I used to eat meat from animals and products from them, like milk, cheese and eggs. And then I worked 2 horrifying shifts as a dairy milker at a 130 head dairy farm and saw up close and personal what happens to cows on an industrial farm. Dairy cows live their whole lives in concrete barns, eating, pooping, and giving birth to beautiful calves who are taken from them after just 4 days so that they can maintain milk production that sometimes exceeds 32 litres per day.
With the new market for bovine colostrum (a new “miracle cure” for dogs) this 4 day mother and calf time is no longer written in stone and calves may be taken from their mothers after just a few hours. It’s not like the cows and calves don’t mourn each other’s loss. From what I saw, the new moms are obviously sad and call out repeatedly when their bawling calves are taken from them. It’s no wonder that many dairy cows were afraid of the milkers. Cows that don’t fully cooperate are bad cows and are sold at auction. I was horrified at the was these animals have been turned from a family milk cow into a cog in a big industrial machine.
Plant based Milk Uses Fewer Resources than Dairy
According to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario, a single dairy cow needs to eat about 30 lbs of food per day. And a cow has to drink 80 to 180 litres of water every single day. Many more litres of fresh water is needed to hose their semi liquid poop from the barns and milking parlour. Multiply those numbers by 130 and that’s 3900 lbs of food and 10400 to 23400 of water to make a measly 3900 litres of milk per day. Never mind the fuel and energy used to run a dairy farm- That is still a lot of environmental resources that are going toward when humans don’t need cows milk to thrive. Here is a link to the Dairy Farmers of Ontario website: https://www.milk.org/corporate/view.aspx?content=Faq/DairyCattle
Plant based milk vs dairy milk: Which uses more resources.
My friend argues that plant based milk uses more resources than dairy milk. Plant based milks can be delicious, good for the environment, AND grown right here in Canada. This is a big one for me: We really need to try to buy Canadian products grown by Canadian farmers, especially in these uncertain economic times..
*Data from BBC Science Focus Magazine
- Emissions (kg) = .63
- Land Use (square metre)= 1.79
- Water (litre)= 125.62
- Emissions (kg)= .18
- Land Use (square metre)= .15
- Water (litre)= 9.65
- Emissions (kg) = 0.14
- Land use (square metre) = 0.1
- Water (litre) = 74.3
- Emissions (kg) = 0.2
- Land use (square metre) = 0.13
- Water (litre) = 5.6
Plant Based Diet for a Better Planet
I realized that if I wanted to reduce my own impact on this beautiful planet, and help save a bunch of cows and other farm animals from living a miserable life I would need to change my eating habits. I cut out meat and dairy and soon wanted to try a cholesterol free existence, so I also cut eggs out of my diet. The health results? My blood pressure dropped, my cholesterol levels are very low, my energy levels are about the same as ever, and there is still no sign of the diabetes that runs in my family. So far so good.
The Plant Based Recipes
Here are some great plant based recipes that I know you’ll enjoy, whether you are a hard core vegan or someone who just wants to try some plant based recipes that don’t include animal products. I hope you’ll find you don’t need to eat animals to enjoy a fantastic and varied diet. I’m new to publishing recipes, so we’ll start with something easy, yet, oh so yummy.
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