Hey gang!! What a frigid end to the year! This stinks! Let’s all just hope that winter is getting this craziness out of its system now and then moving along!!
I wanted to talk to you today about us cows, our farmers and our product. We had talked in a previous blog about why the dairy products you buy at the store our safe and healthy. There’s a lot of people in the world who are anti dairy farming and to be honest, I have no idea why. They have a few “reasons” why and I will go through some of them with you and explain, in my opinion, why their case just doesn’t add up. Tea thinks it’s a little strange too:
One reason we hear a lot is that humans are the only mammals who drink another mammals milk. Well this one is easy because anyone out there who owns cats knows that’s not true(except if your our barn cat Brown. She doesn’t like milk. She also lets mice eat out of her food dish so…) Most cats enjoy a nice dish of milk(um hello there’s a reason people drop their cats off at dairy farms), the farmers dogs I think would walk on their two hind legs all day if it meant they get cheese or ice cream and our pig Fern would drink milk all day long. Just to name a few. And yes, the farmers do feed it to them but to be fair, they feed them all their meals. They wouldn’t eat at all if it wasn’t for them. So if they didn’t like another mammals milk, they wouldn’t eat it. But they do. So humans are not alone. Plus, if we were meant to drink “milk” from plants, then shouldn’t plants lactate? And have you seen how many ingredients are in those nut juices? Milk just has milk and vitamin a and d. That’s like 15 less ingrediants!
Another reason is that farmers are evil. They are all huge factory farms and are in it for the money and are cruel to the cows. Excuse me while I compose myself, I was laughing so hard about the making money bit I almost couldn’t write! More than 90% of farms in the US are family owned and operated. While some may be large scale, some only a handful of cows, some may be incorporated and some may just want to hand it down so they can retire, no matter the size, almost all farms have the whole family involved. Because farming isn’t just a 9-5 and done. It’s all day, every day, 365 days a year. It’s a lifestyle, not a job. While other professions may have to work holidays (think of all those farm kids across the country who had to either wait for their parents to get done with chores or go help before they could open their presents Christmas morning), farming is unique in that there are no holidays. There are no sick days. If your vomiting, you still have to milk cows. If your family wants to take a vacation you try like crazy to find help but in the end, youre still responsible and may have to drive 4 hours home after just arriving a few hours before because heifers got out(yes it happened). So farmers do this because they love it. They love their animals, they love what they do and they believe in it. They’re not evil. And the money part? Farmers get paid per 100lbs of milk, it’s easier to measure that way than gallons, and milk price is loooow. It has been low for a few years now and there doesn’t look like there’s any relief in sight. It is a constant struggle on most farms to get bills paid. And if the choice is to either pay the cows feed bill or finally put new tires on the car, guess which one gets done? Yep, the cows. They’re always first. I’ll put it to you like this. Imagine working in a profession you hate. Like can’t stand. Now you have to do it everyday. There are no weekends. And you don’t get paid for it. How long would you last in that job? I dare say not long at all. But if you loved it? If you took pride in what you do? You would put your head down and trudge forward and keep going. Because it’s what you do. It’s what you love. It’s who you are. Farmers are the kind of people who will take in all those cats people drop off. They will have them fixed, and give them flea medicine and feed them and take care of your animal because they care. Farmers are the type of people who stay up all night in the freezing cold to help a cow calve and then bring that calf home and put it in their bathtub to keep it warm. Because they care for their animals.
What else? Oh, cows are abused and milked all day long and their babies are ripped from them. Well, as we just talked about farmers aren’t the type to abuse their animals. If you didnt like animals, you wouldn’t be doing this. If cows don’t have good conditions to live and work in(their stalls aren’t clean or bedded enough, not properly fed, or abused) they wouldn’t make milk. The better you treat your cows, the better they will treat you. In fact, it’s been proven that cows that have names give more milk. Although this isn’t the reason, each one of our girls has a name. (And they know them too! If my farm mom is in the barn and calls out to my sister, she will come running!!!) Cows aren’t milked all day long. Milking takes a cow about 10 minutes per time, and most cows are milked 2-3 times a day, so they spend like half an hour of their whole day getting milked. That’s it. And as far as the calves getting ripped from their mother? If by that they mean a C-Section, that does happen but not commonly. If they mean removed from the calving pen and into a safer place, then yes, that does happen. We talked about it in a previous blog so I encourage you to go read it if you have any questions, but as someone once said, do you give your crawling baby free reign to go wherever they want? What about that new puppy? Isn’t he kept in a crate at night? And why is that? It’s for their own safety. Calves are babies too. It’s for their own good.
I think the last “reason” I can think people give is about the milk itself. We talked before about how it’s safe, about how there’s no antibiotics and how healthy it is. Guys, there’s no pus in milk. I mean really? When I hear the term pus I picture some scabby thing oozing green smelly stuff. Trust me, that does not come out of a cows udder. What comes out is milk. What some people refer to as pus are blood cells. They’re in everything, that piece of steak you had? In there too. Does it affect you in any way? No. If a cow gets mastitis she will have an elevated cell count. But as we talked about, that milk is withheld from the tank and dumped. This is something that is highy regulated and checked with almost every single tank load. If you’re tank is over a certain limit, you get in trouble. Do it 3 times in our co-op you aren’t allowed to ship milk anymore. It’s something that farmers and their agencies take very seriously. Also, there is limited information but it appears as though human breastmilk contains a lot more of these cells. And most breastfeeding mothers are encouraged to nurse through mastitis. So if it’s okay to give a baby that high cell milk, I’m pretty sure low cell cows milk is great too. Oh, and one more thing. There’s people who are proponents of drinking raw milk. I think maybe half of dairy farmers do. Those proponents actually argue that those same cells are good for people bodies! So for crying out loud, stop using the term pus. That’s wrong on so many levels. Your milk is checked on a regular basis for its safety.
Lastly, I would like to say one thing. Do you remember that picture floating around on Facebook a few weeks ago with the starving polar bear due to global warming? Scientists have come forward to say that the polar bear populations food source is fine. The picture was taken by someone trying to show the affects of global warming.The bear was probably more sick, or hurt its jaw and couldn’t eat or something like that. It doesn’t make that bears story less sad, I wish at the very least they put him down so he wouldn’t have to suffer, but the point is be careful what you read on the Internet and who it’s coming from. There’s a lot of activists of various causes who will use photos like that to tug on your heart strings. Try to find out the whole story first. You’re most likely only seeing a part. People can take a photo and use it with any description they want. The first photo of the calf Tea? People could say she looks like that because she was separated from her mom and is scared. The truth? She’s just a crazy calf, like her mom and gramma. Although nice, the whole family has a screw or two loose. If you hear something, do your homework. Don’t just believe it because someone on the Internet said so. Everything I tell you I would encourage you to check on your own. Farmers have nothing to hide, and I promise to tell you the whole truth.
Okay gang, time for me to go drink my warm milk. Warms me up perfect on a night like this. Please remember your farmers do all they can to make sure their cows are healthy and happy and that you get the best product possible. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask, and follow us on Facebook @alittlebrowncow. Happy New Year!