Articles Magazine

Cash Cow: Why Dairy Is Bad For You

This article may use affiliate links. Eluxe Magazine only links to products we trust.

By Neesha Gill
In an eye opening and controversial  new book, Cash Cow: Ten Myths about the Dairy Industry,  French-Canadian food blogger and writer Élise Desaulniers  examines the dairy industry in her native Quebec, Canada, and North America as a whole.
 
Comparing her experience of waking up to illusion and disillusionment to that of the main character played by Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, Desaulniers  systematically dismantles all the reasons we give ourselves on why we have to drink milk and eat dairy products.
 
She argues that our attachment to milk is not even cultural, but has been created by the dairy  industry, which spends millions in advertising and funding research to convince us it’s normal and necessary to consume milk based products.
There is no way, she says, to produce milk without suffering; for anyone who justifies their consumption of dairy because it’s organic, Desaulniers demonstrates that the treatment of “organic” dairy cows is not significantly better than regular cows: she says that they spend most of their time indoors and are artificially inseminated to continue producing babies, who are taken away from them at birth.
Here, we interviewed the author to learn more about why dairy is bad for you… and the planet.
vegan-food-pyramid-3

What inspired you to write Cash Cow?

My first book was on food ethics. Since its publication, I’ve been talking a lot about the treatment of animals, marine life, and the environmental consequences of raising livestock. More often than not, people have agreed with me. Several readers have written to tell me that I have inspired them to eat less meat. But I soon realized that when it comes to cheese and yoghurt, it’s different. Dairy products are held very dear. I wanted to understand this emotional attachment to dairy. It’s fine to be vegetarian but adopting a vegan diet seems a little extreme to most. We all know milk comes from cows and these cows are often raised in horrible conditions and slaughtered after a few years. Reality is not different than animals raised for meat but our perception is different. I wanted to understand where it comes from and why are we so scared to challenge our relationship to dairy?

I started studying the topic and discovered how powerful the myths our perception of milk are built on. Contrary to everything everyone ever told us, drinking milk is not natural, necessary, or normal. In the introduction to Cash Cow, I write that I feel as if I used to live in The Truman Show. After researching dairy for months, I ended up completely disillusioned. Like Truman, I too felt like I’d been duped. I felt like I’d been misled. In a sense, we are the cash cows of the dairy industry. After many high-profile advertising campaigns and much strategic political lobbying, the industry managed to reach and retain its share of regular, satisfied customers.

Contrary to widespread belief, milk is not essential for good health, but rather that certain nutrients are and they can be found elsewhere. And if drinking milk is not essential, then raising hundreds of thousands of suffering cows to produce it isn’t either. Producing cheese, a process that emits as much CO2 as producing meat, is just as unnecessary. After having personally learned so much about milk, I needed to offer a counter-argument to the myths perpetuated by the industry.

980x

When did humans start to drink milk from other species?

It’s very recent. Milk consumption became possible with the advent of agriculture and animal domestication a little over ten thousand years ago. Back in those days, our Homo sapiens ancestors had already shared our physiology for thousands of generations. The history of milk as a food is linked to the history of taming mammals who can potentially be milked: cows, sheep, goats, camels, donkeys, and even horses. As for cows, their ancestors are aurochs, enormous wild cattle that were domesticated some ten and a half thousand years ago. These aurochs were first used for ploughing and meat. Only gradually did we begin consuming their milk. It is thought that we first used milk to make cheese and butter, which are easier to digest than fresh milk.

It is believed that the persistence of the enzyme lactase, which allows adults to digest milk, appeared about seven thousand years ago in the Fertile Crescent (now occupied by Lebanon, Cyprus, Kuwait, Palestine, parts of Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and southeastern Turkey). This genetic mutation is believed to have then spread elsewhere around the world. Today, it is primarily populations whose ancestors hail from Europe or from nomadic African peoples who can digest milk in adulthood; a mere 25 percent of the global population.

