Does This Cow Look "Happy" To You?
Every child in America is told to drink a tall glass of cow milk to grow big, with hair on their chests, and strong bones. These are the benefits of cow milk, majority of people believe in them and with good reason, cow milk is healthy. But the benefits of this nutritious drink come at a cost, and not the $2.50 you pay at the supermarket. This article will not just go into the conditions of dairy cows, but also the workers that tend to them, many of them undocumented.
“Great cheese comes from happy cows. Happy cows come from California.”
Is the slogan for California dairy farms, currently PETA is suing the dairy farm for their use of this slogan:
“Our goal with the lawsuit is to let people know that if they’re consuming dairy products, they’re promoting cruelty to animals,” PETA’s Bruce Friedrich says.
Anyone who visited the dairy farms would not consider it a “happy” place, nor could that word be used to describe the cows or workers there. Dairy farms are dirty, muddy, urine drenched, manure plastered farms. They are not rolling grassy hillsides where the cows graze freely while the sunshine warms their backs, as many dairy farms ads would suggest.
“The Dairy Farmers of Washington’s mascot – called “Cow” – brings smiles to the faces of youngsters and adults alike wherever she appears throughout Washington.” A quote from the Washington Dairy Farmers website.
Its and Ironic statement to have the cow, the mistreated animal by the dairy industry represent them to make themselves more appealing to consumers, and as this marketing campaign suggest they are targeting children.
The Washington Cow Mascot
I would like to note that earlier this week I wrote about some unpleasant conditions of animals in Dog and Cat farms in China, in my article Eating Dogs and Wearing Cats, and an article about bear farms in South Korea and China, in Farming Bears for Bile.
Whilst the conditions of animals may be worst in China and South Korea, I have never seen an incident where those who ran the farms attempted to make there products more appealing by enlisting there mistreated animals to represent them as mascots.. Only in America.
Now for the cow facts:
At age two the dairy cows are artificially inseminated to keep them pregnant (the cows have to be pregnant to produce milk).
Calves are taken from their mothers within 24 hours their birth as they would consume 1 to 3 gallons of milk a day (dairy cows produce about 10 gallons of milk a day).
After three pregnancies and roughly a thousand gallons of milk the cows are all used up and are slaughtered. You can pick up what is left of the cow at your local McDonalds or Burger King.
A worker hosing off the cement after a milking.
So lets say you did listen to your mother and drank your tall glass of milk everyday, you grew big and strong with hair on you’re chest! With strong bones too! Then a cow kicks you in the face. At your work if you were to have your skull broken in three places would you get some sort of compensation and medical benefits to help you?
Would they at least help you off the floor? Gustavo waited on the floor bleeding for eleven and a half hours after being stuck in the head with a cow hoof. I would also like to note that Gustavo is not this mans real name, he is a worker still for a dairy farm and is still afraid of being fired.
If your wondering, did he go back to work after he was kicked by a cow the answer is yes. He had a metal plate put into his face, that is now slipping and he is losing his vision in his left eye.
“It’s a job with lots of risks. If I had papers, man, there’s no way I’d be working in a dairy. But in this town, this is the best job I can get,” Codename Gustavo says, adding.. “Every worker I know says they’ve been kicked or stepped on by a cow. It’s common. But one day (the cows) might break your bones, or maybe even kill you.”
And it’s true according to data gathered by High Country News 18 people have died in western dairies between 2003 and 2009. The workers died in various ways, leading what some would call very depressing lives. On some of the farms workers work 80-hour weeks, sleep in the barn with the cattle, and drink from the troth. And the cows kick them, hay bales fall on them, and many tractor accidents occur. Yet many of those injured do not file claims if it is not serious enough like Gustavo’s, and many that do file claimed are fired because of it. Gustavo is thankful he was not fired for filing a claim.
“If you’re undocumented, you won’t complain. You won’t ask for extra water or a shade break or to not do a task you think is dangerous. These things lead to workplace injuries,” says Marc Schenker, director of the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety in Davis, Calif.
So what will you do to grow big and strong? With hair on your chest and bones of steel. Well all this time we have been talking about cow milk, but who says milk has to come from a cow?
A glass of almond milk.
There was an article in yesterdays Wall Street Journal entitled: Move Over, Cow. In this article there was an analysis of milk, bearing the question “Who’s the Milkiest of Them All?” Calories, Fat, Sugar, Vitamin D and Calcium, were all taken into account as well as how each of the prospective milks tasted in coffee, on cereal, when dunked in with a cookie, and finally the price.
Here are your stats on the classic 2% cow milk:
Fat: 5 grams
Sugar: 12 grams
Vitamin D and Calcium: 25% and 30%
Taste: Rolls beautifully across the tongue. And buttery shade adds to its appeal.
With Coffee: Transforms black coffee into something creamy without overpowering it.
On Cereal: A little plain-Jane next to cereal with almond milk.
Dunking Cookies: Still the gold standard.
Price: $1.25 for 32 ounces
What the Wall Street Journal came up with as best alternative milk is almond milk, and here are the stats on that:
Fat: 2.5 grams
Sugar: 7 grams
Vitamin D and Calcium: 25% and 30%
Taste: Pleasantly sweet and nutty; nice almond notes.
In Coffee: Smells great. Turns ordinary coffee into almond coffee.
On Cereal: Oh yes. Enhances but doesn’t overpower a bowl of raisin bran.
Dunking Cookies: A sweet-on-sweet experience. Improved the cookie by adding the flavor of a nut.
Price: $1.80 for 32 ounces
For the rest of the milk comparisons go to: Move Over, Cow
Personally, after writing this article and studying dairy farms I will be switching to almond milk myself.
If any of you have any other good milk recommendations let me know.
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Writer/ Creative Director
These three workers were laid off for trying to organize a Union.