In an effort to promote the consumption of dairy products, the dairy industry has dubbed June “National Dairy Month”. But with milk consumption steadily declining in Canada and more people embracing healthier, humane and less resource-intensive dairy alternatives, we prefer to celebrate June as “National Dairy-Free Month”.
In the last few years the variety of dairy-free products on grocery store shelves has grown significantly, including almond, soy, coconut, pea and oat milks and creamers and dairy-free butters, sour cream, cheeses, ice creams and yogurts.
A number of factors have contributed to the growing demand for dairy alternatives, including increased public awareness of both animal welfare and environmental issues related to the dairy industry, as well as a growing body of scientific evidence that questions the industry’s health claims.
Take the Chilliwack Cattle Sales cruelty case as an example. Chilliwack Cattle Sales is one of Canada’s largest dairy farms and a major supplier to Dairyland. In 2014 an undercover investigation revealed horrendous acts of animal cruelty taking place on the farm. While the farm’s owners claimed to have no knowledge of the abuse and suggested it was not reflective of their company’s standards, the undercover investigator repeatedly reported concerns to the owners and no corrective action was taken. In addition, a lawyer for one of the workers charged painted a picture of a “toxic” work culture at Chilliwack Cattle Sales and the same farm had also previously been investigated for animal welfare issues back in 2008.
Time and again, undercover investigations have shed light on what is a systemic culture of cruelty within today’s animal agriculture industry. Meanwhile, animal welfare is routinely compromised through standard practices in dairy farming. B.C. Milk Marketing Board inspection documents over an 18-month period revealed that one in four farms in the province failed to comply with the provincial animal-welfare Code of Practice. Starting in January, 2015, the inspections revealed cases of overcrowding, lame or soiled cattle, tails torn off by machinery, branding and dehorning of calves without pain medication, and cows lying on concrete. 20 of 73 farms, or 27 per cent, required “corrective action” after on-site inspections. About 10 per cent were still not compliant on a follow-up inspection. Another inherent issue with this industry is the separation of dairy calves from their mothers in order to collect the milk for human consumption.
It’s no wonder that consumers are increasingly dropping dairy and instead opting for alternatives. So, in honour of “National Dairy-Free Month”, we’d like to highlight just a few of our favourite dairy alternatives:
Milks & Creamers