As one of the more powerful lobbies,
millions of dollars have been spent by the dairy industry perpetuating the myth that the white stuff
is necessary and desirable for humans.
Plant Based News debunks the myths on World Milk Day to
bring you dairy’s top nine lies.
1. Milk comes from happy cows
There is a recent trend to promote
milk as ‘free-range’ or ‘outdoor grazed’. Unfortunately, despite these labels
(which critics debunk as cynical marketing ploys), industrial dairy production
requires cows to go through endless cycles of giving birth and having their
calves taken away from them, as well as early death in a slaughterhouse.
dairy cows are a myth.
2. Cows are not killed in the dairy industry
Sadly, this is totally untrue. The
life of a dairy cow is incredibly intensive, being repeatedly artificially
inseminated and giving birth, lactating and being milked, before going through
the cycle again.
The intensity of this process cuts a dairy cow’s lifespan from
up to 20 years to around three-five years.
In additional, male calves are
either killed very soon after birth, or are slaughtered for meat further down
As abolitionist vegan Gary L. Francione says: “There is probably more suffering in
a glass of milk or ice cream cone than there is in a steak.”
3. Cows Explode when you don’t milk them
One of the stranger myths around milk
– many people still seem to believe that cows need to be milked at all times.
Like other mammals, cows only lactate when rearing their young. It is believed
to be uncomfortable if the milk builds without cows feeding their calves (or
Reassuringly though, there are no recorded instances of cows ‘exploding’ on account of not being milked.
4. Milk is the only source of calcium
numerous sources from which you can get enough calcium, a crucial
substance we need – but we don’t need to get it from dairy products. Foods such as broccoli, kale
and nuts are a good source of calcium. Other sources include dried
fruits, nuts, particularly almonds and brazil nuts and seeds as well as pulses
5. We need milk to have healthy bones
There is a growing body of evidence
to suggest this simply isn’t true. According to Viva!’s White Lies report: “In the UK, a half of all
women and one in five men over the age of 50 will suffer a fracture and this
level of risk is fairly common in many Western countries.
“This simple fact
destroys the old myth that osteoporosis is caused by calcium deficiency because
those nations that consume the most cow’s milk and other dairy products have
the highest rates of osteoporosis and hip fracture.”
6. Cows make milk for humans
This is a truly ludicrous statement.
Look at it like this…kittens drink cat’s milk, puppies drink dog’s milk, baby
rats drink rat’s milk.
Human beings are literally the only species on the
planet that drinks the milk of another species.
All mammalian species stop
drinking milk once they are weaned. Humans stop drinking human milk – but then
move onto cow’s milk. It doesn’t make much sense. Cows make milk for their
young – not for human beings.
7. Milk is incredibly healthy
Milk is pretty healthy – if you’re a
baby cow. It is perfectly designed by nature to feed these animals and make
them quickly grow. But many doctors believe it is not a good food source for
people: many people complain of suffering from lactose intolerance, which can
include symptoms like stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea.
Dr Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians
Committee, thinks milk consumption can be even more dangerous. He says: “Regular
consumption of dairy products has also been linked to prostate cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, and
8. There are no good alternatives to cow’s milk
This is an incredibly lazy lie, but
it is one the dairy lobby has tried to spin.
Earlier this year a number of
congressmen wrote to the US Food and Drug Administration [FDA] to try and make
it illegal for plant-milk manufacturers to use the word ‘milk’ on their packaging.
Sounds like a pretty desperate move – and
probably because there is a huge range of alternatives to dairy that are tasty,
healthy and easily accessible too. Try almond, soya, coconut, hazelnut, hemp
and sunflower (just for starters).
9. Drinking milk can help you lose weight
Milk has regularly been touted as an
important part of a weight loss regimen – but there is no evidence to back up
According to Dr Neal Barnard, founder of the Physicians
Committee: “Studies consistently
show that dairy products offer zero benefits for weight control. One
major study even
found that dairy products might lead to weight gain.”
After the committee petitioned
the Federal Trade Committee about this issue in 2005, advertisers have not been
allowed to claim dairy leads to weight loss. But the idea still lingers in some