By Daria Zeoli, Guest Contributor

“We can’t have these headlines that ‘Milk Can Kill You’ and not stand up for the truth.” – Julia Kadison, CEO of Milk Processor Education Program

Dairy milk consumption has gone down over the years. The dairy industry isn’t having it. In fact, this week, it’s starting a “Get Real” social media campaign to fight detractors, says AP article: Milk Industry Fights Back Against Anti-Dairy Folks.

Whenever the animal agriculture talking heads begin to use words like “truth” and “real,” I pay close attention. You see, lies of omission are not the same as the truth. The ad industry is skilled at this.

So here are some facts about dairy milk:

  • Cow’s milk is for baby cows, so that they can grow into the large mammals they are.
  • Humans are the only species who drink the milk of another species.
  • Humans are the only species who drink milk after the weaning process.

Are those facts debatable? No.

Can you get all of the nutrients you need from plant-based foods? Yes. And the fact that there are plenty of dairy alternatives is what has the dairy industry so scared. If we don’t need to drink dairy milk, and if we – vegan or not – prefer the plant-based alternatives, where does that leave the animal-based purveyors? The easiest way to get someone’s attention is with fear. “Drink milk for healthy bones,” suddenly turns into “If you don’t drink milk, you’ll get brittle bones” and oh, by the way, “milk” clearly means that stuff we take from cows, so don’t misuse it by trying to call something made from rice or nuts or soy the same thing.

What’s different for me now (as compared to when I first went vegan) is that the health benefits are secondary to the cost that animals pay for our consumption of their flesh and secretions. Even if milk couldn’t kill me and even if dairy milk was as nutritious as is claimed, that doesn’t justify the deplorable conditions that cows are bred, born, raised, and killed in. Every glass of whole cow’s milk I drank and poured over my cereal as a kid was had thanks to the suffering and death of millions of innocent lives. Every veal calf that ever lay in a confinement pen after being ripped from his mother did so because of the “healthy bones” that are sold to us by an industry focused on their bottom line.

And that’s the truth.

Photo: cafemama