We hear it all the time: I would go vegan but I really love cheese. But how much do you really know about this creamy dairy product you claim to love? When we talk about veganism and how it helps stop animal cruelty, people understand and agree in principle, and many try to ditch meat. They forget to include dairy, however, because of a common belief that milk products are sacred. So despite their wish to help animals, people don’t embrace veganism. Many don’t realise that a glass of milk, a cup of curd, a spoonful of ghee, or a brick of butter or cheese entails a lifetime of misery for animals.
So allow us to dive into some facts about cheese.
Cheese is a dairy product made in a wide range of flavours, textures, and forms through the coagulation of the milk protein casein. A main component of cheese is fat. In fact, dairy is the number one source of saturated fat in the United States.
Most cheeses start out as milk from cows. For a cow to continually produce milk, she must be repeatedly impregnated. (Yes, like all mammals, cows produce milk for their young.) This is done through artificial insemination, a highly invasive and stressful procedure.
After carrying their babies for nine months—just like humans—mother cows give birth. Newborn calves are typically taken from their mothers within just hours. And yes, this incredibly cruel practice happens even at organic, “happy” dairy farms.
Understandably, this forced separation causes the mothers to bellow for hours or days; they even pace and search in vain for their stolen babies. Again, this torment happens at every dairy farm.
In 2013, residents in Newbury, Massachusetts, called the police because of crying they heard from a nearby dairy farm. Upon investigation, authorities discovered that the cries had come from mourning mothers whose newborns had been ripped away from them. Heartbreaking, right?
Scientists have proved that the mother-child bond is not exclusive to humans. Imagine the anguish and stress mother cows endure, giving birth repeatedly only to have their babies torn away.
As if the mothers’ suffering were not terrible enough, their babies also face a brutal fate. Male calves are killed for veal, and females are raised to replace older cows who can no longer produce a profitable amount of milk.
Continually giving birth takes a physical toll. A cow’s natural life span is 15 to 20 years, but because of neglect and the traumatic breeding cycle, they typically live only about four or five years. Once they are considered “spent,” they are sent to slaughter, typically becoming ground beef.
Countless studies show that dairy is detrimental to human health. For instance, cow’s milk is linked to a 60 percent increased risk of prostate cancer for every two glasses consumed daily. Moreover, women who switch from dairy to soy products reduce their risk of breast cancer by a shocking 43 percent. Consuming dairy products also increases one’s risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. And that’s not all. To produce more milk, animals are injected with oxytocin, which can cause hormonal imbalance in people who consume the milk.
And as for the environment, the Natural Resources Defense Council lists cheese as one of the top five worst foods to consume. Climate change is easily one of the biggest issues threatening our very existence. Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. Going vegan immediately cuts your carbon footprint by almost 50 percent!
We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, cheese lovers, but no matter how you slice it, dairy cheese is literally the worst.
So what are you waiting for? Ditch dairy and other animal products and switch to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here to get started!