Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Why Vegans Don't Consume Dairy Products

Becoming a vegan means giving up milk and dairy products such as butter and cheese. This a major change for people who are used to a European diet that historically has always used dairy produce.

But in many cultures dairy produce is eaten at all or only rarely. A vegan diet is common in some non-
Western societies. It is therefore entirely possible to eat a balanced vegan diet that does not include dairy produce.

The emphasis on dairy produce in the Western diet has produced an enormous industry to stock our supermarket shelves. The nature of this industry is perhaps one of the best reasons for becoming a vegan and cutting milk and dairy produce out of your diet.

What was once a treat for high days and holidays has become a daily staple. There are powerful commercial interests involved in encouraging us to eat more dairy produce. That change in our diet has had serious effects on health. The same changes can be seen in other cultures that are in the process of changing to a Western diet.

The demand for milk has created an intensive dairy industry in which cows are treated as units of production not living creatures. Dairy cows are selectively bred for the highest milk yield. They are impregnated every year so that they continue to produce milk.

Cows in intensive dairy units are treated with antibiotics and hormones. Some of them never set foot on grass. The old image of the placid dairy cow in a green field is a thing of the past.

Calves are no more than a by-product of the process of producing milk. They are taken from their mothers within weeks of their birth. Male calves are disposed of as uneconomic or are sent for veal production.

More humane farming systems are used on some farms. Vegetarians who wish to consume dairy produce should seek out milk produced on farms with high welfare standards.

But even if you can source good quality dairy produce from farms with high welfare standards you may wish to eliminate dairy produce from your diet and become a vegan. A vegan diet is a realistic option and for many people a vegan diet is an ethical option.

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