A Voice For The Community

"I am blessed. I had a wonderful and encouraging support system in my husband, family, and a few nurses who sensed my determination and frustration. I had opportunities to attend support programs and join groups of supportive women who understand. I have formed friendships and am surrounded by great people who share their knowledge. And I have learned. I have learned that every woman not only has a right to choose what is best for her and her child but to make an informed decision and receive support" Jillian, nursing mama to Jack Angelo

This is place to share the stories that come along with being a nursing mama. Wether you breast-fed your baby for 1 day or 3 years, we're not here to judge, simply to listen. Listen to what happened when you tried your best for 3 whole weeks only to be defeated. Listen to how being a mommy changed the way you looked at the world. And all the other stories, insights and moments that fall in between the complex and the truthful lessons you learned from your baby.

Read. Enjoy. Share. This is the voice of the nursing community.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Speaking Out For These Milk Mamas-The Life of a Dairy Cow!

       I believe being a vegetarian lead me to choosing to breast feed.  A year before I was pregnant with Teddy I read exactly how we get the milk we drink on a regular basis.  After learning that the dairy cow was producing milk for it's offspring and not for us humans, I instantly felt everything I had been told about "milk doing a body good" was wrong.  Armed with the knowledge of the true natural process of lactation as a perfect form of nutrients for species-specific babies, it was only obvious that I too would do everything in my power to feed my baby as god-or nature had intended.

        When Teddy was 12 months and right around the age where most people, doctors included, are starting to offer suggestions of including whole cows milk into my babies diet,  I was very conflicted by the idea of introducing animal products to him.  The diet choices I had made for myself were based on the research I had done on the natural nutritional needs of humans balanced with a compassion for animals whose lives, I felt, were unnecessarily being taken and exploited due to the greed of the meat and dairy industries.  But what did I know about the nutritional needs of babies or toddlers??  Luckily one of my very informed friends (whose name should include a .com at the end as a reasearchable mommy resource) enlightened me with the knowledge that cow's milk even at the age of one was still a substitution for breast milk.  Since then I have read countless articles concluding that it is natural for human babies to nurse well into and even beyond their second year of life making the use of cow's milk really obsolete.  Knowing my research for my own health could now be used for Teddy's diet-I regained my power as a confident healthy woman and now new mom and I began really focusing on smart healthy choices for my family again!

     On my path back to veganisim after a year and a half of selfishly including all my favorite cow's milk dairy "comfort" foods, I once again found myself surfing the web with a desire to learn more about the dairy industry.  After nursing for 14 months I am finding myself struck with the life of a dairy cow.  I have a renewed empathy for dairy cows.  Many cows are separated from their babies right after birth, not even allowed to feed even once the babies their bodies are lactating for!  I have a deeper compassion for these animals as a fellow milk mamas and I'd like to share there story here.  Just as us lactavists are working to spread the word about the truth in breast feeding in a currently under informed, formula feeding world, I'd like to do my part to spread the word about the truth of the dairy industry in a currently overly deceivingly marketed dairy FULL world.  It's not exactly the "happy cow eagerly awaiting their acceptance to the sunny california meadow" picture as painted for you by the dairy moguls.

I encourage you to read through the whole article here as I have take out the video.

How does drinking milk harm cows?

Dairy cows are continually kept pregnant and lactating and their babies are taken away from them when they are only two days old. The life of a dairy cow is not as natural as you might think, especially considering that 80 percent of dairy cows are made pregnant through artificial insemination. 1
The only way for a cow, like any other mammal, to produce milk is for the cow to have a baby. The milk produced by cows is naturally meant for baby calves; however, because people want to drink this milk, the baby calves are taken away from their mothers when they are only a few days old. 1 Cows are extremely maternal animals and both the mother cow and the baby calf suffer terribly from being separated at such a young age. One study showed that calves with no interaction with their mothers or only interaction through a fence, "induced significant increases in walking, butting, urinating, and vocalizing"2. In fact, one cow missed her baby so much that she broke out of her paddock and trekked through 8 kilometers of paddocks and rivers to find her baby 3. On dairy farms, mother cows can be heard bellowing out wildly trying to find their babies as well as running after the cattle trucks that take their babies to separate farms.
The baby calves lives are then decided by their gender. If the calf is male then he is taken away to be raised and slaughtered for meat. Because of this the NZ dairy industry contributes to the death of more than 1 million male calves every year. 4 That’s one death every 20 seconds. In fact, 55 percent of all beef in New Zealand supermarkets comes directly from the dairy industry. 5 These male calves are transported to separate meat farms or slaughterhouses, where they will never see their mothers again. Transported as young as 4 days of age, they endure cold and hunger, without food for up to 30 hours, while struggling to maintain their footing in the cattle truck.
There is no legal requirement for calves to be fed before being transported. A 1998 study 6 looked at 7,169 young male calves who arrived at a Wanganui abattoir (slaughterhouse) after a 7-hour journey in cattle trucks. The research found that 27 arrived in an 'unacceptable condition' - lying down, unable to walk, extremely weak or seriously injured. A further 4 percent were 'marginal' with a 'wet umbilicus, were hollow sided, apparently immature, or weak and slow and unsteady on their feet'. While these numbers may not seem large, the fact that a million male calves are slaughtered every year means that thousands probably arrive at slaughterhouses in critical condition, and tens of thousands are seriously unwell after the journey.

If the calf is female she will either be kept as a herd replacement, living in the same conditions as her mother, or she will be sent to a slaughterhouse or killed on farm.

But regardless of how well treated, one fundmental question remains. How can we justify treating sentient beings as nothing more then economic commodities, nothing more then property? Animals status as property is the root of all treatment problems that may arise. In a world where very few (if any) moral issues are universally agreed upon, we all agree that human slavery is wrong. We recognise that it is wrong for one sentient individual to own another. We recognise that it is wrong for one sentient being to treat another as a commodity, as a thing, as propertyere

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