From IS DAIRY THE NEW TOBACCO? by Gene Baur
For decades, billions of tax dollars have gone into the dairy industry. Campaign contributions from agribusiness influences politicians to misuse government resources to keep dairy farmers in business while demand for dairy has dropped. Hundreds of millions of pounds of cheese and butter sit in reserve, and millions of pounds of milk are being spilled onto fields.
American families are mislead to believe that cows’ milk is good. Cows’ milk is for baby calves, not humans. We can live well and obtain all the nutrients we need, including calcium, without consuming dairy or other animal products.
Exploiting animals for food requires vast quantities of corn, soy, and other crops to feed them. Animal agriculture is a leading cause of most environmental threats: depletion of water and other precious resources, destruction of rainforests and natural ecosystems, the earth’s loss of biodiversity, and climate change.
Large-scale factory-farm operations produce enormous quantities of manure which is spread on fields, contaminating the land, water, and air. The health and quality of life of the people living nearby is diminished. Property values drop because of the foul odors and toxic emissions. Sullied groundwater leaches into streams, polluting drinking water and contributes to fish kills.
Health risks are exacerbated by the indiscriminate use of antibiotics on factory farms, which causes antibiotic-resistant pathogens. These present risks to consumers who eat contaminated food, and in the environment where antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been found in groundwater. Formerly life-saving drugs become useless.
For decades, American schoolchildren have had cows’ milk foisted on them, along with artery-clogging cheese and other fat-laden animal products causing obesity and heart disease.
Lawmakers are quick to speak against tobacco subsidies. Yet they overlook the fact that billions of taxpayer dollars are used to support an industry that costs billions of dollars in health problems.
Consumers are getting the message - the marketplace is adjusting. Demand for plant-based milks is expanding, and the consumption of cows’ milk is decreasing. Federal food policy should support and encourage this trend. The tobacco industry had to make adjustments, so too should the dairy industry.