Most experts agree that the ability to digest milk in adulthood has probably increased over time: that’s because this change is an adaptive advantage. In Africa, there is a fairly strong correlation between having ancestors who were livestock breeders and exhibiting lactase persistence. For these breeders, the ability to digest lactase brought nutritional benefits: milk is indeed a source of protein and fat that is available year-round. This new ability is also thought to have contributed to the successful transition from a lifestyle based on hunting to an agrarian one: indeed, by consuming both the milk and meat of an animal, you get far more calories than by consuming the meat alone. It is therefore more advantageous to breed animals than to hunt them.

But we have to keep in mind that dairy consumption appeared very recently in human history and only a small percentage of population is able to digest milk during adulthood.

What are the worst effects milk has on the body?

When I began my research for this book, I was pretty sceptical. I knew that not everybody drinks milk and that it’s not necessary, but I never thought it could pose a threat to our health. There are a lot of crappy websites that demonize milk but there are also serious sources that support the idea that milk consumption may be harmful. The Harvard School of Public Health, for example argue that consumption of milk may increase the risk of some chronic diseases.

In my opinion, one of the biggest problems with milk is that it contains a significant amount of hormones: pregnancy hormones produced by cows and growth hormones to help their calves grow. For a cow to give milk, she must first give birth to a calf.

The gestation period lasts nine months. Nowadays, cows are milked three hundred and five days per year, which means they are also milked during most of their pregnancy. Eighty percent of the milk produced therefore comes from pregnant cows. And that’s why it contains a significant concentration of oestrogen and progesterone, two pregnancy hormones. Cows’ milk also contains natural growth hormones, IGF-1 the role of which is to promote growth in calves (Editor’s note: funny how the agricultural industry tries to tell us that soya based products are dangerous because they contain traces of phytoestrogens; meanwhile, milk is packed with actual estrogen!)

It is difficult to determine the true effects of cow hormones on human health. But more and more researchers are convinced that our system cannot handle this invasion of cow hormones. They are thought to be partly responsible for the development of acne and certain cancers such as ovarian, uterine, testicular, and prostate cancers.

There is a long list of health problems are associated with milk consumption but I think that one of the most frequent is allergic reactions. Recent epidemiological studies suggest that nearly four percent of Americans are afflicted with food allergies. The allergy to cow’s milk is one of the most common: cow’s milk contains at least thirty proteins that can cause allergic reactions. Headaches and asthma seem to be two common symptoms. Similarly, arthritis and joint pain often come from a milk allergy. Baby’s allergic reactions to cow’s milk are also frequent and symptoms include type 1 diabetes, ear infections, iron deficiency, and colics.

What do you think the future of the dairy industry looks like?

I started working on the topic early 2010 and I’ve already started seeing changes, at least in North American’s relationship to dairy. In Canada for instance, capita consumption of milk has fallen by 18 per cent to 74 litres a year between 1995 and 2014. Taking into account population growth, Canadians consumed approximately 20 million litres less milk in just one year, between 2013 and 2014. Demographics are generally working against the sector: older people tend to reduce their milk consumption while immigrants come to Canada bringing culinary traditions that often don’t include dairy.

Analysts also mention the rise of veganism as a threat to the dairy industry. A recent survey conducted for the Dairy Farmers of Canada shows that significant portion of the drop is due to consumers who believe that industrial farming practices are unethical (I can only agree with them). Meanwhile, in North America just like in Europe, alternatives to dairy products are more and more available.

But because markets for dairy products in developed countries have reached a virtual saturation point, the dairy industry is seeking to expand into other markets, most notably in Asia. Like Mia Mia MacDonald, the executive director and founder of Brighter Green mentions in the foreword of Cash Cow, China, India, and several countries in Southeast Asia are receiving attention and investment from international and domestic dairy producers. For instance, in China, domestic production of milk is expected to triple by 2030. I recently had a chat with a group of young Chinese who told me that they’ve been told all their life to drink milk to grow tall. Being tall is an obsession for Chinese since there is a lot of discrimination against shorter people.

