Thursday, November 01, 2007

WEANING SRI LANKA



As of late all we seem to be able to talk about is the alarmingly rising cost of powdered milk; whose direct “fault” this is we have yet to stay up late nights to figure out –and in quite a few homesteads this may indeed be the scenario if a sizeable percentage of the population is below the age of two, due to the time honored traditional emphasis on reproducing first and then worrying about financial stability later…
Ah , Sri Lankans…,
Anyway ,dear Citizen, neither the wails of the milk-less mites nor the profusion of cartoons and media critiques on the subject, nor late night political chat shows ,nor ranting nor raving nor whining nor kutukutu is going to make a jot of difference here (as if it ever has! ) so as a nation we might as well buckle up, and resign ourselves to being compulsorily weaned of the glorious substance in future . And hey, maybe that isn’t such a bad idea after all. In time honored sour grapes tradition lets blast a few of those myths about that lovely liquid symbol of love, peace and prosperity…
The Facts on Factory farms: here’s where the cheaper imported milk comes from….
Factory farmed animals are trapped inside large, stinking, windowless buildings on factory 'farms'. They never feel fresh air and their natural freedoms are brutally denied. The goal is meat and dairy products as cheaply and quickly as possible like tins of beans. Intensive farmers forcibly generate their animals via rape racks, artificial insemination, etc and this industry produces animals so cheaply that although they die by the millions - from disease, suffocation or maltreatment - profits are still not seriously hurt.


The dairy cow is forced to keep producing a calf (or two, or three, artificially, by Caesarian) every year until she dies or is killed (within 5 years).


The calves she gives birth to are taken away from her after only 12-24 hours. If it is a male calf (a 'byproduct') it may be exported and forced to endure 16-20 weeks of torment in veal crates.


In her natural state, a cow's udder produces enough milk for her calf, holding approximately 2 litres of milk containing about 3 times as much protein as human milk - in intensive farming conditions she has to produce 10+ litres. Every year over 50% of dairy cows suffer lameness due to deformations caused by huge udders (which may be so large that they drag on the ground), poor housing, and very painful diseases such as laminitis and mastitis. Symptoms of systemic mastitis include hot, swollen, acutely painful udders, fever, loss of appetite, and mammary glands so inflamed they are as hard as stones and bubble blood into the milk.


Sometimes milking machines give cows repeated electrical shocks, causing them prolonged trauma, sometimes leading to death. A single farm can lose several hundred cows to uncontrolled electric shocking. Milking machines are used anyway, because they enable a single farm worker to milk 86 cows in 2 hours.


And every year in UK alone 150,000 pregnant cows are slaughtered for hamburger meat, many approaching full term. The calves, unwanted by farmers, may still be living when their mothers are disemboweled. When the womb tumbles out onto the concrete floor, the still-living calf thrashes and drowns in the pile of bloody organs.
Source : http://www.carn-age.org.uk/
Other lactose intolerant websites you can visit:
http://www.milkgonewild.com/
http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/
and that mother of all animal rights sites:
http://www.peta.org/


So although the advertising people show you contented looking animals in lovely rolling green fields, that’s actually cow – hollywood and/or bullshit. For the most part powdered milk does not come from organic farms. For the real scenes visit any of the websites mentioned in this article and be prepared for a few unholy surprises.
Moot point- this milk of “human kindness” is extracted through a process that causes untold animal trauma on an unbelievably large scale. For a majority Buddhist and Hindu country, whose fundamental tenets are avoiding causing suffering to any living being, and indeed positive veneration of the cow, respectively, factory produced powdered milk is an abominable hypocrisy. Why then do we continue to be so fixated on it?

Myth No 1
Milk is nature’s ideal food! That’s what your mother always said, and for a nation of middle aged juveniles who still get their mothers to cook and do their laundry for them till they are fifty, mother knows best. It is nature’s perfect food—if you are a baby calf, have four stomachs, and are trying to weigh 1,000 pounds by your second birthday. Otherwise, it’s not so perfect. Think about it: No other species drinks milk beyond infancy or drinks the milk of another species. It’s just not natural! Medical studies indicate that rather than preventing the disease, milk actually causes osteoporosis and leads to cancer. Dairy products definitely contribute to the health problems of the one billion people worldwide who are obese. Cow’s milk is also the number one cause of allergies, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Myth No 2
Dairy products are a main source of protein! In practice protein deficiency is actually rarely heard of unless you live in a famine-stricken country. You will get all the protein that a human body needs from legumes (beans, peas, and peanuts), vegetables, nuts, seeds, yeast, and tofu.
Myth No 3
But our babies need milk!
Actually the average human female is still perfectly capable of supplying her child’s milk requirements for as long as they are necessary. The benefits of breast-feeding above expensive unhygienic indigestion inducing substitutes have been recounted at countless forums down the ages. What remains is to engender a paradigm shift towards responsible procreation where young people make long term plans for the off spring they intend to produce, which include some quality family time where young mothers do not work, but take time off for the important first years of a child’s life, and where this is VALUED. Unfortunately in our society rat race the fact that a woman stays at home lactating could set her career back by four or five years for the average two children family. Tragic isn’t it. But on the bright side, she would save quite a packet on milk food…that’s some recognition of our value at last! Not bad.

3 comments:

taamarbuuta said...

Truly excellent post (found it via Global Voices). This is clearly becoming a global issue.

enTRpy said...

The condition that some these animals are reared is truly horrific. However, some of the facts you state under the milk myths caught my attention. With apologies for being a stickler for facts:

"Myth 1: ...milk actually causes osteoporosis and leads to cancer."
Actually I don't think this is a confirmed fact. You often see this in websites/literature that promote veganism. It is totally possible that hormone like chemicals that might end in milk (like is the case of PCBs) playing a role in cancer development. However, there are no credible reports in the literature that state that milk, by it self, cause cancer. I wasn't sure about osteoporosis (I thought milk was actually beneficial in keeping it under check) so I actually checked it up and again couldn't really find any credible reports in the literature. What would actually bother me is the possibility of milk containing antibiotics that were given to the cows.

"...Cow’s milk is also the number one cause of allergies..."
This is not entirely true. What the AAAAI say is that milk is a common cause for food allergies... along with eggs, shellfish, soy, peanuts, groundnuts etc.

Myth 2: Totally agree.

Myth 3: It would be great if all mothers could breast feed their babies as long as needed. However, not all mothers are capable of doing so despite desperately wanting to do so. For such individuals bovine milk or formula milk are probably the best options out there.

Based on nutritional analysis, milk probably stands out to be a pretty good source of nutrition that's easily available to lots of folk across the globe (Well, we might have to tick SL out!). However, better treatment of the animals would indeed be wonderful.

al juhara said...

thanks for your comments!