What’s wrong with dairy?
I’m glad you asked.
For starters, the veal industry exists because of the dairy industry. If you support one, you are supporting the other by default. This applies to organic dairy as well.
Cows are artificially inseminated — not a good time — to keep them in a near-perpetual state of pregnancy and lactation. When the calves are born, they are taken away from their mothers almost immediately. Sometimes it is immediately, with calves still wet from birth being taken from their mothers and chained in veal crates, where they will spend the rest of their short lives. They will not be nurtured, they will not be cared for, and they will never nurse. They will be treated like inanimate objects until, still babies, they are sent to the slaughterhouse. As for the the mother cows…they are not indifferent to their calves being taken from them. They are sentient animals who have just been denied their most basic instinct: that of nurturing their young. They bellow piteously when their babies are taken away.
After four of five years of these constant cycles of pregnancy, dairy cows are worn out. Pregnancy and birth are hard on the body, and constant milking is hard on the udders, which are huge, heavy, and often inflamed with painful mastitis. When a young cow can no longer produce “enough” milk (about 8 gallons, 32 litres, or 128 glasses a day), she is sent to the slaughterhouse, where she will not meet a quick and humane death, but will instead be terrified, mistreated, possibly outright tortured, and turned into low-grade hamburger.
Please spare her and her calves a thought when you use milk or cream, or eat yogurt, cheese, ice cream, or sour cream. Better still, consider cruelty-free alternatives — you can find some suggestions on the Veg Curious page.
There’s also a wonderful entry on Mercy For Animals‘ blog — it’s a rescue story about calves on a dairy farm. There’s a video embedded in their blog entry. There are parts that are difficult to watch, but try to stay with it — there’s a happy ending for four calves and it’s important to know where they came from, because their story is all too common. Not knowing doesn’t stop what’s going on. Will knowing stop the abuse? It will if your knowledge causes you to act.