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Why is society really shying away from cow milk?

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nanapublicbgosh Feb 13, 2021
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Nut milk is not more sustainable than cows milk. Our supply of cows milk far exceeds the demand for it. Instead of creating unnecessary products for people who are “so extra” we could just meet the supply. If milk was accurately priced by basic economic models, a gallon would be 50 cents.
So what is the real reason for the recent hatred for cows milk? My hypothesis is that it is a result of our cultural taboos surrounding breastfeeding and our fetishization of breasts. By escaping animal based milk, we are trying to forget our conditioned sexual fantasies.
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Povilas S
Povilas S10 months ago
nanapublicbgosh You mentioned you are an environmentalist. Well, you probably know then, that animal farming is one of the major factors negatively influencing our environment. Apart from producing large quantities of CO2 and thus contributing to global warming, it produces large quantities of manure which inevitably pollutes groundwater (if you really care about dog feces polluting local rivers, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the pollution coming from animal farming). Additionally, to grow say 1kg of cow's meat requires 10 times the mass of plant source feed for the cow to consume, so all the fertilizers and pesticides sprayed on the crops also count to pollution. Whereas if you ate 1kg of plant-based food instead, 10x less fertilizers and pesticides would be required to produce it.

There are already talks and considerations about animal products becoming illegal in the future due to the environmental harm associated with their production : https://news.sky.com/story/eating-meat-could-be-made-illegal-like-smoking-in-pubs-says-top-barrister-11817681

I know you are talking specifically about milk here, but you can't separate milk industry from meat industry, they are grown for both, you probably know that too. When the cow is no longer good for milk, it goes for meat. Also, a significant part of the farmed animals' feed these days is GMO, which is not a very environmentally friendly aspect either. Furthermore - they are fed with hormones, to produce more milk, milked with mechanical gear, as a result of which pus and blood from the udders may get into the milk. The cows in industrial farms are very often sick, they are cramped there with very poor care and conditions. Having all of this in mind, their milk is a "very appealing" product. But of course, the industry holders won't tell you all that, they'll put images of healthy happy cows in vast meadows (just like the one you put as a cover image) on their milk products.

Is it even a sane idea for humans to eat other mammals’ milk in the first place? Our women have their own milk for the babies and at a certain age, its consumption naturally comes to an end. Why should then we as adults continue consuming other animal’s milk which is designed for their babies? We are the only species to exhibit such weird behavior. Even the fact that many people are able to drink milk is a result of a rather recent adaptive mutation. Lactose intolerant people are in this case more normal than those who can tolerate it, lactase (the ferment that breaks down lactose, the sugar present in mammals’, including humans, milk) becomes inactive in human babies after the mother stops breastfeeding them. To be able to consume any mammals milk further on after this, you need the ferment to be active, which requires genetic adaptation (https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190218-when-did-humans-start-drinking-cows-milk).

Then there are the ethical arguments – why torture and kill the poor animals? Why forcibly breed them into existence and then take their babies away from their moms in order to produce milk for grown-ups of our species? That’s pretty insane. We don’t have to consume animal products. Plants are more than enough for humans to not only survive but live a healthy and happy life and there’s a growing research-based evidence of the huge benefits of plant based diet, including lower rates of heart diseases, stroke, and cancer – the ones that are responsible for most human deaths. Yes, not all the microelements you can get from plants, but a few of those that you can’t, you can get from algae or microorganisms. And even if it has to be a synthetic one, is killing animals for that really a better option?

Those are all the reasons why one should “shy away” from cows’ milk. It is better for both the individuals and the environment, not to mention the cows.
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nanapublicbgosh10 months ago
Povilas S i understand this philosphical argument, and to a certain point i agree with you. however, we have been consuming milk for 20 thousand years and drinking milk isnt really that wierd when you think about it that way. it is a healthy source of many vitamins and minerals.

but besides that, my overall point in just that the milk is going to be produced whether you drink it or not. drinking milk is a matter of efficiency from an economic standpoint.
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nanapublicbgosh10 months ago
Povilas S economics and sustainability are interrelated. The more scale you have, the more efficient the process is, therefore the more sustainable it is.

The more diversity you have in product selection will create a higher price for each individual product, therefore making each product less efficient and less sustainable. This is the basic concpet of economies of scale.

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nanapublicbgosh10 months ago
Povilas S too often i hear environentalists go to regulation for all the solutions. Bill Gates and many notable scientists agree that it is actually innovation that will make any difference, not regulation.

Besides outright innovation, the second biggest element to getting to net zero carbon will be decreased consumption. Creating more products on the market such as nut milk is actually increasing the amount of consumption overall.
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Povilas S
Povilas S10 months ago
nanapublicbgosh "milk is going to be produced whether you drink it or not. drinking milk is a matter of efficiency from an economic standpoint. " Well, no. Demand drives the process. If there was no demand from the consumer side for milk, there would be no reason to produce it. Consequently - there would be no reason to breed and abuse the animals.

Plant-based milk is not really an additional product, it's an alternative product, it's meant to replace animal milk. The more society shifts towards plant alternatives, the less demand for animal products, the fewer animals will be grown for that purpose - negative environmental impact decreases as a result. The production of plant-based alternatives is far way harmless environmental wise than animal farming. I bet even if you produced 10 times as much of plant-based alternatives, the negative environmental impact would still be lower than from 10x less animal farming. You could feed the hungry in developing countries with all that excess food.

I agree that innovation is a good way of solving problems. But sometimes you just have to stop doing something harmful - like mass-scale animal farming. Plant-based alternatives are the required innovation in this case and that is only because society is so used to consuming animal products, so to satisfy the habit.
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