Essay, Research Paper
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an international organization dedicated to protecting the rights of all animals, have begun a crusade trying to persuade college students to cut back on their milk consumption and take up drinking a healthier alternative, beer. PETA is the largest animal rights group in the world and works under the principle that “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment”. They primarily focus their attention to alleviate the suffering of animals on factory farms, in laboratories, in the fur trade, and in the entertainment industry.
A new study released by PETA shows that beer is comparatively better nutritionally than milk. Beer has no saturated fat while milk is simply loaded with it. Milk contains high levels of cholesterol while beer has none. Beer has a small amount of fiber in every cup but milk does not contain any. It has become an increasing problem with milk that the cows used are fed antibiotics and pesticides, which contaminate the milk produced. Beer is pesticide and antibiotic free.
The Internet site, www.Milksucks.com, houses PETA’s controversial campaign urging students to give up dairy and adopt beer as a more suitable alternative. They recently retired the slogan, which was generating negative attention, and have now shifted the focus to appeal to student’s compassion for animals. The “Got Beer?” campaign was a huge hit with college students. Over 41,000 Internet surfers visited the site in just 36 hours.
PETA is not actually trying to get college students to drink more beer than they already do. They are suggesting that milk is such a horrible beverage that even beer is a better alternative. One myth that PETA tries to dispel is that milk is an acceptable source of calcium. In actuality, milk and dairy products may cause osteoporosis, not prevent it. The high-animal protein content in milk leaches calcium from the body. In the United States, Norway and Sweden where people consume the most dairy products, women have the highest rates of osteoporosis in the world. China and Japan are virtually osteoporosis free because dairy products are not part of the culture. The average female American dairy-drinker will have lost 35 percent of the original bone density throughout her lifetime while the average female American vegetarian will have lost only 18 percent.
Dr. Frank Oski, the former director of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, is a promoter of the anti-milk movement. “There is no reason to drink cow’s milk at any time in your life. It was designed for calves, not humans, and we should all stop drinking it today,” he says. Milk is the substance produced by all mammals to feed their offspring after giving birth. Humans are the only animals on the planet that consume milk from other species of animals after birth.
There are several reports from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine that link insulin-dependent diabetes to a specific protein in dairy products. This form of diabetes usually begins in childhood. It is a leading cause of blindness and contributes to heart disease, kidney damage, and amputations due to poor circulation. The proteins found in milk are among the most common causes of food allergies. Surprisingly, nearly three quarters of the earth’s population are unable to digest milk sugars, lactose, especially those people from Asian or African ancestry. It is reported that dairy products are linked to constipation, obesity, cancer and other diseases.
Putting aside the fact that milk is horrible for the human body, what about the cows? The driving idea behind PETA is to protect our bovine friend the cow. Small family farms are practically non-existent in a world of corporate-owned factories. Cows are treated like milk machines and with the uprising of genetic manipulation and intensive production technologies cows can produce 100 pounds of milk a day. This is ten times more than they would produce naturally.
The male calves that are borne from the dairy cows endure 14 to 17 weeks of torment in veal crates that are rarely bigger than the size of their bodies. Female calves often times take their worn-out mother’s place in line or are slaughtered soon after birth for the rennet in their stomachs. Rennet is an ingredient of most commercial cheeses.
Farmers will artificially inseminate cows to keep their production as high as possible. They are also fed BGH, the bovine growth hormone, to stimulate the production of milk. The cows must be milked more often than they would naturally so their udders become painful and so heavy that they sometimes drag on the ground. Milking machines are also used to replace human labor. They sometimes cause cuts, injuries, and electric shocks to the cow’s udders. Frequently, infections occur and so antibiotics are used, contaminating the cow’s milk.
Ingrid Newkirk, the President of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says “Knowing how cows suffer in the dairy industry is enough to make anyone lactose intolerant. With so many delicious, healthful alternatives available, like fresh juices, soy milk, and yes, even beer, it’s easy to dump the dairy.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the average American consumes more than 550 pounds of dairy products annually, which is 40 percent of the bulk of the food we eat. This would suggest that giving up dairy is not at easy as Newkirk makes it sound. The average American diet consists of several dairy products that are incorporated into daily meals. There are alternatives, though.
“Non-dairy ‘milks,’ like Amazake and Rice Dream rice milks and Edensoy, Westbrae and White Wave silk soy milks, can be used in place of cow’s milk on cereal, in baked goods and sauces, and even in ‘milkshakes’. Instead of using butter, try vegetable margarines and oils. Frozen desserts like Soy Delicious, Tofutti, Rice Cream, and fruit sorbets can be used to replace cholesterol and saturated fat laden ice cream.” The website, Milksucks.com, has some other helpful suggestions to help people live dairy-free.
It is unlikely, though, that Americans will be receptive to give up dairy in their diets. The dairy industry spends more than $300 million every year to convince people to drink gallons of milk. “It does a body good.” Apparently it doesn’t. Americans become quite hostile towards people who try to take away things that are part of their every day life. There is a definite logic behind not wanting to give up the white stuff. It is part of the food pyramid, so it would serve to reason that it is healthy to consume dairy. I come here to tell you today that General Mills will not go out of business if you take away milk!
At very least, get your free bottle opener from www.milksucks.com that says, “Drinking responsibly means not drinking milk – save a cow’s life.”