If the name “milk” is all the dairy industry has got going for it, then it is not much. The dairy crisis has nothing to do with the labeling of “plant-based-beverages,” but rather with the growing awareness about the negative impacts of milk. Drinking milk is not only bad for our health and the environment (cows have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions), but also hurts animals.
We all know that milk comes from cows, but does the consumer not deserve clarification of how these cows are treated? Cows only produce milk to nourish their calves, who are taken away from their mothers within a day of birth. The animals often live in filthy, cramped conditions and are pumped full of hormones. This can lead to painful udder infections, which can be deadly. A cow’s natural lifespan is 20 years, but cows in the dairy industry are typically killed after just five painful years of constantly being pregnant and lactating.
I understand that many milk farmers are suffering from plunging milk prices, but lashing out at non-dairy milk is not the solution. Dairy farming is a dying industry and instead of spending $20 million on Cheddar cheese, the government should help farmers adjust to changing demand and establish themselves in a different (agricultural) branch.
As long as “milk” is a product of animal abuse, I will happily choose a soy or almond beverage over it any day!