I’m afraid that emerging countries will become the new Cash Cow of the dairy industry, just like the tobacco industry turned to those new markets when the western world started to turn its back on cigarettes.

Is dairy really a food group?

Dairy is “really” a food group in countries like Canada, US or UK. Canada’s food guide was created in 1942. Despite some adjustments, today’s guide structure remains essentially unchanged, with its four groups: milk products, meat, grains, and fruits and vegetables. However, although we clearly do not live as our grandparents did, and science has taught us a lot about nutrition since 1940, recommendations on milk consumption haven’t changed much. It was probably easier for governments to advise people on what to eat during the war, a time when a large part of the population suffered from deficiencies. Today, the trend has reversed and the guide must now tell us to consume less of certain foods, but without offending anyone… There’s a lot at stake! To address the various shortcomings of government recommendations, the Harvard School of Public Health researchers decided to develop their own healthy eating plate. First and foremost, daily exercise. Then, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. Great importance is also placed on legumes. And dairy products? They suggest one to two servings a day, or vitamin D and calcium supplements.

 

Is it really safe to cut dairy out of our diets?

The position of the American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada on Vegetarian diets is clear: “is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Milk contains no nutrients that are not found anywhere else; the vitamins and minerals in milk are also found in many plants that are neither white or in liquid form. Most adult humans and all other mammals live a healthy life without dairy!

What about calcium?

Although it is not necessary to drink milk to have healthy bones, we do need calcium. Vegan sources of calcium include soy yoghurt, fortified soy beverages and other fortified non-dairy beverages like rice and almond beverage, soybeans, navy beans, white beans and tofu prepared with calcium sulphates, almonds, sesame butter (tahini), blackstrap molasses, some vegetables such as bok choy, okra, collard greens and turnip greens, and some fruit, like figs and fortified orange juice.

 

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy

The Eluxe privacy policy applies to all your personal information, given and received. Personal information is information that might identify you, like your name, address, phone number, email, or website. When you visit our site, we may gather information about you such as your name, email, cookie information, and IP location. We may contact you regarding your preferences for information and updates. This information allows us to honour your requests for products and services and to improve our service to you. We never share or sell your personal information, unless we need to do so in order to provide a product, information or service that you have requested. Please note that no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% safe, thus, we cannot warrant that your information will be absolutely secure. Eluxe Magazine has a variety of safeguards – technical, administrative, and physical – in place to help protect against unauthorised access to, use, or disclosure of user information. We guarantee adherence to industry best practices that ensure complete security, and we fully comply with all federal regulations. If we change our privacy policy, we will tell you.

Copyright

All material on our site is original unless stated. Original content is fully copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We make every effort to ensure all published images respect appropriate copyright. Should there be any issue, please contact us immediately.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

Eluxe Magazine uses affiliate links throughout the site. We may be compensated if readers click on those links. We only provide links to products and services we genuinely like and trust.

Our Site will also occasionally contain links to, and quotations of, material from other sites. Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave Eluxe Magazine’s Site, and to read the privacy statements of any website that may collect personally identifiable information. Some of the links found on our site may be links that have been paid for by the sponsor. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any violation of personal or proprietary rights of you and/or any third party (including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, service mark, misappropriation, unfair competition, trade secrets, privacy publicity rights, etc.), false advertising that is harmful, or violates any law or governmental regulation and/or any media that may constitute libel or slander of any person or entity or infringe upon or violate the right of privacy or any other right of any person or entity arising out of content, practices, or other media of any third party links.

Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites we link into and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any damages or detriment arising out of content, practices, or other media of third party links.

