Today’s report about the banning of a vegan group’s advert linking cow’s milk to cancer recalls a recent article by Ian Potter, ‘a renowned commentator within the dairy industry’. He focusses on ‘vocal vegans’, activists attempting to convince as many people as possible that consuming milk and dairy products is not necessary, not natural, and cruel. They also proclaim the virtues and health benefits of plant based milks and, he adds. “like all zealots they refuse to listen to any balanced arguments”, using celebrities to endorse them.
He reminds those preaching the need to adopt a purely plant based diet about the thousands of counties/countries/peoples/races across the world who depend on livestock, or meat, or hunting and herding to survive, and thrive, citing Dan Murphy who charges vegan activists with, “avoiding mention, much less criticism, of the many millions of indigenous people and traditional cultures around the word that are dependent on hunting and herding for their sustenance, not to mention their very survival”. Murphy asks four questions:
- How about the Inuit tribes, the native Siberians, the Laplanders and other populations living in the Arctic regions? They’re supposed to start living on avocados, coconut milk and processed seitan, all of which are derived from crops grown thousands of miles from their homelands?
- Or what about the Maasai tribespeople living in Kenya and Tanzania? Do animal activists realize that there are upwards of 1.5 million people of that heritage living in an area that extends across some 62,000 square miles, the size of Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire — combined?
- Why such a large area? Because much of the climate in that region is semi-arid, making cultivation of conventional row crops nearly impossible, and cattle herding a necessity.
- And how about the ultimate irony, the native tribes of the Amazon Basin in South America? While animal activists (properly) decry the encroachment of those tribes’ traditional rainforest homeland, I’ve yet to hear a single one connect the reality that those who insist on vegetarian diets are encouraging substitution of animal foods with plant proteins such as soy — the cultivation of which is the reason Amazon tribes have been displaced!
Potter asks if these and other subsistence farmers are now supposed to abandon all that and listen to grandiose vegan townies sat on their backsides on comfy sofas thousands of miles away in London?
Cruelty cases fuel the vegans’ publicity because they are convinced that dairy cows are mistreated and abused. Nuffield Sponsored Scholar Tom Levitt focussed attention on the calf culling issue in an article for The Guardian, Now this comment won’t be popular, but we need to re-think the treatment of bull calves because headlines like this do nothing to promote sales of our valuable product. It’s almost inevitable that more retailers and processors will impose blanket bans on the culling of calves at birth – a month later came news that a such a process may be underway.
Ian Potter advocates a pragmatic approach
It doesn’t matter that we may not think there are ethical issues about killing bobby calves and that it is just a result of market forces, or that we don’t accept the stresses on world resources from meat production is a growing concern. Others DO care. And DO act. Greenpeace, for example, is calling for a decrease in dairy production and consumption for a healthier planet and, unless we do, they claim we are putting our health, our children’s health, and the health of our planet at risk.
Anti-dairy groups and activists are unlikely to disappear into the sunset and could explode in numbers, so it requires a total industry buy-in, because if we ignore it we will simply get bitten more frequently, harder, and in more sensitive places.
The fact is that some farmers need to wake up and smell the coffee and realise how they treat their animals, and how their farm looks to the general public are all important for the image of dairy.
Ian Potter’s article may be read here: http://www.ipaquotas.com/dairyfarmer.htm May 2018