Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Cows?


You've heard the advertisement about happy cows in California, well I am not convinced. After our recent road trip and many hours observing the dairy cows along 99 between Bakersfield and Stockton I would like to say,
Really?
The thermometer read 106 and there were cows standing around in small dirty pens with no shade whatsoever. Ok some of the pens had a little shade but not enough for the many cows packed into that pen so a group would be huddled together trying to create what shade they could with their bodies. At least I think that's what they were doing. Farm after farm I didn't see one happy dairy cow. It broke my heart. Maybe cows don't need shade...maybe there is something I don't know about cows. Maybe cows like to live in their own waste and stink with not a blade of grass to munch on. Maybe they like the hot sun beating down on their black backs. I don't know but I do know it made me uncomfortable that thousands of people pass by these farms every day and most don't even care.

That is where your milk comes from.

Cora Belle gave tons of sweet fresh clean milk this year and while we aren't huge milk drinkers we do like an occasional bowl of cereal and a glass with a sweet treat.
My suburb raised hubby was well on board with the drinking of goat's milk when all of a sudden he stopped. Puzzled I asked him why. Well apparently he had watched a news story about someone getting sick on raw goat's milk and it grossed him out a bit...we've all been there. I, being the diplomatic person that I am, told him that was stupid. I told him that people get sick on pasteurized cow's milk but it's not newsworthy so you don't hear about it. I told him he would die if he knew where his Costco milk came from. He agreed but still couldn't get over it so I gave up and dried Cora Belle off so I could travel a bit this summer and not get anyone that knows how to milk to milk her.

So as we drove home last week and passed farm after farm of cows in these kind of conditions, we remarked on the poor cows standing in the heat. We didn't see one dairy farm where the cows were out on pasture like the ads on television.
While passing a particularly bad farm I pointed to it and said,
"I would like to take this opportunity to point out to you that THIS is where your milk comes from."

His reply- "When does Alice wean her kids so we can start drinking goat's milk again?"

13 comments:

~Tonia said...

Thats great that you were able to point out the difference! I tell people I KNOW where my milk comes from and what goes into it..
I dont need a TV ad to mislead me.. Of course the Dairy industry is so against us small time people and raising our own that any little thing like some one Possibly getting sick from raw milk is blown WAY out of Proportion to use as a scare tactic. I HATE Scare tactics!
Glad he is ready to drink good milk again...

Heather said...

I thought I was the only one who felt sorry for cows!...mostly because I drive by them and think they look so bored :) The poor hot Cali cows.

Feral Female said...

Nicely said! We here on the hillside farm know exactly where our milk comes from-our goats.

Cathy said...

According to our favorite custom farm-kill butcher, you are more likely to get sick from federally inspected packing plants than you are from your own farm raised & butchered animals.
I am much happier knowing where my milk source lives, what it eats, and how the milk has been handled. If need be, you can pasteurize your own milk to make your husband more at ease.
I know there are some farms that are certified Humane as well as organic. You might check that out if you don't have access to your own cow or goat.

Marigold said...

Oy. Poor Cows. They probably don't get any Peanuts either.

Clare said...

Let's hope those were commercial farms you saw and not the organic farms.... I grew up on a dairy in the 50's and 60's, where we rotated the pasture grazing for the cows... there's nothing better than fresh, raw cow's milk from happy pastured cows.

Makes me want to become a dairy cow rescue woman.

Kelly said...

exactly! That is why we love goats milk. I know how clean the girls are, how healthy they are and they are spoiled rotten. Just the way we like them. I too feel sad for those "happy cows". Support your local dairy farmer. The media really goes out of their way to scare people about unpasturized milk. I guess the rest of the world must have died off from drinking unpasturized goats milk.

Brenda said...

Well said! I also like knowing where my milk comes from and how fresh it is when I pull it out of the fridge for a nice sweet glass full. My goats are clean, healthy and spoiled too... and they spoil me with their wonderful milk!

Anonymous said...

I so agree!! I drank milk straight from my Grandpa's farm almost my whole life. Guess what? I was one of the healthest kids around, so were my brothers. It's big business at it's best trying to get gov'mt to pass crap laws that are based on bogus information. I'm in Wisconsin, where all those so called "sad" cows are... the ones on the family farm down the road have a beautiful pasture with, TREES, yes shade trees, and warm barns they rest in in the winter. I finally found a source for "real" eggs - I'm a happy camper...now for some dairy. :)

edenhills said...

I really would love to be in a position to milk year round. I hate the way dairy cows are treated. They dock their tales! I can hardly wait to wean Millie's babies to start milking again. Glad you convinced the hubby with your diplomacy.

Spring Lake Farm said...

The phrase "ignorance is bliss" keeps coming to mind, especially when it comes to buying food at the store. But as soon as you start researching where the food comes from and what's involved in commercially raising that food it becomes more difficult to make those same decisions. Unfortunately some people don't mind living in blissful ignorance. I'm glad your hubby isn't one of them!

Sandy

Amy Lagerquist said...

Oh, boy. There's a massive dairy on Highway 24 outside of Yakima that my husband and I passed by in May. I wanted to cry when I saw all those cattle packed into the dirt paddocks. Disgusting. We talked about it for days after, the images burned in our minds.

goatgirl said...

I love it when so many people agree with me:)
I just separated Buttons from her still nursing doe kid. We will have milk in the morning!