I was leafing through the September/October issue of E Magazine, which bills itself as “The Environmental Magazine”, and after all of the consumer-scaring articles about mining, pesticides in apples, killer dust from Twin Towers cleanup and the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, and I came across an article on “ethical cheese”.

The article, The Cheese Challenge, “Ethical” Cheese is Hard to Come By, by Sara Mosko (who is obviously qualified to write about dairy cattle production as she’s a licensed psychologist and sleep disorder specialist in Southern California), discusses the evils of factory farming and even takes shot at organic farming. The point of the article is that dairy is bad, but she’s just coming at it from the cheese angle. “It turns out that suffering-free cheese is nearly impossible to come by,” she says.

Mosko’s source on the dairy industry, PETA, tips you off that this is another animal-rights-go-vegan propaganda piece. Mosko can’t even get her bovines straight when she talks about the BGH use in dairy cattle on factory farms and “then there’s the routine dosing with antibiotics to compensate for the spread of disease on giant, crowded feedlots.” I haven’t seen too many feedlots also involved in dairy and cheese production, so I’m not sure what that has to do with her argument.

According to her source, PETA, the natural lifespan of dairy cattle is 20-25 years. My sources say the upper limit is closer to 15. And I sure doubt in the wild they would make it to that age. She also discusses the fate of veal calves or the male calves that are “fattened to maturity and slaughtered.” A quote she has by PETA’s Bruce Friedrich says, “Every veal calf had a dairy cow mother, so there is a hunk of veal in every glass of milk.” Huh?  

The last paragraph promotes vegan cheese which has no animal ingredients, including animal-derived enzymes, to make the “cheese”. What confounds me about faux cheese and veggie burgers and the like is that if vegans are so against animals being used for food, why do they want to eat products that taste like products made from animals?

I’ve been on a lot of dairy farms in this country -- small, large, organic and commercial. I never saw them as factories because they were operated by families – whether they were the owners or the employees. It was human hands that cared for calves and cows on those operations. I’m not saying our livestock producers can’t do a better job in many cases, but I have seen veterinarians working hard with their producers to produce safe, wholesome food (cheese included!) in the best manner possible.

And with the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wis. starting in several days, all I can say is, bring on the cheese!

Read E Magazine’s full article here.