Claim: Milk production is not harmful to farmed animals


Milk comes from a smiling cow on a hill with a giant bell around its neck; a girl with two braids and a blue apron comes up the hill with a bucket to milk the cow under a rainbow. Why wouldn't the cow on the carton be smiling? I mean, so how could it be unethical with drinking milk today from a grocery store?

Problems With This Argument

1. It's fiction

Actual milk production starts with bestiality and ends with a slaughtered calf. The cow gives birth and the calf is separated from the mother to avoid cutting into the yield and is either sold off to be slaughtered within a few weeks of being alive or... if it's a female in good condition it can be raised to perpetuate the cycle. The cow will continue this cycle, and will probably be killed before its sixth birthday, less than a third of the way through its life.

2. The results

Given that the production of milk is inherently tied to the slaughter of animals, vegans argue (correctly) that lacto-vegetarianism represents a 0% middle ground between slaughtering animals and not. By drinking milk you are still subsidizing the slaughter of animals, and it doesn't matter if it's a "local farm", either.

3. Collateral Damage

You still are paying for cows to take food from developing countries, you're still contributing to the unsustainable nature of the animal agriculture industry, and doing a lot of ecological damage. Taking the milk and not the meat doesn't actually solve any of those issues, either. Cows and calves are slaughtered and abused for dairy.


The Age of Farm Animals

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[Claim: Milk production is not harmful to farmed animals](