what is the logic behind vegans not drinking milk?
The dairy industry is full of animal rights and welfare concerns with some of the most cruel practices in place. These issues alone are enough for vegans to eliminate milk from their diets.
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Do True Vegans Drink Milk
Anyone that considers themselves a vegan will not consume or use any product that comes from an animal regardless if that animal had to die or not for that product to be made.
Reasons Why Vegans Do Not Drink Milk
Vegans avoid drinking milk for a variety of reasons often starting with the welfare and right of the animals within the dairy industry.
Beyond the treatment of animals, many vegans are also concerned with the environmental impacts of farming dairy as well as the negative effects that dairy and milk products can have on your health.
- Animal Rights
- Animal Welfare
Animal Rights Concerns With The Production Of Milk
The rights of animals are often at the forefront of a vegan’s concern and logic when it comes to consuming and using products.
- Seperation of calves from their mothers
- Veal production connection in the milk industry
Seperation Of Calves From Their Mothers
I’m sure many of us have heard the stories of dairy cows that have gotten loose and ran after their calves that have been taken from them.
This is a sad reality in the dairy industry.
Calves in the dairy industry are separated from their mothers at a young age. They are often only hours, days, or a few weeks old when they are separated.
The milk that the mother cow is producing that was meant for her baby is the product of the dairy industry and can not be wasted on her calve.
That milk needs to be bottled up and sold.
Female Calves Within The Dairy Industry
A female calf will join the milk production industry and be artificially impregnated when she is 12 to 15 months of age.
Veal Production Connection To The Dairy Industry
Female calves don’t live a life of luxury but, it is slightly better than the short lives of the male calves.
The majority of male calves are sold to the veal industry and are slaughtered immediately once separated from their mothers or within the first 18 weeks of their lives.
Animal Welfare Concerns With The Production Of Milk
The welfare of animals within the dairy industry is very important to vegans.
- Hormone injections
- Forced impregnation
- Confined lives
- Short lives
Hormone Injections In The Dairy Industry
The has been a lot of recognition lately regarding the hormones that animals especially dairy cows receive that can end up in the product that humans consume.
Dairy cows are injected with a wide variety of hormones to assist with growth, milk production, reproduction, mood, health, and metabolism.
Forced Impregnation In The Dairy Industry
Milk is produced naturally for baby cows, which causes a lot of forced impregnation within the dairy industry to keep mothers producing milk.
Mother cows are forcefully impregnated against their will around once a year.
Confined Lives For Cows In The Dairy Industry
90% od dairy cows are confined to living indoors their entire lives with 60% being tethered by their necks to their stalls.
Short Lives Of Dairy Cows
The natural live span of a cow is twenty years.
Dairy cows live much shorter lives with an average of five years.
Once a dairy cow is done with milk production she is sent to slaughter.
Environmental Concerns With Milk Production
The welfare and rights of animals are usually the most important aspects for vegans but, concerns over the environment are also important for many.
- Methane Gases
- Greenhouse Gases
Methane Gases In The Dairy Industry
Methane gas is created within the four stomachs of a cow.
You may wonder how that methane is released into the environment?
Every time a cow burps methane is being released.
With over 250 million dairy cows in the world that’s a lot of methane gas.
Greenhouse Gases In The Dairy Industry
We just discussed the methane gas production in the dairy industry.
Another gas that vegans may be concerned with is carbon dioxide.
When too many gases are released into the atmosphere it can affect the earth’s weather, temperature, and climate.
Health Concerns With Milk
Another possible concern for vegans is the negative health impacts of consuming milk.
- Saturated fat
Saturated Fat In Milk
Dairy products are the number one source of saturated fat within our diets.
Avoiding dairy (especially cheese) is the ideal way to reduce your saturated fat intake and combat heart disease.
Hormones In Dairy Products
We discussed hormones already but, they are worth mentioning again as a concern for your health.
The hormones that cows receive will end up in the milk and be consumed by the end customer.
When you consume these hormones you are affecting your own hormones, mood, growth, reproductive system, and possibly be connected to some cancers.
Lifecycle Of A Dairy Cow
- Mother cow is artifically impregnated
- Around 283 days later the mother gives birth to her calf
- The calf is seperated from the mother from hours to a few weeks after birth
- The mother cow is milked for 10 months receiving growth hormones along the way
- The milk is bottled and sold for profit
- The mother cow is “dried off” and not milked for 60 days
- The Mother cow is impregnated again and the cycle restarts
Is Organic Milk Ok For Vegans To Drink
Even though organic milk is healthier overall and is produced without hormones and pesticide sprayed feed it is still produced with the same animal welfare practices.
Organic milk is not ok for vegans to drink.
Vegans are often very passionate about their feelings towards animals and their treatment.
The dairy industry is filled with animal cruelty and welfare concerns making dairy products including milk off-limits for all vegans.