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Perspectives on Dairy

By Gabriel Cousens

The focus of this article is to clear up some of the confusion about the purity, harmlessness, and safety of consuming dairy products. This includes organic and raw un-pasteurized dairy. Dairy products include milk, cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, and whey from lactating animals. Stopping dairy intake is not just about our personal health, but is also associated with the prevention of cruelty to cows and the protection of the ecology and energy of the planet. In this context, going vegan is a call to put our own self-serving or narcissistic needs aside and move toward elevating planetary healing. We can do this by choosing a diet that serves both the healing of the planet and ourselves.

For eye-opening and heart-stopping details and visual treatment of cows, watch the film "Earthlings" (earthlings.com). You will quickly understand how cruelly cows are treated before being killed for meat and "Indian leather."

Today, although you can get "organic raw milk," it is very difficult to get non-commercial, real grass-fed, free-range organic milk. Even with the best grass fed milk there are no guarantees of purity and, of course, the cows are still milked artificially. Whether raw or pasteurized, there are opioids (casomorphins) in it that make it easier for humans to be addicted to milk. According to Dr. Neal Barnard, M.D. in his book Breaking the Food Seduction, the strongest morphinogenic compound in dairy is as powerful as 1/10th the power of pure morphine.

Cruelty and Suffering

Ongoing cruelty in the dairy industry is widespread! If you are a lacto-vegetarian because you think that these animals are not killed for food and do not experience suffering to produce dairy, think again! Not only does the dairy cow end up on the plates of your carnivorous friends, she also experiences tremendous amount of cruelty in the whole "production" cycle, making death a final horrific release from suffering. And the male cows are used for clothes, fertilizer, animal feed, and pet food, among other things. This is, of course, after their sperm has been used to produce more females.

To keep the dairy animal's milk flowing, she is artificially inseminated two to three months after giving birth. The result is a crushing double burden of pregnancy and lactation for seven months out of every 12. In truth, the dairy cow is the hardest worked of all farmed animals, nurturing a growing calf inside her while simultaneously producing 30-50 liters of milk a day. No other farmed animal carries this dual load of pregnancy and lactation. Professor John Webster has likened the workload of the high-yielding dairy cow to that of: "…a jogger who goes running for six to eight hours every day." He believes that "the only humans who work harder than the dairy cow are cyclists in the Tour de France."

Today dairy cows are usually chained up in very confined limited spaces and are milked by machines. Reproduction happens through the process of artificial insemination. The cycle of cruelty begins at the time of the birth of the baby calf, for which the mother's body is ready to nurse. These bonded animals both suffer greatly when the female baby calves are taken away after only three days. The mothers are then left to be suckled by automated machines. The male calves are taken away in the first few hours and enter the cruel death cycle of the veal industry. Before being slaughtered, the male calves are kept caged and immobilized without sunlight or nutrition for 6-weeks. It is commonly known that the mother cow knows that her calf is going to be taken away from her and harmed or killed, and the distress, which can last for days, causes toxins to be secreted into her milk.

In previous historical times, the practice in India recognized that the milk belonged first to the calf. The mother cow fed her calf first and only after the calf had taken its fill was the leftover milk taken for human consumption. In this way, the abundance of milk was shared with the family who owned her.

Overproduction and Genetic Alteration

Cows today are genetically designed to produce up to 25 times more milk. Fifty years ago, the average cow created 2,000 lbs of milk per year. Now the top dairy producers give 50,000 lbs per year.

Factory Production Techniques

To produce such astounding production quotas the cow has become part of an elaborate industrial process. Milking machines have been used since the 1870's. Today the cow is attached to these machines for hours on end. This overproduction is achieved by the use of Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH), other hormones, antibiotics, drugs, and force-feeding. The BGH creates a 50-70% increase in mastitis. The mastitis is treated with even more antibiotics. The cows are also fed with sheep and fish parts, made into a meal. It is unbelievable what goes on in the life of the cow!

Shortened Lifespan

Before the industrial age we could say that cows lived a more natural lifestyle. Today their artificial lifestyle creates an array of diseases in both the animals and those that eat or use their products as we shall see later in this article. Now due to unnatural overproduction, what is actually happening to the cows being used for milk production? The normal average lifespan of a cow is about 18-35 years. This increased milking combined with being pregnant and lactating, milks away her life force. The average milk producing cow lives an average of 3 years, a factor of a 6-10 times shorter life. In human terms, we can say that, rather than living to a ripe old age of 80, one's life would end before reaching puberty. Cruelty and exploitation take a toll!

