Week Twenty-eight

Whew, it has been a while since Val got up on the old soapbox. Ahem (stepping up).

Do you know where your milk comes from? (the store is not an answer)

20120727-155634.jpgThe Waterhof Gaasbeek Dairy Farm

We visited a local family dairy farm about 20 mins from our house. All parents have “those things” that they really want to hammer into their kids, for me, it is respect for living things. As a family we are meat, fish, dairy and egg consumers however I don’t want Zane and Lily thinking that these items are just plopped in front of us at a store or our local market. They came from somewhere. Is that somewhere a good place or a bad place?

Fun Facts:
The majority of factory dairy cows in the U.S., (like… almost all) will never graze in pasture or spend any time outside. All those pictures on dairy products showing cows walking around? Doesn’t happen.

Cows on factory farms are often fed unnatural diets, including full of hormones and other dead cows.

After some factory farms force the cows to become impregnated to stimulate milk production, undercover video have shown some calves are slaughtered in front of the mothers or simply left die from starvation separated from their mom and some are skinned alive for leather. The lucky ones are purchased and shipped off to veal houses where they are confined to a cage for 9 or so months before being slaughtered (don’t get me started on veal) or other farms.

THIS IS SOMETHING NEW, hold on, I ain’t no hippie here

When I have tried to talk to people about factory farm conditions, I am often met with the, well, in my day animals were animals and farmers made a living, type mentality. BUT industrial factory farming boomed in 1990s! and only recently has it gotten SO bad that investigations are now uncovering the horrors.

“The total number of U.S. dairies has dropped 55 percent since 1991, but for operations where the herd size is over 100, it has increased by 94 percent. Megadairies with thousands of cows are now replacing smaller, family farms.”. If maw and paw don’t have their farm shut down, then they are forced to sell their product for pennies to the industry. Resulting in eventual farm closure.

Don’t believe me? check out this local Texas farm that is closing this week.
Texas Daily Harvest
http://texasdailyharvest.com/home.php

“The farmer can no longer respond to changing market conditions by increasing or decreasing herd size or milk output. Instead, farmers that have opted into the industrialized system are now servants to massive debt.”

This means farmers end up subjecting their animals to the harshest conditions in efforts to produce more and more milk. Milk that we don’t even need! Have you ever looked at all the freaking yogurt? WHY is there so much yogurt?!? Because something has got to happen with all the excess milk.

Don’t care about cows? How about your tax dollars?

Our federal government has a responsibility to the dairy program which over produces so much milk, they don’t know what to do with it! With no one around to buy ALL this milk, the government has had to respond to the ongoing dairy excess, and has to purchase cheese, butter,and nonfat dry milk under a dairy price support. We are talking MILLIONS of dollars.

Ever wonder why there is a milk program in schools? Do children really need milk? Nope. Biologically, think about it.

There is a story about these lovely ladies who visited a third world country in Africa. They saw that the children had no milk. “No milk!?! How awful, they thought.”. So they came back to the US, raised a bunch of money and support and shipped milk to the poor little children. They ended up making everyone sick and a few children died from dehydration from intestinal problems. Humans are not meant to consume cows milk.

BUT it sure is tasty and makes wonderful things like cheese, creme fraiche and ice cream! So, my stance is, if we are going to consume it, let me teach my kids where it comes from and how to get it from an ethical source.

20120727-155650.jpg
Can I make a joke about DairyAir?

20120727-155703.jpg
Zane wanted to a picture to put in his room. These cows are indoors waiting their turn to get milked for the noon milking session.

20120727-155721.jpgSee they are eating Hay and Grasses, like they are supposed to, not their dead Aunt Maude.

20120727-155732.jpg
Cute little babies who were hanging out, learning the ropes.

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Thank you little Holsteins, sorry your American cousins have it so rough.

I brought my insulated bag and icepacks already to stock up on products. But guess who left her wallet at home. A genius I am. Luckily this place is just across town.

(stepping down)

Want to purchase family farmed local milk and dairy products? Check your local whole foods or google to look for places in your area who might deliver.

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6 Responses to Week Twenty-eight

  1. tjebran35 says:

    Well, that’s a lot of info to absorb. Guess I generally bury my head in the sand, as I was appalled at the conditions you described. I liked Maw and Paw on the farm. Enjoyed the pictures of the children! Thanks for your inquiring mind. Love you all.

  2. tjebran35 says:

    Loved your dairy air pun …

  3. Shirley Branham says:

    THIS IS ANOTHER REASON TO GIVE YOUR CHILDREN ORGANIC MILK! NOW PLEASE DON’T TELL ME IT IS BROUGHT TO US FROM THE SAME CONDITIONS!

  4. Shirley Branham says:

    WE VISITED A BEAUTIFUL SPARKLING CLEAN DAIRY IN THE LAKE DISTRICT IN ENGLAND, WITH THE PASTURES RIGHT IN BACK OF THE BARN. NEVER WAS SO IMPRESSED AT THE CLEANLINESS OF A PLACE LIKE THAT AS WE WERE HERE.

  5. kdcarver says:

    Belgium can afford to have small farms. The US cannot in its current culture of Walmart, McDonalds. We either change our culture or provide better oversight and punish those farms that aren’t complying.

    Part of the reason I pay more to buy only organic yogurt and milk is because of how firms like Horizon treat their animals, but also because organic milk lasts at minimum 3 weeks longer.
    http://www.horizondairy.com/why-organic/our-farms/

    Now, you make a statement that I disagree with: humans aren’t meant to drink cow milk. Sure… If we would have stayed hunter gatherers. We aren’t however, and unless you want to dropout of the beneficial state we find ourselves in a post-domesticated agricultural society, cow milk is a good thing. There is a reason those poor kids those well meaning women were trying to help are STILL in a tribal society.

    I invite you to read Guns, Germs and Steel for a perspective on this subject.

    Kirk

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