"Why You Should Stop Drinking Milk"

Rewind to a few days ago when this was the headline I read as I scrolled through The Odyssey Online. (In case you would like to read the original article, here's the link. Why You Should Stop Drinking Milk). It may have been because of my family's dairy farm or because my curiosity got the best of me, but either way, I stupidly decided to read this article written by a fellow Odyssey writer. As soon as I read the first paragraph, I was frustrated. By the time I finished reading the article, I was so irritated by the false information that I knew I wanted to write a response to this author. And so, from a farmer's daughter perspective, here is why you should drink milk from a family who has milked cows for far longer than a century.

1. "You're drinking pus"

The author proclaims: "A glass of milk contains many disturbing ingredients such as bovine growth hormone, feces, and antibiotics...[and] milk has an alarming amount of pus."

When I read this statement I was completely speechless and stunned that someone could think that milk contained any of those substances because milk does not, never has, and never will contain any of these ingredients.

This is why milk is safe. Every other day, milk is picked up by the milk company at dairy farms and is tested for multiple things like bacteria levels (this is the sematic cell count that must be under a set bacterial level), 38-degree temperature, and antibiotic usage. If a farm is tested and has a sematic cell count that is higher than the limit, the milk company will give the farm three attempts to bring the count down into the acceptable range; otherwise, the farm will be shut-off and the milk will not be picked up. In the meantime, the farmer is required to test the sematic cell count of their herd and not put milk from the cow with the high cell count in with the other milk until the situation is straightened out. That cow's milk is not wasted, it is only fed to the calves until the sematic cell count is once again within the acceptable range. The same repercussions farmer's experience from the milk company also occur if the milk is not at 38 degrees. However, if the milk company's test discovers antibiotics in the milk, then the farm will be shut-off automatically by the milk company; they have a strict no antibiotic policy in place.

In response to the statement made about the U.S. having a higher sematic cell count allowance than in other countries, I want one to consider the following. Even though the U.S. allows a higher cell count, do you mean that you are more comfortable drinking milk from a foreign country such as China where there is no way you could see how the milk is produced rather than drink milk that is more than likely produced within your local area and have the opportunity to support the local economy?

2. "Cows milk isn't meant for humans"

"Cow's milk contains an abundant amount of pointless fat, cholesterol, and calories." All I have to say is so do most of the products sold in the snack aisle of the grocery store; yet, people still eat those.

3. "It's a nightmare for cows"

This is the part of the article that infuriated more than the previous portion of the article. While I can't speak for all dairy farmers, I know I can speak for many if not the majority when I say that no farmer would ever treat their cattle like The Odyssey Online writer portrayed them to.

"Cows in the United States spend their lives in crowded feed lots surrounded by disease and their own feces."

That's wrong. If a cow is sick, they are separated from the herd because the farmer doesn't want to risk infecting his entire herd and loosing his business. Cows aren't just an animal used to produce milk, cows are thought of as an essential piece to a farmer's way of life and part of the family. And, cows do not live in crowded feces filled feed lots. Cows are given the room to roam and graze in open fields because it helps to not only keep them healthy in terms of milk production but also help keep their joints, muscles, and feet in tip-top shape.

But, the author doesn't stop there. She continues on to say that cows are repeatedly impregnated through the use of a "rape rack" and bulls are treated with an "electro-ejaculator."

I'll be honest, I've never heard of either of these products so I asked some farmers who have milked cows for their entire lives. Each person I talked to have never heard of either of these products. Do you know why? Because they probably don't exist. Or if an "electro-ejaculator" does exist, most likely it is only owned by the artificial breeding corporations. However, most farmers do not use artificial breeding because it is too expensive; therefore, they let things happen naturally between the bull and cow.

Also, cows are not repeatedly impregnated and used as a milk machine. Biologically speaking, it isn't possible. A cow cannot produce milk until it has a calf. Once the cow has had a calf, they will be milked; however, once the cow is carrying a calf again, she will gradually begin to dry up. In the last three months, or sometimes a little bit longer, a cow will not be milked because she has nothing to produce. Furthermore, once the cow has calved, she cannot be bred back for at least 60 days. So, no, a cow is not just a milking machine she is cared for and the farmer will treat the cow will the animal's best interest at heart.

Finally, this is the point of the article that frustrated me the most. "Once a cow gives birth, the calf is violently taken from the cow (leaving the traumatized calf screaming for the mother, and most times too weak to survive). The industry does this to prevent the calf from drinking the milk intended for humans."

No, no, and no. That doesn't happen, at least not on any farm that I have ever been on. Actually, calves are kept with the mother for a few weeks because the cow's milk at that time is the most nutritious and contains colostrum (a nutrient that is only found in milk at the very early days of being fresh). So, I ask you, why would a farmer take a calf from the cow when at that time, the milk is the most nutritious? The answer is simple, they don't because both the cow and the calf is an investment and the farmer cares for the health and well-being of both. Furthermore, the calf nine times out of ten be raised up and added to the milking herd so the farmer doesn't want to see the calf suffer and be ill.

4. "There are healthy alternatives to milk"

There's almond milk, soy milk, and many other "milks." But, that isn't milk. The Ranch said it best: