Did you know that the animal protein in milk and other dairy products actually leaches calcium from the bones? It is merely a for-profit myth that milk is the best source of calcium for humans, or that it's good for us at all.
The image of a man suckling a cow is pretty comical, but the fact is that the dire impact of dairy products on human health is no laughing matter, either.
Don't Cows Need to Be Milked?
Like all mammals, cows only produce milk to feed their young. If they don't have babies to feed, they don't make milk. To keep them lactating, cows on dairy farms are artificially inseminated once a year (they carry their babies for 9 months), in a traumatic procedure that often involves constraining cows in a device known by the industry as a "rape rack," and forcibly inserting semen through both her rectum and vagina into her uterus.
Isn't Milk Important to Good Health?
That's Calcium. Not Cowcium.
Human beings are the only animals to routinely consume the mammary gland secretions of another species. We have no biological or nutritional need for any breast milk past infancy-much less the breast milk of another species. Though the facts on milk tend to get whitewashed, the truth is that cow's milk is only nature's perfect food if you're a baby cow. Mother's milk is species specific.
Despite what the dairy industry would have you believe, cows' milk is not the only source of calcium; and it certainly isn't the best source. In fact, the calcium in cows' milk? Plants. Cows get calcium from plants. Guess what, so can we!
25 PLANT-BASED SOURCES OF CALCIUM:
1. Kale (1 cup contains 180 mg)
2. Collard Greens (1 cup contains over 350 mg)
3. Blackstrap Molasses (2 tablespoons contains 400 mg)
4. Tempeh (1 cup contains 215 mg)
5. Turnip Greens (1 cup contains 250 mg)
6. Fortified non-dairy milk (1 cup contains 200-300 mg)
7. Hemp milk (1 cup contains 460 mg)
8. Fortified orange juice (1 cup contains 300 mg)
9. Tahini (2 tablespoons contains 130 mg)
10. Almond butter (2 tablespoons contains 85 mg)
11. Great northern beans (1 cup contains 120 mg)
12. Soybeans (1 cup contains 175 mg)
13. Broccoli (1 cup contains 95 mg)
14. Raw fennel (1 medium bulb contains 115 mg)
15. Blackberries (1 cup contains 40 mg)
16. Black Currants (1 cup contains 62 mg)
17. Oranges (1 orange contains between 50 and 60 mg)
18. Dried apricots (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
19. Figs (1/2 cup contains 120 mg)
20. Dates (1/2 cup contains 35 mg)
21. Artichoke (1 medium artichoke contains 55 mg)
22. Roasted sesame seeds (1 oz. contains 35 mg)
23. Adzuki beans (1 cup contains 65 mg)
24. Navy beans (1 cup contains 125 mg)
25. Amaranth (1 cup contains 275 mg)
How many times do we justify our behavior based on the illogical premise that history somehow makes it right and assures its ethical legitimacy into the future? In fact, throughout history influential leaders and thinkers have used this same troubled logic to defend slavery, genocide, the oppression of women, racism, and discrimination based on a whole host of irrelevant criteria including sexual orientation, religion, color and now it's species.
I find this interpretation of history and evolution to be one of the most common "apologies" let's use the right word here 'excuses' for eating animal protein I hear time and time again. From my personal point of view? I see it as just another way to avoid honestly confronting the moral issue of using and killing animals for food in an age when it is not necessary, never been necessary when it comes right down to it. Some actually sympathize with the position of vegans and vegetarians, yet still default to this argument which explains perhaps why 95% of us continue to blindly follow the cultural norms ingrained and reinforced in us since childhood.
Since being effected by my own life threatening health issues I have became open to taking a critical look at what I had been taught, this modern myth of humans evolving to eat meat the way we do.
It can be challenged on several levels. Here are a few of them:
Do we not believe ourselves to be highly evolved moral beings, averse to violence and suffering?
To paraphrase James McWilliams:
If evolution teaches us anything at all, doesn't it teach us that our moral consciousness and emotional intelligence is a result of highly developed areas of our brain that affords us these faculties? Are we not the only mammals on this planet that can intentionally structure the patterns of our lives according to a basic set of self-aware moral ideals? Guess what. This ability, which is generally premised on reducing unnecessary pain and suffering, happens to be the foundation of human civilization.
That is why we can convince ourselves of anything and find reason to continue believing it.
Ironically the idea that humans have somehow evolved to eat meat stands in stark contrast to the evolutionary and ethical theory of one of the greatest scientific minds who ever lived, Albert Einstein. Einstein argued that humankind would need to evolve to vegetarianism to essentially save himself and the planet. "Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances for survival of life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."
This from a man wise beyond his years! And where are we today? Exactly where he said we'd be.
Shouldn't so called progressives should think progressively about animals too?
Even more ironic is how we as the progressive-minded people we believe ourselves to be continue to support the oppressive forces in our society with our eating habits, (well former eating habits for me) The same forces that they have adamant and spiritual beliefs in; the kind of media and entertainment we seek, in the sort of books and magazines we read, etc. Although the oppression of animals still remains unexamined for most progressives, and our diets perpetuate a deep denial of this oppression I have to admit this recalcitrance appears to be softening with more "anti-vegan" now on the vegan path..
In the words of Victor Hugo, "There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. In this I believe him to be right and combined with Einstein's "prediction" it would appear in all likelihood that we are standing on the precipice when the tyranny of history is about to be dealt yet another serious blow. More and more we see the vegan/animal rights movement continue to gain momentum, and our deplorable and largely unchallenged legacy of treating animals as property, currency, objects and cheap, disposable pieces of meat is coming under greater scrutiny more than ever before. This makes the infamous statement, "man has evolved to eat meat," seem even more hopelessly out-of-touch and reactionary, and reveals an attitude that clings desperately to the past and fears change, doesn't it?
Don't get me wrong I like my meat just as much as the next person and from time to time; far fewer and less frequently than I use to, I enjoy a piece of roast chicken or beef or pork. But where I get mine from is strictly organic and they are not abused or mistreated in any way.