I love most milk. Soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk, walnut milk, rice milk, cashew milk, oat milk, and sunflower milk. Honestly, I’m a little iffy on flax milk. There’s one milk, though, that I’m definitely not a fan of - cow's milk. And it has nothing to do with the taste.
Cow's milk comes from one particular source - cows. But, how is this milk obtained from such a large, naturally free-roaming animal? The answer is through standard practices that cause an enormous amount of suffering to these animals.
In the past 80 years, factory farming has become the norm. Nearly every drop of milk consumed in the United States comes from animals kept on farms that resemble prisons more than what most would consider to be 'farms'. Why? Simply, it's cost-effective and efficient. Animal agriculture has become so incredibly efficient that every bit of meat, milk, and eggs is squeezed out, beyond natural levels. What is hardly taken into consideration is the welfare of the animals being raised for their meat, milk, and eggs.
An economist, businessperson or farmer may look at this situation as a success. A simple cost of doing business. On one hand, you have enormous animal suffering, but on the other hand you have cheap animal-based foods to feed the world with.
Fortunately, more and more people are taking the consequences of factory farming into consideration. They're making kinder choices that are making a real difference for animals. In the cow's case, they're making huge strides in reducing their suffering by simply choosing a different kind of milk.
Today, it's almost overwhelming how many plant-based milks exist on the market. When I became vegan about nine years ago, there were just a few available. Today, there are dozens of types of plant-based milks, from many different companies. Even parent companies of dairy companies have gotten on board and now offer milk made from plants! The vegan milk sector of the economy is growing by the month, with no signs of stopping. They're available at more and more grocery stores, from coast to coast, and everywhere in between.
Brands like Ripple, Oatly, and Califia Farms are changing the game. These milks are becoming mainstream. A latte made with Oatly oat milk isn't just an option, now. It's the option. If you haven’t had one, please do yourself a favor and give it a taste.
At The Humane League, we celebrate every little step taken toward a more plant-based diet. Because when plant-based foods are chosen, animals win and your health does too. Being a change maker is as simple as choosing one milk over of another. The Humane League is here to help make that even easier with our new resource, Eating Veg. Full of health tips, recipes meal plans and more to make plant-based eating simple and sustainable, it’s worth a visit. While you’re there, watch "Good For Us", a 20-minute documentary we created to explore the ins and outs of eating animals, veganism, and why choosing foods - like plant-based milks - is not just good for us, but also good for cows.