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  • Writer's pictureBriar Mitchell

Why I Do Not Use Dairy

I am from Canada and grew up in the small city of St. Catharines, Ontario. There were farms all around us, especially dairy farms. We considered it a treat to go out on a Sunday afternoon to a local dairy and get ice cream there. It wasn't until many years later, I learned the truth about dairy farming.

Twenty-three years ago, I saw a report on the evening news about a downed dairy cow.

I was living in Los Angeles when I saw that story and could not stop watching. I grew up believing the lie, that dairies are happy, wholesome places, but nothing could be further from the truth.

This poor cow, had collapsed on the farm. It happens to lots of them. They finally just give out after years of being sodomized and raped to impregnate them, then having their babies taken away. Why take their babies? Well... if you use dairy, you are taking the milk the momma cows made for them. Some calves (males) are put in tiny pens for a few weeks then slaughtered, females might be raised to take their mother's place. Others still, just outright killed by either beating them to death with hammers, shooting them, drowning them or just leaving them in a pen to starve to death.

Many dairy cows are kept confined on concrete or wood for the duration of their short lives. A cow can typically live until 20+, but most dairy cows only survive until about 5. They are milked several times a day, and frequently, their back legs just give out and when they fall, it is also common that their pelvis fractures.

Some dairy farmers put shackles on the cows to try to prevent this, but it still happens.

The cow in the story I saw was put in a pickup truck and taken to the nearby slaughterhouse. She was then shoved out onto the asphalt and left there, in agony, with a shattered pelvis for about 2 days... no water, no medical attention.

Then, a man came out of the slaughterhouse, put a rope around her neck and dragged her all of the way across the asphalt parking lot, up a ramp and into the building. Absolutely brutal and one of the most cruel, horrifying examples of animal abuse I had ever seen, but totally legal in the dairy industry. Treating cows like that is common.

Over the next 20 years I visited as many farms as I could, to see for myself what life is like for farmed animals. If there is a hell, then that is what these places are. I saw dairy, cattle, poultry and pig farms. Each of them were horrifying, but the worst I saw back then were poultry and dairy.

I visited farms in California, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin. At one dairy, I saw a wooden pallet stacked with dead calves that the farmer had beaten to death. I saw animals living knee deep in their own feces and urine. I saw scars and open wounds and maggots... lots and lots of maggots.

Not only does dairy waste precious resources (it takes 1,000 gallons of water to produce one gallon of milk), uses our tax dollars, creates MASSIVE pollution to the point that it is one of the primary contributors of our climate crisis but the cruelty to the animals (all legal) is horrifying.

For over twenty years now, I have been a Vegan, and it all started with seeing that story on the evening news about that poor cow. Yes, I grieve for her and all of the other victims of the brutal animal agriculture industry.

The way things are going, it will take a catastrophe to truly wake people up and stop doing this, but, it won't be long. The planet is at the tipping point and the pollution and waste of our natural resources continues at an alarming rate. I do hope people wake up soon, and stop this. As a species, we are little more than monsters destroying everyone and everything around us.

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