Practical Issues > Health - Index > Vegan Index
I Just can't give Up Cheese

by Ellie Israel

I recently spoke with a man who was born in India to devout Hindu parents. Despite their fervent belief that animals have souls and should not be eaten they felt that it was necessary for his personal beliefs to be shaped by his own conclusions. So, when he was old enough to make that decision, his father took him to a slaughter house where he witnessed a baby goat being killed in front of the mother. He said the mother cried like a human and that is what made him choose to be a vegetarian.

Many people have chosen to be vegetarian for humane reasons. Yet, dairy cows react the same way that mother goat did when their babies are taken from them. They cry and bellow for days. Male calves, who are taken to a veal farm within hours of their birth, cry so much for their mother their throats become raw. Their suffering ends soon, however, after standing their entire, albeit short life, tethered in a dark stall and fed an iron deficient diet so their flesh will be tender and sold for veal. Subjected to total sensory deprivation, 20% of veal calves will die before reaching the typical slaughter age of 16 weeks.

Female calves are doomed to a life of horror that consists of being milked for 10 months out of the year, including seven months of each consecutive pregnancies. Two or three times a day, seven days a week she will be attached to an electric milking machine. Under normal conditions, a cow can live up to 25 years. A dairy cow, however, will survive a mere four years before she will beloaded onto a crowded truck, sometimes by a forklift because she is too weak and sick to stand, and driven to her final destination - the slaughterhouse.

So, forgive me if I can't commiserate with those who say, "I just can't give up cheese". Eliminating dairy from your diet pales in comparison to what a dairy cow is forced to give up over and over again.

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