Dairy calves on a farm in New Zealand 'MILKED' aims to dispel the dangerous myths about the dairy system. - Media Credit: MILKED

New Documentary ‘MILKED’ Launches Global Petitions To Dismantle Dairy Industry

Academy Award-winning director James Cameron says the new film is a "powerful wake-up call"

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3 Minutes Read

A new feature documentary called MILKED launched a petition today that aims to bring together the masses of people who are eager to protect the planet and its inhabitants. Specifically, by dismantling the destructive systems used by the dairy industry. 

MILKED – which will soon be available to watch via Plant Based News – takes a deep dive into the dairy sector of Aotearoa (the Māori name for New Zealand). The country is the largest exporter of dairy in the world.

Alongside the film’s premiere, the creators of MILKED have published four variations of a petition that aims to reduce global dairy herds by 25 percent in next three years. 

The petitions – aimed at the UK, the US, Europe, and New Zealand – are directed at each country’s leaders. MILKED hopes that global collective efforts can help create a more sustainable food system. And, one that protects the lives of millions of animals too.

The problem with dairy

MILKED acknowledges that the dairy industry is widely considered a “source of national pride.”

But behind the curtain, the industry is said to be damaging the country more than benefiting it.

The dairy sector is Aotearoa’s largest water polluter. And it doesn’t just pollute water, it uses excessive amounts of it too. According to MILKED, 1,000 liters of water is required to produce just one liter of cow’s milk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yBv-8P1gmY

Plant-based alternatives are often a different story. Oat milk, for example, uses 13 times less water and 11 times less land than cow’s milk, the organization says.

Further, oat milk generates 3.5 times fewer carbon emissions. New Zealand’s dairy industry is currently producing almost a quarter of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions on its own. Although MILKED calls this figure a “conservative estimate.”

Perhaps more conceringly, the country’s largest dairy company, Fonterra, is projected to exceed New Zealand’s total national emissions target in the coming decade.

Filmmakers discovered that Fonterra – which initially agreed to an interview but then pulled out – has been underreporting its environmental data. 

In one case, Fonterra reported 22 million tons of emission output, when the actual figure was double that. In total, the dairy company is to blame for more emissions than the whole of Sweden. 

MILKED stresses that despite industry efforts to sequester carbon, this does not address the expulsion of methane from cows. Notably, methane is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. 

MILKED the documentary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCwpsMtmMhM

The new film brings such statistics to light through interviews with high-profile figures like Dame Jane Goodall, environmentalist and actor Suzy Amis Cameron, and Cowspiracy co-director Keegan Kuhn. Academy Award-winning director James Cameron has labeled the film a “powerful wake-up call.”

During MILKED, filmmakers follow activist Chris Huriwai around the country as he speaks with experts in ecology, medicine, and economy, as well as local dairy farmers. 

Aside from sustainability concerns, Huriwai takes a closer look at the ethical, animal welfare, and health implications of dairy consumption. 

“We originally planned to investigate the environmental and health impacts of all animal agriculture in Aotearoa. But once we got further into researching, it was obvious that dairy was the story to tell,” MILKED director and producer Amy Taylor explained. 

Inviting the public to help bolster the documentary’s message, MILKED launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal of $NZD100,000. Contributors helped the organization exceed the figure in just 12 days, motivating MILKED to extend the funding goal.

Those interested can sign MILKED’s petition to reduce global dairy herds here.

MILKED will be available to watch on Plant Based NewsYouTube channel from March 25, 2022 at 7pm (GMT), or March 26 from 8am (NZDT).

To learn more about MILKED, check out its website.

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The Author

Jemima Webber

Jemima is the editor of Plant Based News. Aside from writing about climate and animal rights issues, she studied songwriting in London and psychology in Newcastle, Australia (where she was born).

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t.conway1
t.conway1
2 months ago

I watched the film yesterday at WaterBear.com and it’s very powerfully presented. Excellent on all fronts.

