GOT MILK? Not everyone believes we should be supporting dairy farmers.
GOT MILK? Not everyone believes we should be supporting dairy farmers. Molly Glassey

OPINION: Cheap milk? How about no milk?

I CANNOT believe people are being asked to buy more milk, and pay more for it, because dairy farmers might go broke.

According to this logic, we should all smoke more cigarettes to support the poor, struggling tobacco farmers.

I grew up on a dairy farm and learned that, like humans, cows gestate for nine months, but calves are normally ripped from their distraught mothers a few hours after they are born; I remember lying in bed at night on the farm, hearing the mother cows bellowing sorrowfully, often for days.

Anyone who has witnessed a cow returning again and again to the place her missing baby was born, and often refusing to eat, will never again doubt that these animals suffer and feel grief as we do.

The male or "bobby" calves are usually sent for slaughter at five days old, terrified, cold and hungry, and can legally be transported for up to 30 hours, without food, to their grisly fate.

The heifers are fed watered-down milk until they can enter the same cycle of constant pregnancy and milking. When their bodies wear out and their milk production wanes, they are slaughtered as "spent" at the age of 5-7 years, less than a quarter of their potential age.

Humans don't need to drink cows' milk, and we're healthier if we don't.

Let the invisible hand of the market do its work, and then the farmers can move (like the tobacco farmers did) into more ethical products that cause less suffering, less disease and less pollution.

DESMOND BELLAMY

Special Projects Co-ordinator

PETA Australia


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