Dairy is Scary: A New Era?

Photographs of animals in cramped, inhumane living conditions being force fed grains to make them slaughter house ready, faster or ensure their bodies continue to lactate are nothing new. These hideous sights have been gracing our TV screens for years. So why are the public the public suddenly waking up to the dark side of intensive farming?

Despite the multiple legislations in place in the UK around commercial farming the reality is that the practices of most dairy farms are still far from ideal. When a cow gives birth her calf will typically be taken from her within 36 hours of the birth so that farmers can start to farm the milk that is meant for her baby for us to put on our breakfast cereal, in our morning coffee and in all of the other unnecessarily dairy based products we consume every day.

Not only is this a callous separation of mother from child, in the words of Dr Micheal Klaper from the infamous Cowspiracy documentary, you are drinking ‘baby cow growth hormone, why do you want to eat baby cow growth hormone?!’

… why DO we drink baby cow growth hormone? We are the only animal on the planet that continues to drink milk into adulthood and the only animal on the planet to drink another animals milk.

Fortunately, in the UK growth hormones are banned and antibiotic use is limited but in some countries, a dairy cow is continuously fed reproductive hormones and prescribed antibiotics to ensure her body continues to produce milk long after her calf is fully grown. These cows’ udders are often so heavy they become lame and suffer the excruciating infection mastitis. And how is she rewarded for this? When her milk yield slows as her body becomes exhausted from the constant cycle of milking she will be unceremoniously dragged from the farm to the slaughter house to be killed off and turned into our next gourmet burger.

A stomach-turning thought perhaps, but it appears change is coming. The plight of the dairy cow has been brought back into the limelight this month with the five-minute video ‘Dairy is Scary’. And it seems the public may be waking up to the face that no matter how organic or sustainable we label a milk carton; the fact is that dairy farming is a dark and inhumane art.

With so many delicious and healthy alternatives it’s not hard to go dairy free in 2017. Here in our beloved London it seems like a revolution is happening and it’s forcing businesses to evolve.

One of London’s most popular coffee houses The Fields Beneath in Kentish Town abruptly stopped serving cow’s milk this month, switching to fully vegan alternatives such as oat, almond and soy milk. London’s cafés have been offering dairy free alternatives for a few years now but this is the first we have heard of to completely stop serving cow’s milk. And it’s not just London where change is happening; Manchester based ice-cream and desert parlour Ice Shack recently announced it is transforming into a fully vegan business.

The Times.co.uk recently reported on what it is calling a ‘demographic time bomb’ as the millennial generation start to turn their back on cow’s milk in droves. The figures certainly suggest a shift in mentality; only ten years ago there were over 20,000 dairy farms in the UK but today industry analysts are predicting that there will be fewer than 5,000 left by 2026.

What do you think? After copious amounts of research, here at Flor and Cesta we have decided to go dairy free and we’ll be sharing the story behind our decision with you in the next few weeks. At Flor and Cesta we’re all about a balanced argument so please do share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

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