In response to the e-mail providing a link to a website with the title cheese.joyousliving.com, I can't help but note that cheese production does NOT make for joyous living for dairy cows or their offspring. I personally would not find any joy I might experience from eating cheese worth the cows' suffering. Here is some information from Peta:
Milk: A Cruel and Unhealthy Product
Cows who are allowed to roam free in pastures and care for their young form lifelong friendships with one another. They also play games, have a wide range of emotions, and demonstrate characteristics, such as vanity, and actions, such as holding grudges, that are generally associated with humans. But most cows raised for the milk industry are intensively confined and are not allowed to nurse their calveseven for one day. They are treated as little more than milk-producing machines and are genetically manipulated and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones that force them to produce more milk. Humans continue to consume dairy products, despite overwhelming scientific evidence indicating that cows milk is linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and many other ailments.
Cows Suffer on Dairy Farms
Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans doto nourish their youngbut calves born on dairy farms are taken from their mothers when they are just 1 day old and fed milk replacers (including cattle blood) so that humans can have the milk instead.(1,2)
Female cows are artificially inseminated shortly after their first birthdays.(3) After giving birth, they lactate for 10 months, then they are re-inseminated, and the cycle starts again. Some spend their entire lives standing on concrete floors; others are crammed into massive mud lots. Cows have a lifespan of about 25 years and can produce milk for eight or nine years, but the stress caused by factory-farm conditions leads to disease, lameness, and reproductive problems that render cows worthless to the dairy industry by the time they are 4 or 5 years old, at which time they are sent to the slaughterhouse.(4,5)
On any given day, there are more than 9 million cows living on U.S. dairy farmsabout 13 million fewer than there were in 1950. Yet milk production has continued to increase, from 116 billion pounds per year in 1950 to 170 billion in 2003.(6,7) Although these animals would naturally make only enough milk to meet the needs of their calves (around 16 pounds a day), genetic manipulation, antibiotics, and hormones are used to force each cow to produce more than 18,000 pounds of milk a year (an average of 50 pounds a day).(8,9) Cows are also fed unnatural, high-protein diets, which include dead chickens, pigs, and other animals, because their natural diet of grass would not provide the nutrients necessary for them to produce the massive amounts of milk required by the industry.(10)
Painful inflammation of the mammary glands, or mastitis, is common among cows raised for their milk and is one of the reasons most frequently cited by dairy farms for sending cows to slaughter. There are about 150 bacteria that can cause the disease, one of which is E. coli.(11) Symptoms are not always visible, so the somatic cell count (SCC) of milk is checked to determine the presence of infection. Somatic cells are a combination of white blood cells and skin cells that are normally shed from the lining of the udder. Just as in humans, white blood cells, sometimes referred to as pus, are produced to combat infection. The SCC of healthy milk is below 100,000 cells per milliliter, but the dairy industry is allowed to combine milk from the teats of all the cows in a herd to arrive at a bulk tank somatic cell count (BTSCC) and can sell milk with a maximum BTSCC of 750,000 cells per millileter.(12,13) A BTSCC of 700,000 or more generally indicates that two-thirds of the
cows in the herd are suffering from udder infections.(14)
Studies have shown that providing cows with cleaner housing, more space, and better diets, bedding, and care lowers the SCC of their milk and their incidence of mastitis.(15) A Danish study of cows subjected to automated milking systems found acutely elevated cell counts during the first year compared with the previous year with conventional milking. The increase came suddenly and was synchronized with the onset of automatic milking.(16) Yet instead of improving conditions on factory farms or easing cows production burden, the dairy industry is exploring the use of cloned cattle who have been genetically manipulated to be resistant to mastitis.(17)
The Veal Connection
While female calves are slaughtered or added to the dairy herd, male calves are taken from their mothers when they are as young as 1 day old and are chained in tiny stalls for three to 18 weeks to be raised for veal.(18,19) They are fed a milk substitute that is designed to make them gain at least 2 pounds per day, and their diet is purposely low in iron so that their flesh stays pale as a result of anemia.(20) An enzyme from their stomachs is used to produce rennet, an ingredient used in many cheeses.(21) Calves raised for veal commonly suffer from diarrhea, pneumonia, and lameness.
