The dairy industry starts marketing to us practically from birth—kids are often exposed to its slick (and misleading) campaign materials at school. By the time we’re grown, we may think that we know milk well—but you might want to think twice before stopping at your supermarket’s dairy case.
As seen in recent news reports, here are five surprising – and disturbing – secrets about cow’s milk that the dairy industry doesn’t want us to think about:
1. Head Trauma
As with meat production, today’s dairy farming is factory farming.
Dehorning—in which calves’ sensitive horn tissue is burned with hot irons or tools are used to saw off or gouge out their developing horns—is one of the industry’s nastiest secrets.
2. ‘Dead’ Tails
Another example of routine cruelty on many dairy farms is tail docking—binding cows’ tails with elastic bands so that they slowly lose blood flow and “die.” Then farmworkers snap them off. This leaves cows with no way to stop insects from biting.
One Harvard University scientist estimates that dairy products—made with milk from cows who are kept almost constantly pregnant—account for up to 80 percent of the estrogen consumed by the average person. This means a significantly higher chance of breast growth and impotence in males and both early puberty and breast cancer in females.
4. Artificial Sweeteners
The dairy industry is lobbying the Food and Drug Administration to drop its current requirement to label milk containing aspartame (i.e., NutraSweet™) as “artificially sweetened.” After all, what you don’t know can’t hurt…its profits.
5. Bone Loss
The dairy industry’s biggest marketing ploy is also its biggest lie. Contrary to advertising claims, dairy products may cause, not prevent, osteoporosis because the excessive protein in milk leeches calcium from the body. Studies have shown that postmenopausal milk-drinkers actually lost bone mass twice as fast as those women who didn’t drink milk.