–this article on the website of magazine Farmers Weekly. I thought I would debunk some of their most stupid ‘debunkings’ because it is one of the most ridiculous articles I’ve ever read.
1. Myth: Cows locked up all-year are less happy and more likely to develop lameness and mastitis. The answer they give to this is a cop out really. Technically, if all parts of a cows welfare are managed carefully and correctly then they can remain healthy living inside. However this is not the case on any commercial dairy farm. According to AHDB Dairy both Lameness and Mastitis are extremely widespread on UK dairy farms. The motive of dairy farmers is profit, so they are more focused on high yields. Despite the fact that a cow can be healthy living inside, the truth is most dairy farmers are willing to let their cows suffer in order to maximise production.
Emily Norton one of the respondents herself says:
Pretty much admitting that profit is of a higher importance than welfare to dairy farmers.
2. Myth: Taking calves from their mothers is harmful
In this post the respondent Jude Capper states:
Notice how she says ‘not all’, that is plausible. Not all mothers are interested in caring for their babies, sadly this can even be true when applied to humans. But just because not all mother cows care for their babies, doesn’t mean there aren’t some that don’t and are hurt by their baby being taken away.
She then goes on to link two studies from the ‘Journal of Dairy Science’ which is published by the ‘American Dairy Science Association’. Because that totally isn’t a biased source.
In my research I found this study from the Applied Animal Behaviour Science Journal. It states that contact with mothers makes cows more sociable as adults, as well as helping them better deal with stressful situations, as opposed to cows who grew up without their mothers.
3. Myth: The dairy industry is damaging to the environment
Now this is when the article gets really stupid. Respondent Jude Capper admits in the first sentence that dairy is indeed damaging to the environment. Not a myth then is it?
Okay I get her point, she’s saying that you can’t use it as a criticism because every food causes some harm to the environment. This is true, but dairy is worse than all other dairy alternatives:
She then goes on to say that dairy has become more environmentally friendly in the past century. Great. But improvements don’t disprove the fact that it is damaging to the environment.
6. Myth: Male cows are shot on the farm
Are the authors of this article confused on the definition of ‘myth’?
8. Myth: Humans don’t need dairy in their diets Do I really need anymore evidence on this one other than the fact that I have been vegan for three years and am still miraculously alive? Well Jude Capper goes on to say: Again, not a myth then is it? This is getting repetitive. She goes on to state that many of the dairy alternatives contain fewer essential nutrients than cows milk. In some respects, this is true – however, we can get our nutrients from other sources of food. Who’d have guessed it. There are plenty of medical organisations that state that we can live healthily on a vegan diet, for example the NHS.
Plus the fact that me and every other long-term vegan would be dead.
My thoughts on the article? To me, this article symbolises the desperation of the dairy industry. Producing content that doesn’t even make sense in order to create the false belief that dairy is both an ethical and sustainable product, when in reality that couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are definitely some myths out their that activists have created in order to make dairy seem worse than it is (for example the one that milk is naturally red, no idea how that came about?) but the truth is, we don’t need these myths. There is sufficient evidence that dairy is a cruel product, the fact alone that dairy cows live only a quarter of their natural life span is an immediate reason to avoid it.