Large dairy farms have a detrimental effect on the environment. In California, Americas top milk-producing state, manure from dairy farms has poisoned hundreds of square miles of groundwater, rivers, and streams. Each of the states more than one million dairy cows excretes 120 pounds of waste every dayan amount equal to the waste of two dozen people.(22) Overall, animals on factory farms, including dairy farms, produce 500 million tons of manure each day, much of which ends up in our waterways and drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that agricultural runoff is the primarily cause of polluted lakes, streams, and rivers.(23)
Eighty percent of all agricultural land in the U.S. is used to raise animals for food or to grow grain to feed themthats almost half the total land mass of the lower 48 states.(24) Each cow raised by the dairy industry drinks as much as 50 gallons of water per day.(25) Along with chickens, pigs, and other animals raised for food, cows are the primary consumers of half the water in the U.S.(26)
Human Bodies Fight Cows Milk
Besides humans (and domesticated animals who are fed by humans), no other species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species. Cows milk is suited to the nutritional needs of calves, whounlike human infantshave four stomachs and gain hundreds of pounds in a matter of months, sometimes weighing more than 1,000 pounds before their second birthdays.(27) Cows milk also contains about three times as much protein as human milk.(28,29)
Cows milk is the number one cause of food allergies among infants and children, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.(30) Most people begin to produce less lactase, the enzyme that helps with the digestion of milk, when they are as young as 2 years old. This reduction can lead to lactose intolerance.(31) Millions of Americans are lactose intolerant, and an estimated 90 percent of Asian-Americans and 75 percent of Native- and African-Americans suffer from the condition, which can cause bloating, gas, cramps, vomiting, headaches, rashes, and asthma.(32) Studies have also found that autism and schizophrenia in children may be linked to the bodys inability to digest the milk protein casein; symptoms of these diseases diminished or disappeared in 80 percent of the children who were switched to milk-free diets.(33)
A U.K. study showed that people who were suffering from irregular heartbeats, asthma, headaches, fatigue, and digestive problems showed marked and often complete improvements in their health after cutting milk from their diets.(34)
Calcium and Protein Myths
Although American women consume tremendous amounts of calcium, their rates of osteoporosis are among the highest in the world. Conversely, Chinese women consume half the calcium (all of it from plant sources) and have scant incidence of the bone disease.(35) Medical studies indicate that rather than preventing the disease, milk may actually increase womens risk of osteoporosis. A Harvard Nurses Study of more than 77,000 women aged 34 to 59 found that those who consumed two or more glasses of milk per day had higher risks of broken hips and arms than those who drank one glass or less per day.(36) T. Colin Campbell, professor of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, said, The association between the intake of animal protein and fracture rates appears to be as strong as that between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.(37)
Protein deficiency (or kwashiorkor) is very rare in the United States and is usually only a problem for those living in famine-stricken countries.(38) Consumption of excessive protein from dairy products, eggs, and meat has been linked to the formation of kidney stones and has been associated with cancer of the colon and liver.(39,40) It is also suspected of putting a strain on the kidneys, which take calcium from the bones to compensate.(41) Humans can get all the protein that they need from legumes, nuts, seeds, yeast, tofu, and beans.
What You Can Do
The best way to save cows from the misery of factory farming is to stop buying milk and other dairy products. Discover the joy of soy! Fortified soy and rice milks provide calcium, vitamins, iron, zinc, and protein but contain no cholesterol. Soy and rice milks are perfect for cereal, coffee, and soups and also work well in baked goods and other recipes. Many delicious dairy alternativessuch as almond, rice, oat, or soy milk and Soy Dream and Tofutti brand ice creamare available in health and grocery stores.
Vegetarianism and veganism mean eating for lifeyours and animals. Call 1-888-VEG-FOOD or visit GoVeg.com for a free vegetarian starter kit.
1)David Goldstein, Up Close: A Beef With Dairy, KCAL, 30 May 2002.
2)Mad Cow Casts Light on Beef Uses, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2004.
3)David R. Winston, Goals for Heifer Rearing, Department of Dairy Science, Virginia Polytech University, 1 Oct. 1996.
4)Anne Karpf, Dairy Monsters, The Guardian, 13 Dec. 2003.
5)Richard L. Wallace, D.V.M., M.S., Market Cows: A Potential Profit Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2004.
