The Dairy Farmers of Canada have launched yet another multimedia campaign, “Milk. It’s in the stuff you love”, this time aimed at Millennial and Gen-Z consumers. This amidst a decline in dairy consumption in Canadians, especially in younger generations, and growing awareness of the health, environmental and animal welfare issues associated with dairy.
Dairy has been shown to contribute to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease and studies have linked dairy to an increased risk of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers. Research has also shown that dairy products have little or no benefit for bone health. Let’s not forget that the Dairy Farmers of Canada were forced to remove ads from their earlier campaign falsely claiming milk does not contain growth hormones. What’s more, approximately 65% of the human population are lactose intolerant after infancy.
Studies also show that dairy production has dire consequences for climate change and the environment, through the emission of greenhouse gases and land, water and air pollution. According to scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet, “avoiding dairy (and meat) is the single best way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet”.
And there’s no denying that the production of dairy also causes immense suffering to animals. In Canada, the majority of dairy cows are permanently chained indoors, unable to perform behaviours essential to their well-being. Cows only produce milk when pregnant, so they are repeatedly impregnated and their calves forcibly removed from them. Calves live in isolation for months and then males are used for veal and females put back into the dairy system. At 4 or 5 years old, dairy cow’s overworked and weakened bodies produce less milk so they are sent to slaughter.
The good news is that there are now, more than ever, a plethora of delicious plant-based alternatives to dairy-based cheese, yoghurt, ice cream and milk readily available in Canada, including some amazing Canadian-created products such as Nuts for Cheese, Zengarry, Blue Heron and Daiya. So don’t let the Dairy Farmer’s “emotional appeal” ads fool you – there is nothing appealing about dairy. There is no better time than the present to ditch dairy, for your health, the environment and animals!
It is also time for the Canadian government to make the necessary modifications to food labelling regulations that prohibit using the terms “cheese” or “milk” unless a product is dairy-based. This is completely out of line with the way consumers think and refer to these foods and it is time that labelling allow products to be labelled as “cashew cheese” or “soy milk” and end the discrimination against plant-based foods.
*Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur – WeAnimals Media