March 2, 2018 by Rua Lupa
The Milk Industry is making a splash lately with how Millennials have ended up bring back Milk Couriers. Great news for those who love sustainability. Unfortunately many members of the public have taken this news and decided to damn the milk industry all together, citing many things that are indeed harmful practices.
Yes, there are plenty of sound reasons for boycotting milk, but
a) Dairy production as we see it today, was not like this for most of dairy history – being what we today would consider humane; Something many farmers are returning to, and
b) Dairy as a food product arose for survival and to thrive in winter climates. Where it is simply not feasible to live off of plants year round.
Not to mention if successful in boycotting milk all together, will eventually lead to the extinction milk cattle. So there is that to consider.
Dairy Cattle Origins
We have had domestic cattle for since at least the early neolithic age ~12,000 years ago, and throughout most of that time cattle were not mistreated in such a way – being your survival go to for much of your winter staples – meat & milk. So they were not being subjected to specialized demand.
For the most part, that meant they were kept as a herd outside, breeding, and rearing naturally. Cattle moved with humans nomadicly, were protected from predators, gaining increased access to the best grazing, and had their ailments treated.
Eventually, when humans became more settled in one location and to encourage survival rates, we moved them in buildings with us, then they had their own buildings. Dairy consumption from a family’s herd was only done for themselves and local community – more-or-less what we today would call a cottage industry.
Only in the 18th century during the industrial revolution did cattle see a shift to what we commonly see as the industry standard for dairy today. But that does not mean it is here to stay…
Dairy For Today
To say, “Dairy Is Bad, Do Not Come Near It Whatsoever!” and promote a complete boycott is damaging. Because all you end up doing is creating an US versus THEM, and people who enjoy milk will simply disregard you all together and things will continue “business as usual”. Not a good way to stop what you do not like about the industry.
It is more productive to support those with the best practices, promoting an approachable direction for improvement, while boycotting those with the worst practices.
Putting pressure on an industry this way, and continuing the process of choosing the best option, whenever we can, will eventually make the entire industry more ideal.
Currently many small farms are becoming sought for and successful as a response to the undesirable features of industrial farming. And Milk Couriers are a direct benefactor of that since they can only work within a certain radius of the farm their milk comes from. In other words, Milk Couriers benefit and encourage more, small, local dairy farms.
As for the milk businesses that continue to encourage going with plastic containers and telling the public to recycle. This is a common tactic to avert responsibility for the end results of their product. Yes, it is more expensive for the business on the front end, so prices should reflect that and eventually will be more cost effective. But it is more environmentally expensive to promote oil based, single use, containers. Costs that are not accounted for in the price tag.
Alternatives to Dairy
For those who are adamant about going completely dairy (and usually meat) free, a major thing to consider is that Access and Affordability are things that affect decision making on the subject.
If you live in a cold climate, where fresh produce is unable to be grown, and incredibly expensive to ship, non dairy, non meat sources of protein are frankly not a feasible option. No matter how much you believe it is better to be vegetarian or vegan – it is not going to be considered by a pretty large segment of humanity for that reason alone. And for those who do believe as you do, cannot commit – less they end up malnourished and/or bankrupt for an ideal.
Not only are the touted sustainable alternatives inaccessible to a lot of people, but also have their own consequences – most simply is where it comes from and how it gets to you.
For example, Soy farming has and continues to destroy habitat of endangered species, and ecosystems. Along with farming practices that do not uphold human rights for those who work the farms, and push out small farms and indigenous peoples – yes the people that are the most prominent example of living most harmoniously within Nature are suffering as a direct result of Meat / Dairy Alternative food choices.
Then there is the consideration of the unaccounted for impacts of simply transporting that good overseas to you, and how it is packaged…
So before claiming there is only one good solution, consider whether or not it is simply too good to be true. And remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good. So if people are going to be drinking milk, then doing so via Milk Courier is pretty well the best option.