While there are many ethical and moral questions to be answered when one considers their consumption of milk, there are numerous health concerns to take into account as well. This piece will explore some of the reasons, related both to health and ethics, to quit that nasty habit of drinking cow’s milk.
1. Pathogens, Bacteria & Antibiotics – Oh My!
The first glaring problem is the state of the milk cows themselves. Dairy cows are fed high-protein, soy-based feed instead of their natural feed of green grass. This practice produces grown cows with abnormally enlarged pituitary glands, giving them the ability to produce milk more rapidly. The downside to humans: the process leaves the cow weak and unhealthy, forcing the milk industry to pump the animals full of a variety of antibiotics to keep them well enough to continue to produce. These antibiotics are commonly found in the finished product that many of us consume on a very regular basis.
Problem number two: the pasteurization process. Pasteurization is the act of heating the raw product up to extreme temperatures in order to destroy the native pathogens and bacteria that cow’s milk contains. Unfortunately, this process also destroys the natural enzymes found in the milk, enzymes that the human body requires in order to properly break it down when it is consumed. Because the human pancreas was not designed to break down the mother’s milk of animal species, it is often lacking when it attempts to deliver the enzymes necessary to break down the milk; people whose pancreas is unable to produce sufficient enzymes are called lactose intolerant. Continued consumption of cow’s milk can cause your pancreas to become overworked to the point that you develop lactose intolerance at any point in your life.
The butterfat found naturally in cow’s milk is forced through a commercial process called homogenization. This process forces the butterfat to the point of rancidity, allowing it to be easily removed for the sake of “low fat” cow’s milk. Removing the butterfat altogether produces skim milk, a product marketed to us as a health food; what is ironic is that the removal of the butterfat keeps the human body from properly digesting the milk, leaving behind the many vitamins, minerals and short chain fatty acids that are naturally found in milk.
4. Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH)
The American FDA has recently approved the use of Bovine Growth Hormones by dairy farmers with the intention of allowing for increased milk production. So how does BGH affect humans? Well, it causes a drastic increase in insulin-like growth factors (IGF-1) in the milk of commercial dairy cows, forcing the people who consume the finished product to consume it directly. IGF-1 has been found to promote the transformation of human breast cells to cancerous forms among other negative health effects.
5. Cows Are People Too!
Okay, so maybe cows aren’t people. They are, however, sentient beings that deserve nothing less than a free, natural and happy life that doesn’t involve being chained up in a small stall, being biologically made to believe that it is pregnant nine months of the year in order to increase milk production or being deliberately made sick and pained for selfish human consumption. There is no spiritual standpoint on Earth that advocates or allows for the torture of animals and the commercial dairy process is nothing less than absolute torture.
6. It’s Absolutely Disgusting
We are the only species on Earth that regularly and happily consumes the breast milk of another species. At the same time, sitcoms and humorous books make light of many people’s “gross factor” when it comes to the breast milk of human women; it just doesn’t make any sense.
My final decision to quit cow’s milk once and for all came only recently relative to my lifespan and I can still easily reflect on the ease with which I was drawn into the commercialism of it all. I was fed cow’s milk as a child and it quickly became a daily part of my diet. I fell for the commercials and commercial propaganda that continuously told me how healthy milk is. Education and insight are the foundations of most positive change and I hope that this piece will encourage you to get up from your computer chair, walk to your fridge and immediately pour what milk you have in the fridge down the drain. At the very least, please research the subject further in order to make up your own mind!
See also: 6 Reasons to Stop Eating Meat Today
Aw, isn’t she cute? Note the ID tag stapled into her ear.
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