Dairy Farming Practices

By: Ron Lagerquist

“To challenge the nutritional purity of milk is equivalent to undermining an important part of our national heritage.”

Cows are designed to secrete 400 pounds of milk per year for suckling calves. Through implanted hormones they are now able to produce 3,200 pounds per year. Chlorinated hydrocarbons, which cause cancer, have been found in 75 percent of the milk tested by the Consumers’ Union. These toxic chemicals enter the milk through the animals’ feed. Other toxic residues are found in dairy products through contaminated water; chemically-grown, over-sprayed crops; or steroid, antibiotic, and hormone injections. When a mother is nursing, the doctor will tell her to avoid drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and coffee, because whatever is in the mother's bloodstream will enter the milk. In the same way, every chemical or drug ingested by a cow contaminates milk. Even if the majority of the contamination is below government standards, this small amount accumulates and can have a negative effect on health.

In November 1993, the FDA approved Bovine Growth Hormone, which, when injected into nursing cows, increases milk production by 20 percent. It also increases udder infections, causing a greater need for antibiotics. On February 4, 1994, a three-month moratorium on BGH ended. The company that developed BGH was given approval to start shipping to dairy farmers across the United States. BGH is both unnecessary and dangerous, greatly increasing the amount of IGF-1, which has been associated with colon tumors and skin cancer.

On average, the dairy industry takes in 7.2 billion dollars per year just in Canada alone. Through effective promotion, dairy products have become one of North America’s prime sources of nutrition. To challenge the nutritional purity of milk is equivalent to undermining an important part of our national heritage. Yet more and more books are being written by noted doctors and nutritionists who are making frightening connections to the serious medical plagues rampant in countries with high dairy consumption. Even the beloved Dr. Benjamin Spock, a child-care expert who was a strong advocate of dairy products for children, joined the many voices that question milk’s nutritional value and even warn of serious possible dangers.

Humans are the only creatures who drink milk their entire lives. Even growing calves have been given enough sense to leave the teat. Humans are also the only creatures on earth who drink the milk of a species that has an entirely different digestive system from our own—four stomachs compared with our one.

The Dairy Board has been successful in cultivating the fear, if you don’t drink milk, you will be unhealthy, yet earth’s history has been full of isolated communities living on sparse diets. Many of those cultures were poor and had little or no dairy or meat products available. The Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Indonesians, Taiwanese, and Indians ate a simple diet of seasonal, local foods; a high-starch diet such as rice, with fresh vegetables, fruits and small amounts of fish.

Related Article: Is Milk Healthy?

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