Are You Really Happy, Madame la Vache (Ms Cow)?

I love milk. Milk doesn’t love me at all.

A few years ago, I tried to drink powdered skimmed milk. I liked it and it liked me.

Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s more like a pale reflection of milk than real milk. It’s white but it barely smells like milk and I’d even say it doesn’t taste like milk if I had any idea of what real milk tastes like.

I buy it in metal containers. Very nice looking and decorated. Like a meadow in the spring... and a friendly jug of milk.

Then there is this odd label that says: ‘Skimmed milk from committed dairy farms - Dairy quality control.’

What is a committed dairy farm? I’ve heard stories about politically committed writers. Other stories about organic dairy farms. But a committed dairy farm?

Every morning, depending on whether or not I was in a hurry, I would notice the label: ‘committed dairy farm’. I would wonder about its meaning and then I’d forget all about it.

Then a few months ago, they started selling powdered organic skimmed milk which by the way, is totally unfit to drink. It simply doesn’t dissolve in water. Big problem there.

So a ‘committed dairy farm’ was not an organic dairy farm. Good point.

Yesterday and only yesterday (I’m kind of slow), I turned the container around only to discover in very small print what ‘Skimmed milk from committed dairy farms - Dairy quality control' means.

Are you ready, people? After a lot of blah, blah, blah about ‘Bureau Veritas Group’ which keeps an eye on the dairy farms (that’s what they say), they go on telling you all about the dairy farmers this brand works with.

I know you’ll be happy to learn that they are good people. They breed their dairy cows even better than ‘Bureau Veritas Group’ asks for. They always care for the well-being of their cows. They feed them well, using mainly silage. (No risk of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy there.) The food is well-balanced. Question mark there, I know...

(My grandfather’s cows spent their life in green and lush pastures. In wintertime, they ate hay from the farm fields. Was their food well-balanced? They lived a long time too, up to 20 years.)

A few lines later, there it comes:

‘The cows are happy and healthy whether they are in a pasture or in a cowshed where they enjoy clean and comfy accommodations.’

Madame la Vache, are you really happy?

I have no cow to talk to so where did I find an answer?  Wikipedia, of course.

Being a dairy cow is obviously not much fun even if the dairy farmer is a good man.

It’s probably much better than being bred for food as soon as you are born though. But one never knows what can happen in our consumer society.

Ask any cow now.

She’ll tell you.

‘‘My name is Alice. And I'm a dairy cow. As soon as I turned 1 year old, I was inseminated (artificially of course). Nine months later, my calf was born. We were separated very quickly because the farmer knew that within three days, I  would be bonding with him... (It was a ‘he’. He gets a minimal chance to grow up and to become a breeding bull after all.)

I know that I have to keep producing calves in order to maintain high milk production.

Will I live long enough to be pensioned off? In a nice green pasture with other old cows, ruminating our days away?

My friend Cora who had turned 4 this spring was removed from our dairy herd last week. They say she has been marketed for beef. Beef? But she was a happy dairy cow, wasn’t she?’

My name is Mammodouy. Will I drink milk again? From ‘committed dairy farms’? Good question.

Life before Wikipedia was so nice. Those were times when children knew from the day they were born that milk somehow was grown in bottles. Happy times.

*Good Luck, and Good Night* and a Happy New Year to all of you

1 comment:

Myrna said...

I knew that it was a good idea not to like milk! Yes, I don't think the life of a cow is very happy anymore.