Editorial Statement and Disclaimer

The views expressed at here are the views of the Eluxe staff and do not necessarily represent the views of Eluxe sponsors and/or partners. Eluxe content is for informational and entertainment purposes, and any views expressed should not be accepted as a substitute for qualified expertise. Though we make every effort to provide accurate information, it is up to you, the reader, to use Eluxe’s content responsibly; in return, we promise to publish responsibly. We stand by our content, our writers, and our editors. In the rare case we make a mistake, we will take whatever reasonable course of action we can to acknowledge and correct it.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THE SITE, CONTENT, PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES ON THE SITE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ON AN “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW AND EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, TGT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. ELUXE MAGAZINE DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT ANY DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES THE SITE AVAILABLE ARE FREE FROM VIRUSES OR ANYTHING ELSE HARMFUL. FURTHER, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, ELUXE MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, USEFULNESS, RELIABILITY, OR COMPLETENESS OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, CONTENT, THE CONTENT OF ANY THIRD-PARTY SITE LINKED TO OR FROM THIS SITE, COMMENTS, INFORMATION, INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OUR VENDORS, OR ANY OTHER ITEMS OR MATERIALS ON THE SITE OR LINKED TO FROM THE SITE.

ELUXE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR (A) ANY, ERRORS, MISTAKES OR INACCURACIES OF THE CONTENT, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, SITE AND MATERIALS SET FORTH ON OR MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE, (B) PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, OF ANY NATURE WHATSOEVER, RESULTING FROM YOUR ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S), PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, (C) ANY UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SERVERS THAT HOST THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) AND/OR ANY AND ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION STORED THEREIN, (D) ANY INTERRUPTION OR CESSATION OF TRANSMISSION TO OR FROM THE SITE OR THIRD PARTY SITE(S), (E) ANY BUGS, VIRUSES, TROJAN HORSES OR THE LIKE, WHICH MAY BE TRANSMITTED TO OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) BY TGT OR ANY THIRD PARTY, AND/OR (F) ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE NETWORK OR ANY CONTENT, INFORMATION AND MATERIALS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THIRD PARTY SITE(S)) OR FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY OF THE FOREGOING.

NO PERSON (INCLUDING ANY AGENT, DEALER OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ELUXE MAGAZINE) IS AUTHORISED TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY CONCERNING PRODUCTS AND BY USING THIS SITE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NOT RELIED ON ANY OTHER WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS.

IN NO EVENT SHALL ELUXE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, VENDORS, MANUFACTURERS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF USE, DATA, REVENUE OR PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OR GOODWILL, ARISING FROM OR IN CONNECTION WITH (A) THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE; (B) THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, PRODUCTS, MATERIALS, CONTENT, OR SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM, ON OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITE(S); OR (C) THE CONDUCT OF OTHER USERS OF THE SITE, WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF ELUXE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. YOU ASSUME COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF THE SITE. YOUR SOLE REMEDY AGAINST TGT FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT IS TO STOP USING THE WEBSITE. THAT SAID, IF ELUXE MAGAZINE IS FOUND TO BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS ARISING OUT OF OR WHICH IS IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR USE OF THE SITE, ANY CONTENT, OR PURCHASE OF ANY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ON OR THROUGH THE SITE, ELUXE MAGAZINE’S LIABILITY SHALL NOT EXCEED $100.00 IN THE AGGREGATE.

These Terms of Service (together with our Privacy Policy, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference and which can be accessed on this Site, and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) contain the entire understanding between you and us with respect to your use and access of this Site, and supersede all prior agreements, terms, conditions and understandings, both written and oral, with respect to such use and access of the Site. No representation, statement or inducement, whether oral or written, not contained in these Terms of Service (and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) or the Privacy Policy shall bind any party to this agreement. No additional or different terms or conditions will be binding upon us unless expressly agreed to in writing by an officer of ELUXE MAGAZINE. No other representative has any authority to waive, alter, vary or add to these Terms of Service. Before using this Site please read through all referenced documents carefully.

Aggregate information (non-personally identifiable information)

Eluxe Magazine may, from time to time, automatically collect aggregate information about our visitors to our advertisers, sponsors, promotional partners and affiliates. This aggregate information includes, but is not limited to, IP addresses connecting to our site, how many persons visited a particular page or activity, dates and times of image uploads, device characteristics, operating system, browser type, type of connection, page and image viewing statistics, and incoming and outgoing links.