Wasted Resources & Ecological Damage

In this dairy system we also create a massive hoarding of resources. There is a tremendous loss in energy, materials, labor and caloric value. Better use of these resources could help solve the food crisis on the planet and prevent the death by starvation of 29,500 children per day (according to UN statistics) and approximately 40 million people who starve to death each year. There is a tremendous amount of energy and grain that is required to feed the cows. The food required to feed 100 cows could potentially feed 2,000 people. The cows in the world consume two times the calories as the world human population. In US the cows consume five times the amount of grain as humans.

Cattle farming, which includes our dairy cows, causes the loss of 85% of the topsoil each year. Not only this, the water used in the dairy industry (and its by-products) is EXTREMELY high. A vegan lifestyle can potentially save 1,500,000 gallons of water and 1 acre of trees each year! If we all became vegan there would be enough energy and food to feed the world human population seven times over.

Chernobyl Reaches Boston

Chernobyl made it very clear that we are one interconnected global village. Cows are higher up on the food chain, and concentrate the toxins. For example there was a 900% increase in perinatal mortality in the six weeks to three months after Chernobyl in the Boston area. What they found was that the cows were consuming the radioactive iodine that came from Chernobyl that landed in the water and on the grass. The mothers consuming the cow milk filled with radioactive iodine. This radioactive iodine was poisoning their babies. Now we are facing the chem-trail and depleted uranium atmosphere contamination which the cows are also concentrating, especially range fed cows.

Disease Production

Creutzfeldt-Jacobs disease (CJD) -- The result of all this cruelty and industrialization of live stock, especially of cows is that cows have become carriers of a significant disease. The 2004 edition of Friends of the Earth cites several autopsy studies in the United States that suggest between 3% and 13% of the people diagnosed with Alzheimer's actually had "mad cow disease" or Creutzfeldt-Jacobs disease. The research in Friends of the Earth suggests that Creutzfeldt-Jacobs can be transmitted by a person consuming less than one gram of the diseased tissue from any part of the cow. It alsosuggests that there may be at least 120,000 cases of Creutzfeldt-Jacobs disease that are unreported in the United States.

Pus Cells and Mucus

According to notmilk.com the average liter of milk in Florida has 633 million pus cells, which is the highest in the nation. Montana is the lowest, with 236 million pus cells per liter. This is not a healthy thing, whether it is 236 or 633 million. Besides pus cells and blood, which are now normal in milk produced during machine suckling, the milk is also high in pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones, radioactive iodine, and disease factors such as mad cow prion and bovine leukemia virus. In addition research cited by Robert Cohen of www.notmilk.com has made the point that there is up to a gallon of extra mucus in the body that is created as a result of drinking dairy. The mucus problem is associated with the fact that eighty percent of milk protein is casein, the main ingredient of Elmer's glue.

Deadly Diseases

In addition, milk is a carrier for very significant disease vectors.

Mycobacteria Para-TB -- One of these disease vectors is the mycobacteria Para-TB, which causes not so much TB (although TB may be in raw milk), but causes a chronic diarrhea and colitis. We know that in babies, this is often seen as irritation that causes a significant blood loss and anemia. In the cow, it is called myco-bacterial para-tubercula. It causes what we call "Johne's" disease, which is chronic diarrhea and colitis. It seems to be something that is transmitted to humans as well, particularly unpastuerized milk. Studies performed in the United States, the UK, and the Czech Republic have found that live, viable M. paratuberculosis organisms are even present in retail pasteurized milk sold in stores. These studies prove that either (a) the organism is capable of surviving conventional pasteurization (the more likely explanation) or (b) there is a significant source of post-pasteurization contamination in the milk supply.

While it has not been definitively proven that M. paratuberculosis causes disease in humans, there are a number of researchers who believe that the organism is a primary cause of Crohn's disease. They cite clinical similarities between Johne's disease in ruminants and Crohn's disease in humans, as well as studies showing that a significant number of Crohn's patients also have the organism in their gut. However, there is no consensus yet of the effects of a M. paratuberculosis infection. What is clear is that all known mycobacteria can cause disease, that M. paratuberculosis causes disease in ruminants, and that the bacteria are present in retail milk.

Salmonella, e. coli, yersinia enterocolitica, and Staphococcusare some of the main disease vectors. In 1984 JAMA reported a multi-state series of infections of Yersinia enterocolitica (bubonic plague). In a study at UCLA, over 1/3 of all cases of salmonella infection in California in 1980 to 1983 were traced to raw milk.

Diabetes Epidemic

Children who drink cow's milk have an 11 times higher rate of juvenile diabetes than children who are breastfed by their own mothers. Although we are not aware of it, milk consumption is directly associated with Juvenile diabetes. The key to this is that there are over 100 antigens found in milk. The reason for the increase in juvenile diabetes is that the children have much higher formation of antibodies to the cows' milk antigens. Researchers found up to 8 times the number antibodies against milk protein in dairy product consuming children who also developed juvenile diabetes. (Vaarala, O et al. Diabetes, 48:1389-1394, 1999) In Finland, which as the world's highest milk consumption, they also have the world's highest rate of insulin-dependent diabetes. The problem is that the antibodies to the milk antigens cross react with the ß cells (the cells that produce insulin) and of the pancreas create inflammation and scarring. This consequentially blocks or destroys B cell production of insulin.

