Guest blog by Lexi Purrington
When I first found out I was pregnant I went through a lot of emotions. Fear, excitement, disbelief, and amazement to name a few. I began getting morning sickness in the next few weeks to come, craved things I’d never liked before, tossed and turned after getting back to sleep the 4th time after using the bathroom, and became a cranky, sleepy, needy mess. The first trimester was extremely trying for me, and I couldn’t quite understand how so many people did this, so very often. The second trimester was a breeze, morning sickness was alleviated, I didn’t have to take two hour naps everyday, and I had energy again.
The third trimester came and it hit me. I was going to be a mother. I was going to be somebody’s caretaker, provider, and most of all, protector. For life. I was devoted to somebody I had never met but knew so well. I was going to do the best job I possibly could. Because it’s my instinct, because he’s helpless, because he’s my child, and because I already love him more than I could ever explain. I chose to bring him into this world, and I am beyond lucky to live in a place where I can do that safely. I get to bring him home, feed him from my body, cuddle him, soothe him, bathe him, and watch him grow. I would do anything for him as his mother. Just as any animal would.
And yet, people continue eating and drinking dairy products every single day, thinking it is a harmless by-product. When in fact, once educated on the matter, it becomes quite clear that: dairy is a gruesome, horrific, and unnecessary commodification of motherhood.
Cows have been subjected to a cruelty we as humans could never understand. They live a constant nightmare on dairy farms.
Most people don’t realize that in order to get milk you must first impregnate a cow. They are then pregnant for 9 months. Cows bond with their sons/daughters while inside the womb and (without our intervention) maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship. All exactly like us.
Male calves born in the dairy industry are considered useless. The day they are born they are immediately taken away from their mothers and sent off to veal farms. Kept in a dark, cramped, crate no more than 30 inches wide and 72 inches long. The crates are designed to be extremely small to ensure the “meat” is tender by prohibiting normal muscle growth. They are kept alive for 12-23 weeks until being transported and sent to slaughter. Female calves are either killed on the spot or kept at the dairy farm (separated from their mothers) and used as milk machines for the rest of their lives until their bodies wear out.
A lot of people picture dairy farms as just that, a farm. When in fact, it’s more like a factory. The industry views these animals as numbers, objects, and profit — and they are treated as such. But, these sentient beings are not machines. They are living, breathing, peaceful animals who crave the same things we do: love, happiness, and most of all, freedom.
I’m now eight months pregnant and feel for these mothers now more than ever. Not only are we taking such a natural, beautiful thing away from these innocent beings, once you look at the big picture it begins to get even stranger: humans are the only species who drinks milk beyond infancy. The dairy industry has done such a great job convincing us that we need milk in order to have strong bones and good teeth that we’ve forgotten we don’t actually have any use for it at all. Having studied nutrition for years now, I have come to realize how many other alternatives and sources of these nutrients there are. Fortified almond, soy, cashew, rice, hemp, and coconut milks contain the equivalent of calcium found in cows milk. And funny enough, the only reason dairy products contain calcium at all is because the cows are fed plant sources containing it. We are so fortunate to have so many powerful choices, options, and so much room to grow and evolve as a species. I think we can all agree it’s time to retire dairy. For our health, for the earth, and most importantly for the forgotten mothers and babies of this hidden horror.
Lexi Purrington is a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and a mom-to-be.
She can be contacted via email, here: firstname.lastname@example.org