Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Let the good times roll, except for dairy cows

Today has been quite the day for "go vegetarian" news stories:

  • Greenpeace has released a report titled Cool Farming: Climate impacts of agriculture and mitigation potential. Basically it's a summary of how agriculture causes climate change; notably, how energy intensive the meat industry is, and, ultimately, how wasteful.

  • You know how some city councils are banning bottled water as a gesture towards combating climate change? Camden Town in London, U.K. is recommending that city employees give up meat to fight climate change. Alexis Rowell said the idea of taking meat off the menu was based on United Nations data showing that the livestock industry is responsible for 18 per cent of the world's carbon emissions.

  • Vegan diets ease arthritis. At the same time, the vegans [in the study] developed a lower body mass index, had lower levels of bad cholesterol and higher levels of immune system factors that potentially inhibit the inflammatory reaction. The research was reported in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.

And I have to admit that I've reached the point where I find it completely offensive that the Dairy Board of Ontario supplies school boards in this province with educational materials. I'd actually prefer it if Coca Cola and Pepsi were filling our schools with "nutritious beverages" flyers - as least those guys aren't torturing animals (as far as I know). Plus, the Dairy lobby has caused enough trouble by using lobby groups to completely pervert the food pyramid. Bastards.

Milk: From Farm to Fridge, one of the publications that the Dairy Board of Ontario gets into classrooms, covers the following:

  • Milk and Machines

  • Dairy Goodness

  • Cow to Carton

  • Careers in the Dairy Industry

  • Animal Care and the Environment

If the dairy board gets to supply schools with educational materials, shouldn't we ask elementary principles to make sure that classrooms are stocked up with information from humane treatment organizations as well?

I.E., the dairy industry uses pharmaceuticals and reimpregnation techniques (i.e., these cows are constantly kept pregnant), to make the cows produce ten times more milk than their bodies are meant to produce. This causes them to suffer from a whole smorgasboard (sp?) of diseases, such as Mastitis, Bovine Leukemia Virus, Bovine Immunodeficiency Virus, Johne's disease, Ketosis (which can be fatal), and Laminitis, which causes lameness. And, ironically, another dairy industry disease caused by intensive milk production is "Milk Fever." This ailment is caused by calcium deficiency, and it occurs when milk secretion depletes calcium faster than it can be replenished in the blood.

Being treated as a machine in a factory farm reduces a dairy cow's lifespan from 25 years to approximately 4 years, at which time they are forced up a ramp, with prods and electric shocks, limping because they've gone lame standing in one spot all their lives, into the slaughterhouse to become your hamburger (oh yeah, and one hamburger has the meat from around 40 cows by the way).

Yeah, let's invite these guys to send their "Dairy Goodness" picture books to our schools. That seems right. Maybe Bush and Cheney can come by and tell our third graders about how good government works.


klompengirl said...

Have I told you lately that I love you? :)

And, related to your comment about preferring Coke in the schools...they may not torture animals but they do engage in human rights abuses.

see here

the_seeker said...

When I grow up I wanna go to Bovine University!

Veg*Triathlete said...

I was checking out this brilliant blog project today, and I thought of your review of Kitchen Confidential. Have you seen it?


Smudgemo said...

Be sure to check out (not buy) one of the latest issues of Outside magazine. I have no idea why they send it to me now, but their recent "Green" issue is a joke.

In one section, the writer describes how to turn someone away from vegetarianism via greener methods of raising animals, and how silly vegetarianism is. I've decided to write them and state that I'll be most happy to indulge in a steak if it's open-pasture and grass-fed, the writer kills the cow himself, skins it, guts it, then carves off the section he finds most tasty. Oh, and he should do it in front of all his guests he'd have at a dinner party. Otherwise he's just another pansy who's disconnected from reality.

VeganHeartDoc said...

Interesting about Greenpeace releasing that report. While I'm a huge advocate for the environment, I've refused to join Greenpeace because they mostly ignore the impact of animal agriculture on the planet.