One problem that's also overlooked is the conditions of animals in the large factory farms, as small, local, family dairies go under. It's so terrible. We neglect that these are actual sentient living creatures. In the factory ethos that develops for efficiency and price competition, besides the hormones and antibiotics becoming justified, the animals themselves are even more objectified and abused. I find this really disgusting--they're treated as if inanimate objects when they share a vast quantity of our own DNA and are actually intelligent sensitive creatures. Unfortunately the slick marketing of the large factory farms is effective at confusing people and leading them to believe they're buying responsibly, when they're not. The best way I can see for a consumer who chooses to buy dairy products in the U.S. is to look for a local Hare Krishna-run facility, in which cow protection is taken seriously as a top priority, and the animals aren't killed, left in concrete warehouses or mistreated. It's a real shame that it's so ridiculously difficult for regular consumers to simply do the right thing here today, but unfortunately that's where we are. Aside from the hormones, pasteurization, etc., the quality of life and contentment of the animal itself has to factor into the equation, and impact on what you're getting if nothing else. We're using this animal's milk, as a mother gives to her child--as we give our own children from our own bodies. That's something very intimate, nurturing, and loving. I think this is something that demands no less than a respectful relationship of gratitude and care for the animals involved. Anything less is really atrocious--almost like a form of rape. The least we can do is show the respect and gratitude to these animals to ensure that they're treated with kindness and compassion and that they are comfortable and at peace. I don't know how people could not feel creepy and icky about themselves doing otherwise.
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