Bovine immune deficiency disease -- There is also bovine immune deficiency disease which is another virus. In Russia they found that it is transferred to humans. The Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, and Russian literature, found the detection in human sera of the antibody to the bovine immunodeficiency virus protein. This virus may be similar to the human immune deficiency virus.


Bovine leukemia virus -- Bovine leukemia virus is found in about 80% of the dairy herds in the U.S., or 3 out of 5 dairy cows. It is mostly destroyed by pasteurization. In raw milk it is not killed. In raw milk, the bovine leukemia virus is recovered from 2/3 of the samples. The bovine leukemia virus is associated with an increased rate of leukemia or lymphomas. To support these statements, we would expect that the states highest in dairy use-such as Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, as well as countries like Sweden and Russia-would have a statistically higher incidence of leukemia than the national average. Indeed that is the case. Dairy farmers also have a significantly elevated leukemia rate.

Bovine Leukemic Virus in raw milk Raw is a particular problem, because the leukemia virus is rendered inactive by the pasteurization, but remains active in raw milk. All studies show that cows with leukemia offer a significantly higher rate of leukemia in the animals and humans who drink this bovine contaminated raw milk.

Lymphoma -- What we see in Norway where they studied 422 individuals who were followed for 11.5 years; those drinking two or more glasses of milk per day had 3.5 times the incidence of cancer in the lymphatic organs compared to the normal population. Ref: British Med. Journal 61:456-9, March 1990. There seemed to be a high correlation found by some researchers between increased death from lymphomas and beef and dairy ingestion in the 15 major countries. The reason for this is that the dairy intake creates a chronic immunological stress that tends to cause lymphomas both in laboratory animals and also possibly in humans. We know that ingestion of cows' milk can produce generalized lymphopathy, swollen liver, swollen spleen, and significant adenoid hypertrophy. In England they also found a strong positive interaction with lymphoma. The British Journal cites research in which they studied 16,000 individuals for 11.5 years. They reported that drinking two glasses of milk per day, or the equivalent created a 3.4 times greater incidence of lymphoma. British Journal of Cancer 61 (3):456-9, March 1990

Ovarian Cancer -- Drinking more than one glass of milk a day, or its equivalent, gave women a 3.1 times higher risk of ovarian cancer than non-milk drinkers. Harvard Medical School did a study and analyzed data from 27 different countries, and they found the exact same thing: an increased amount of ovarian cancer is associated with dairy.

Lung Cancer -- Persons drinking 3 or more glasses of milk a day had a twofold increase in lung cancer. (International Journal of Cancer, April 15, 1989)

Prostate Cancer -- Men who were drinking 3 or more glasses a day of whole milk, had a 2.49 times increase in prostate cancer. (Cancer 64 (3): 605-12, 1989)

Physiology for Dairy Digestion

The other argument as to why it is not good for humans to have dairy, is that it is not our natural cycle. We do have the physiology as a baby to deal with dairy while we are breastfeeding. Our bodies then change and we really don't need mother's milk past the age of 3 to 5, or when we stop breastfeeding. Many stop producing lactase enzyme and thus become sensitive to milk. This is known as lactose intolerance. Lactose intolerance affects 50 million people and is associated with the gastrointestinal tract. The milk industry itself admits that lactose intolerance plays intestinal havoc with as many as 50,000,000 Americans. Up to 90% of blacks and 20%-40% of Caucasians are lactose intolerant, with variation in between, according to different race genetics.

The result of eating dairy when we no longer need it is that we tend to develop a multitude of gastrointestinal problems, allergies, congestion, and sinusitis. Some of the biggest problems are gastrointestinal and anemia because the reaction of the milk in our GI tract causes bleeding. Also, if you are drinking a lot of milk (three or more glasses a day) it is going to increase the rate of osteoporosis, according to the research, because of the high protein.

Cows milk is not a mother's milk replacement!

Another aspect of not being aligned with the natural cycle is that human mother's milk is designed for the nervous system of infants, and cow's milk is more designed to grow a calf. Cow's milk is 4 times higher in protein than human milk. It is designed for the massive skeletal and muscle growth which a 400 pound cow needs. Human milk has 6-10 times the essential fatty acids, especially the linoleic acid and DHA, which is needed for human brain development and overall nervous system development. One research showed breastfed children had 10 points higher IQ than children not given mother's milk.


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