The one thing that viewers may have a little trouble with is that thick “Kiwi” (New Zealander) accent– e.g., the important word “debt” which recurs several times is pronounced “deet” by several of the persons talking on camera. There were several other words and phrases i had to re-listen to.

Because of this need to replay brief passages, viewers will do better to view Milked on YouTube and later via the PlantBasedNews.org portal to YouTube, a platform that allows easy replay. WaterBear.com doesn’t have a replay button anywhere.

Neil Batchelor
Neil Batchelor
2 months ago

Never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to jump on managing with little or no understanding of the industry they wish to vilify beyond the contents of a purely researched and often distinctly biased documentary. And here we go again.

t.conway1
t.conway1
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Batchelor

Dear Neil, the documentary actually features a former executive of Fonterra and a handful of current and former dairy farmers themselves. They know how rotten the industry is….. Not to mention the environmentalists and animal rights persons who plainly document the massive pollution, the endless abuse, etc ad nauseam.

Neil Batchelor
Neil Batchelor
1 month ago
Reply to  t.conway1

I’ve worked in Agriculture for 30 years alongside all kinds of farmers including Dairy. I can unequivocally guarantee you, these people have no clue what they are talking about.

t.conway1
t.conway1
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Batchelor

Neil, do you deny that these are “standard practices” within the industry? https://plantbasednews.org/
[A Farmer’s Daughter Speaks Out: Dairy Is an Everyday Dystopian Horror]

Do you deny that cows at dairies large and fairly small have their babies taken away within hours or just days after their birth? Do you deny that cows are repeatedly inseminated artificially and fed massive amounts of hormones and routinely given antibiotics in a way that is decreasing their efficacy for human populations and generating new antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”? Do you deny that medium-sized to larger dairy operations have trouble protecting groundwater and fresh water bodies because of dealing with the massive amounts of manure? Do you deny the growing number of studies showing strong correlations between milk drinking and human female breast cancer? Do you deny the terrible conditions in which most cows and calves are raised and how their lives are shortened by disease and killing? Do you deny the undisputable fact that AT LEAST 14% of global greenhouse gases (GHGs)– CO2 and methane emissions — are coming from the gigantic global population of cattle (over 1 billion and growing)? Do you deny that, by law in most countries, “tolerable” amounts of pus are allowed in the industrialized dairy product? Do you deny that somewhere around 68% to an estimated 75% of the world human population has some degree of lactose malabsorption or intolerance (reported by NIH in USA), leading to all sorts of short-term and long-term health afflictions?
All of these horrors and more have been repeatedly well documented

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Batchelor

An industry that impregnates mammals only to take away the baby and eat it, while stealing the milk that was intended for it, needs to be dismantled. It’s cruel, unnecessary, polluting, land wasting, and unhealthy.

Neil Batchelor
Neil Batchelor
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

So obviously you have not yet grasped the inescapable fact that something has to die for you to live. Animal, plant, air, water, and sunshine – your existence is consumption. Grow up.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Batchelor

I think you should acknowledge there is a difference between growing and eating a potato, to say drinking the mother’s milk of a dead calf, that was served as veal three months prior. Tell me Neil, do cows lament when their babies are taken from them? Not out of necessity, but for profit. While you sip the mamery juice from the teat of a mother impregnated by a steel tube. Mmmm what could be more natural than that?

As the milk triggers auto-immune responses causing type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and cancer from bovine leukemia virus. Just as nature intended.

Neil Batchelor
Neil Batchelor
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt

Wow you have really drunk the koolaid, haven’t you. I wish you well on your heavily processed soy/almond/whatever juice journey. I’m going to have a glass of milk and perhaps some veal for dinner.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  Neil Batchelor

How about drinking water?

Tell me Neil what is a rape rack, and what is it used for?

Neil Batchelor
Neil Batchelor
2 months ago

Never ceases to amaze me how willing people are to jump on managing with little or no understanding of the industry they wish to vilify beyond the contents of a purely researched and often distinctly biased documentary. And here we go again.

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