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Emptying the Milk out of the fridge

I've always been quite uncomfortable with the issue of breeding animals entirely for our own consumption (whether as food or consumables). It seems somewhat wrong to give an animal a life entirely so we can take it away again.

When I was younger I didn't really like most vegetables, so I didn't really have a lot of choice, but to just go along with things, but as I grew up and started trying and liking new foods it started to become more feasible. It was foot and mouth which really put the final nail in the coffin of my meat eating. I was really uncomfortable that our food industries took so much precidents over the lives and welfare of the livestock involved.

One morning 6 years ago, whilst putting my boots on it struck me that there was no particular reason why I had to strap a bit of dead cow onto my feet everyday and it was a bit unfair that this cow's enter purpose in life was so that bits of it could become tied to my foot. I've been vegetarian ever since and I'm now so used to not eating meat I couldn't imagine doing it any more.

However, something that has caused me to remain uncomfortable is the fact I've continued to eat eggs and diary products, which still support the same industry as eating meat. OK, you don't have to kill a cow to source it's milk, but as soon as it stops being productive it will still get bundled off to the abattoir as it's not commercially viable to keep it alive.

I know quite a few vegans and there have been a few conversations with various people lately that are making me think that phasing these out of my diet may not be as hard as it originally seemed when I turned veggie.

In the end I was watching 11th hour last night, which got me thinking about my personal impact on the climate. OK, reducing this doesn't make a huge difference on the grand scheme of things, but it did get me thinking that currently, my electricity usage is fairly low, I don't drive and walk rather than using public transport where possible (after all I've grown these nice long legs, might as well make use of them), I don't eat meat, etc, etc. It then occured to me, that if I wanted to reduce my impact further the easiest way would be through cutting out dairy products.

OK, it's not exactly going to save the planet, but it's not really my main reason for doing it, it's just enough to get me to realise it's possible and worth trying.

I've got a fridge full of milk and cheese and stuff, so I'm going to use that up first and then see how I get on from there.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
22nd Jul, 2009 12:06 (UTC)
You have to have a calf to make a cow lactate, and if the calf is male, it's not going to become a dairy cow...there's an even more direct way that dairy results in death. She says, thinking about ice cream and cheese and still not actually being vegan.
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22nd Jul, 2009 16:21 (UTC)
Are you planning to dress veganly toooo?

I sort-of try to already. I've been wearing vegan boots for years now.

Other than that I've not paid a huge amount of attention to what things are made out of unless there obviously leather or something like that. I'll probably try to consider it more next time I shop, but it might be a case of seeing how well it goes with the diet first.
(Deleted comment)
22nd Jul, 2009 12:46 (UTC)
I guessed not :)
22nd Jul, 2009 16:15 (UTC)
Good point. Hadn't thought of that one.
22nd Jul, 2009 12:36 (UTC)
Cows do have to bear calves, the majority of which are then killed, in order to keep lactating. So milk does involve killing.

I'm not moralizing, I have a hamburger in front of me. Just pointing that out.;p
22nd Jul, 2009 16:22 (UTC)
Good point.
(Deleted comment)
22nd Jul, 2009 16:23 (UTC)
I gathered that from the talk in the pub the other week.

It's nice not to be the only one.
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22nd Jul, 2009 16:27 (UTC)
I've been buying vegan boots from ethicalwares for a few years now (given I've got size 13 feet, which makes it hard to find shoes to start with, looking for vegan ones isn't that much harder).

The boots I use for Molly (which are lovely shade of green :-) ) come from vegetarian shoes

Will have a look at underground shoes to see what they offer, thanks.
22nd Jul, 2009 13:52 (UTC)
I've been living in a vegan household for the last few months. I miss cheese, and tea made with real milk.
22nd Jul, 2009 16:29 (UTC)
I miss cheese, and tea made with real milk.

I suspect I will too to start with, but I'm sure I'll get used to it.
22nd Jul, 2009 16:57 (UTC)
I never dared try cheezely, but I'm moving out tomorrow anyway.
22nd Jul, 2009 15:35 (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if you can find "cruelty-free" milk products somewhere; probably exorbitantly expensive, but I'd bet they're out there. Though the problem of a cow having to give birth in order to lactate is a big part of it - cows produce far more milk than the calf can use for much longer, due to breeding and artificial stimulation, but they don't start unless they give birth. And that becomes an issue of what you do with the "extra" cow, if it isn't female.

I honestly admire your dedication, while knowing that I don't have the resolve to do the same. I kind of wish that I did, but... there's a separation of mind/spirit from body, that I just can't do. When I was younger, I raised animals for food; I'm aware of the process on a very visceral level. I have to be careful about my body, what I eat and how it reacts. This body is not capable of living up to the ideals I'd like. Even so, I know I could be more careful in my choices; but part of that is driven by crass financial reasons, and part by willful ignorance, which is again tied to how I have to be careful of my body.

*flail* :]
22nd Jul, 2009 16:40 (UTC)
If you kept cows for the sake of having pet cows and let them breed then every now and then you would have cruelty free milk, but I can't see how you could do it on a serious level of production, because of dealing with the extra cows.

When I was going veggie I read something interesting that basically said that although meat eaters generally criticise people who claim to be veggie, but eat fish or chicken or whatever, those people have still made steps towards a veggie lifestyle (for whatever reasons). The person who turns veggie except for bacon because they love it so much has still made a sizeable reduction in their meat consumption. It doesn't have to be all or nothing.

It's entirely a personal decision though and individual circumstances are clearly going to effect whether it's feasible and to what extent. I'm currently in the position where I can do this and the only real person it is going to affect directly is me, which makes it easy to give it a go really.
22nd Jul, 2009 16:17 (UTC)
Good luck!
22nd Jul, 2009 16:40 (UTC)
23rd Jul, 2009 16:54 (UTC)
if you do what you believe is right then I'm sure you will feel fantastic about it :o)

I wish you good luck, as it wont be easy cutting them out of your life...
25th Jul, 2009 12:29 (UTC)
The main problem I see with veganism, even more that vegetarianism, is what to do with all the species you don't need anymore. Even excess preserved rare breed pigs end up as tasty Gloucester Old Spot Sausages. All the empty field without cows, sheep or pigs would have fair amount of knock-on damage to grazed-land wildlife as well. We can't ask a pig, but I must admit if I were given the choice of some reasonable quality life or not existing at all and my species being wiped out, personally I'd go for some life rather than none. It isn't a problem you realistically have to consider (unless you have a grand master plan for taking over the whole world and making everyone vegan!) but I did wonder what your thoughts were?
25th Jul, 2009 17:40 (UTC)
Yes, stopping breeding animals for food would make a massive change to our ecosystem, but as our ecosystem isn't stable anyway I don't see that as a strong argument against it.

Species do go extinct and we are driving several towards extinction through our own consumption (particularly fish - if you haven't already seen it the film "End of the Line" is well worth looking out for).

OK, an entirely vegan society would cause a different set of species to go extinct, but at least those that remained would have freedom.
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )

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