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Thread: Have you ever thought about how weird the dairy business is? page

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    BethanyK's Avatar
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    Have you ever thought about how weird the dairy business is?

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    I was reading an ad for a holstein steer. It was raised on goat's milk, and is fed "quality" feed. This animal will never know what its like to eat the food it was supposed to eat. Taken away from its mother since it was only created by artificial insemination so that the mother would produce milk. Fed the milk of another creature because it wasn't valuable enough to warrant its own species milk. Fed manufactured food instead of grass. So its stuck in a calf hutch (which looks like a small septic tank and smells like one too), raised only as long as necesary, and then sold for $1.50/lb hanging. I don't think I want to buy that little calf for food--although if I had room, I'd buy the poor thing as a pet and feed it hay and unicorn poop until it were old enough to actually be healthy and have lived like an actual cow.

    What a bizarre and miserable life.

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    carlh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethanyK View Post
    if I had room, I'd buy the poor thing as a pet and feed it hay and unicorn poop
    jeez you just almost made me snort my tea out through my nose.

    ...but yeah the rest of that is horrible.

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    Probably applies to all animals raised for feed, even those grazing on their actual diets, end of the day they're still just waiting for me to eat them. I'm comfortable with that.

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    BethanyK's Avatar
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    I don't think so iniQuity. I think those animals that are bred for meat have a little better life overall than the throw-aways from the dairy industry. At least the ones I've seen around here, where they are pastured until market time, then shipped to hellish feedlots for finishing. I don't know how it is all over the country though. They still have pretty "normal" lives of being left with their mothers until weaning.

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    iniQuity's Avatar
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    I must have missed your point then. I thought you were discussing their final end (death to feed others, or become products, etc) when in fact you’re more talking about quality of life up until that point. In that case, I agree that factory farmed animals must life worse lives than those on prairies and such.

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    in the local raw dairy, the calves are kept in a smaller pen/pasture, fed a combination of goats milk and formula, and then pastured with their mothers once weaned. if they are sold for veal, they are butchered on the farm, but veal doesn't seem to be very popular here. most of the time, they wait until the animal is older and slaughter it for meat (again, on the farm).

    getting involved with local, raw dairy (and a cow share that goes with it if necessary) makes a massive difference in the way the animals are treated.

    also, i learned that our favorite cheesemaker (kapiti -- which is less than 50 miles from our home) uses milk from a variety of sources, most of them local, small producers. they use sheep, goat, and cows milk, most direct from small farms and hobby herds. it's partly why the cheese is so expensive, and it made it easy to go "dairy light" here because when you are buying high quality, local cheese, you can't afford it in quantity. So, we use a small amount when we feel the urge.

    right now, we have some parm still in the cheese bag, but that's almost gone. we used some creamy blue on our vacation -- took two weeks to finish about 4 oz. LOL

    each week, we get milk (to make kefir) and yogurt, raw from our cow share. that was the least expensive way to get dairy, honestly, and we prefer raw anyway. i eat about 1-3 tablespoons of yogurt per week. DS and DH eat more, but it's no more than 1 L of milk per week (made into kefir) and 1.5 L of yogurt.

    but, you know, you feel different about the industry when you are "in" it like this-- know your producers, know your animals and such.

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    NorthernMonkeyGirl's Avatar
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    I have more moral problems with dairy than with meat.... did you know dairy cos only give 2-4 years "active service"? They wear out. To compare some of our (beef breed) cows are chugging along at age 14, 15. I think the extreme breeding is obscene.
    And yet, I still eat cheese... maybe I shouldn't :/

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    zoebird's Avatar
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    i don't think it's a problem to eat cheese; for me, i go back to the producer.

    we try to buy as much of our food locally as possible. it's pretty amazing what you can get locally-- even living in a city. if you chose a random definition of "local" such as "100 miles from my house" or "this state" or "this country." it's really something.

    i would say about 3/4 or more of our food is from NZ itself. i would say about 3/4 of that which comes from within an hour's drive of Wellington. The rest is from "greater NZ". And the remaining 1/4 is imported -- from Aus or from China (particularly in regards to produce). Occasionally, some american produce slips in as well.

    it's really just a completely different way of thinking about food -- thinking about the production. And yes, it is more expensive overall. But, you can cut costs. Buying 75% local from the grocer is going to cost *a lot* more than sourcing producers and getting direct from the farms. Also, going without certain "favorites."

    personally, i love cheese and would eat *a lot* of it. but, because it is so expensive, i don't buy much and i savor it. I do buy more inexpensive fruits and veggies, and getting involved with the community garden also helped a lot: we get a lot of good produce that way for free.

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    BethanyK's Avatar
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    I never thought about dairy until we moved here, where factory dairy is a prominent industry.

    Zoebird, you are right, it does make a difference. We aren't involved in a raw dairy, but we do buy from some small local dairies. At first, because I appreciate the idea of keeping money local, but after witnessing large dairy versus small, I just hate to support something that is so wasteful on so many levels.

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    aboutsaffron's Avatar
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    we used to feed our excess goat's milk to calves & pigs. i don't know why that's so weird; if you're in the business to sell your cow's milk, you can't get milk without the cow calving. but if you want to sell the milk, it can't be going to the calf. it might sound awful, but it's the only way we get milk & cheese...
    And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the wind longs to play with your hair
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