Like most websites, we use log files to store this information. None of this automatically collected technical information is associated with any identified person at the time it is collected, but it could be associated with you under two circumstances: First, if you choose to give us personal data about you as described above, the technical information we collect that would otherwise be anonymous could instead be logged as coming from you. Second, if we are required to disclose our server logs as a result of a subpoena or other legal process, some third party such as your internet provider could match our anonymous technical information with you, using information beyond what is found on our servers.

Eluxe Magazine may use cookies, web beacons, pixel tags, or other anonymous tracking information to improve our server’s interaction with your computer, and we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognise a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customised ads, content, or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. Although our servers currently don’t respond to “do-not-track” requests (see below), you can block these cookies in other ways, for example by searching “[your browser] + disable cookies.”

Eluxe Magazine will never share, sell, lease, or rent PII to unaffiliated third parties, except in the following circumstances:

a) If we have a good faith belief that we must disclose such information for legal reasons, such as to enforce our Terms of Service, protect or assert the rights, property interests, or personal safety of Eluxe (including its employees, directors, suppliers, distributors, service providers, users of the Website or others), or if we are otherwise required to disclose such information by law. We will disclose information only to the extent necessary to comply with the purpose of the request.

b) We may share aggregate, anonymous or summary information regarding our customers and their behaviors with partners, advertisers or other third parties. This data is not personal information and so will not identify you personally. We may share information with companies that provide support services to us, such as a printer, mailing house, fulfillment-company, credit card processor, email service provider or web host, amongst others. These parties may need personal information about you in order to perform their functions. However, these parties may not use any personal information we share with them about you for any other purpose other than in connection with performing supporting functions for us.

You have the right at any time to prevent us from contacting you for marketing purposes. If and when we send a promotional communication to a user, the user can opt out of further promotional communications by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in each promotional e-mail. Please note that notwithstanding the promotional preferences you indicate by unsubscribing or opting out in some other fashion, we may continue to send you administrative emails including, for example, periodic updates to our Privacy Policy.

In order to access a profile on Eluxe Magazine’s shop, you must first create an account with a username and password. The registration system requires that a valid email address be used to confirm the account. You should choose a username that does not include your last name and does not specify your city or your address. Eluxe Magazine asks that you use your first name only, or an alias, for your display name. This is to safeguard your privacy and protection. We do not use and cannot access this information.

Eluxe Magazine is 100% opposed to unsolicited commercial email (“spam”). We do not have any desire to send unsolicited marketing emails to anyone without permission and we do not sell or provide user email addresses to any unauthorised third party in violation of this Policy. All of our newsletters and other general email marketing communications also include an “unsubscribe” opt-out link that you may use to tell us to stop sending you marketing emails.

In the event of a change in control resulting from, for example, a sale to, or merger with, another entity, or in the event of a sale of assets or a bankruptcy, Eluxe Magazine reserves the right to transfer your personal information to the new party in control, or the party acquiring assets. We will only do so if the party we transfer the information to agrees that they will abide by our Privacy Policy for as long as they hold the information, and that they will not transfer the information to any other party who will not abide by our Privacy Policy.

We use third-party advertising companies to deliver online advertising. These companies facilitate the delivery of ads, conduct market research, and use cookies for record-keeping purposes. These cookies sometimes enable the companies to serve you ads tailored to things you have shown an interest in based on your prior web activity. This is generally known as behavioral advertising. For example, this means that if you frequently read movie reviews online, it is possible that you might see ads on other websites relating to upcoming movies. Online advertising companies generally conduct this activity in an anonymous format, with online information not combined with information that would allow for your identification.

The third-party companies that will be serving advertisements on Eluxe Magazine may include DoubleClick, Google and Taboola.

We may periodically modify, alter, or update these policies. We will alert users to any material changes to this policy by posting the revised information here. We encourage you to review our Privacy Policy on a regular basis to stay informed about how we are protecting the personal information we collect. Your continued use of TGT’s website constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Policy and any future updates.