I need to address the above posts.
Have either of you been to a working dairy farm? Do either of you actually know what goes on there, and how much work it is?
First off, how is milking a cow harmful? The calf does it. We just figured out a way to use machines to make the same suction, to get milk out.
The calves still get all the first nutrients they need from the cow, then still get milk after (in a bucket) instead of having "free for all" access. No harm comes to the calves being weaned that early, since they are still getting milk. So, we are NOT stealing milk from the calves.
The cows benefit from being milked, as the calves can't always drink what they have to offer, which can lead to mastitis (sp).
And what happens to the male calves? What happens to the dairy cows when they're too old (do they get too old)? I don't imagine they all just go to the paddock and have a lovely retirement.
I was under the impression that all the cows eventually end up in slaughter - I guess the dairy ones are just used for a while first. I also thought that the calves were often sold very young as veal. To me, buying and consuming milk is still contributing to the beef industry in this way.
I also was under the impression that many (although certainly not all) farms use a hormone therapy to significantly increase the amount of milk produced by a cow, and also milk them much more intensively than they would be naturally, and I was under the impression that this was known to contribute to mastitis. And of course, naturally, a cow's milk supply would dry up as her calf grew. Different people have different opinions about what is right and wrong and I totally accept that and am not trying to change your mind, or anyone elses, but I don't think its right to constantly keep an animal pregnant and lactating until its usefulness is up and then kill it. I wouldn't breed a horse every year, or a human, I think its too much a strain on any animal, and I have heard that dairy cows can have health problems, and go lame, from excessive breeding and confinement.
No, I don't know a lot about a dairy farm, I don't hang out at them and I know that not all dairy farms are the same, but there are lots of things that I don't have first hand experience with and that I still have opinions about, and that doesn't make them any less valid. I know there are plenty out there that offer a pleasant life to their animals but I don't believe all do. I know that in Australia you can buy milk from farms that don't use hormones and that are sort of "ethical" farms. I'm sure farmers work extremely hard for their living.
Each person has a different line of what they think is wrong and right and to me habitually having another creatures milk when there are plenty of alternatives isn't right.