6)National Agriculture Statistics Service, Milk Production, United States Department of Agriculture, 17 Feb. 2004.
7)Don P. Blaney, The Changing Landscape of U.S. Milk Production, Statistical Bulletin Number 978, United States Department of Agriculture, Jun. 2002.
9)David Pace, Feeding a Bucket Calf, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service, Oklahoma State University.
10)Mad Cow Case Casts Light on Beef Uses, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2004.
11)Helen Pearson, Udder Suicide, E.Coli Kill off Milk-Making Mammary Cells, Nature, 6 Aug. 2001.
12)Guidelines on Normal and Abnormal Raw Milk Based on Somatic Cell Counts and Signs of Clinical Mastitis, National Mastitis Council, 2001.
13)P.L. Ruegg, Practical Food Safety Interventions for Dairy Production, Journal of Dairy Science, 86 (2003):E1-E9.
14)National Mastitis Council.
15)S. Waage et al., Identification of Risk Factors for Clinical Mastitis in Dairy Heifers, Journal of Dairy Science, 81 (1998): 1275-84.
16)Morten Dam Rasmussen et al., The Impact of Automatic Milking on Udder Health, Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Mastitis and Milk Quality, Vancouver, B.C.: 2001.
17)Michael Raine, CloningNew Era in Breeding Technology Raises Hopes, Concerns, The Western Producer, 17 Jul. 2002.
18)Susan C. Kahler, Raising Contented Cattle Makes Welfare, Production Sense, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 15 Jan. 2001.
19)Food Safety and Inspection Service, Safety of Veal, From Farm to Table, USDA, Feb. 2003.
20)John M. Smith, Raising Dairy Veal, Ohio State University, information adapted from the Guide for the Care and Production of Veal Calves, 4th ed., 1993, American Veal Association, Inc.
21)Chymosin and Cheese Making, The European Food Information Council, 2003.
22)Marla Cone, State Dairy Farms Try to Clean Up Their Act, Los Angeles Times, 28 Apr. 1998.
23)John Heilprin, Bush Issues Rule for Factory-Style Farms, Associated Press, 16 Dec. 2002.
24)Marlow Vesterby and Kenneth S. Krupa, Major Uses of Land in the United States, 1997, Statistical Bulletin Number 973, United States Department of Agriculture, 1997.
25)Rick Grant, Water Quality and Requirements for Dairy Cattle, NebGuide, Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1996.
26)Bill McKibben, Taking the Pulse of the Planet, Audubon, Nov. 1999: 104.
27)Beef Cattle Farming in Ontario, Ontario Farm Animal Council, 12 Feb. 2004.
28)USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Milk, Whole, 3.25% Milkfat, 16 Jul. 2003.
29)USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Milk, Human, Mature, Fluid, 16 Jul. 2003.
30)American Gastroenterological Association, American Gastroenterological Association Medical Position Statement: Guidelines for the Evaluation of Food Allergies, Gastroenterology 120 (2001): 1023-5.
31)National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, Lactose Intolerance, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Mar. 2003.
32)Courtney Taylor, Got Milk (Intolerance)? Digestive Malady Affects 30-50 Million, The Clarion-Ledger, 1 Aug. 2003.
33)Milk Protein May Play Role in Mental Disorders, Reuters Health, 1 Apr. 1999.
34)Severin Carrell, Milk Causes Serious Illness for 7M Britons. Scientists Say Undetected Lactose Intolerance Is to Blame for Chronic Fatigue, Arthritis and Bowel Problems, The Independent, 22 Jun. 2003.
36)D. Feskanich et al., Milk, Dietary Calcium, and Bone Fractures in Women: A 12-Year Prospective Study, American Journal of Public Health, 87 (1997) 992-97.
38)U.S. National Library and the National Institutes of Health, Kwashiorkor, MEDLINEplus Medical Encyclopedia, 5 Jan. 2004.
39)Gary C. Curhan et al., A Prospective Study of Dietary Calcium and Other Nutrients and the Risk of Symptomatic Kidney Stones, The New England Journal of Medicine 328 (1993): 833-8.
40)Kathleen M. Stadler, The Diet and Cancer Connection, Virginia Tech, Nov. 1997.
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