Garrick Ravi and I went on a dairy farm tour with my moms’ group recently. It was very interesting. We got to see the cows, and the pregnant cows, and the baby cows. We pet a bunch of baby cows too.
The tour guide was telling us about the farm and mentioned something that surprised me. I mean, it makes sense but I never thought of it before.
In order to be classified as “organic” milk, the cows cannot be given antibiotics. Which is usually a good thing. We struggle with cows being pumped full of medicine they don’t need. But what about when they do need it? This tour guide claimed that when the cows are sick, they can’t be given medicine. Those organic farms would lose their “organic” classification if they treated the sick cows. So they let them die instead.
She said that the higher cost for organic milk is because of the cost of replacing cows that die. Now, this tour guide certainly has a bias. Their farm is not considered organic. (Though they certainly seem to treat their cows very well). They do take care of their cows and give them antibiotics if they are sick and need them.
This information is changing my perception of organic milk. I am so used to thinking of organic as always better. But there are consequences that I haven’t thought through and it distresses me to think that organic might not be better for the poor cows.
So I did some reading and it sounds like what she told us is true, although it sounds like it is possible for there to be exceptions for illness.
I’m glad that we went on the tour. Not only did I learn this important information, but I had the chance to see how the cows are treated at a place that sells milk. In other words, I can get my milk from a place where I have seen that the cows are happy and well treated. I’m glad that I have that opportunity.
They also provide milk in glass bottles, helping me in my quest for as little waste as possible and helping the environment. It’s not as perfect as getting milk from one’s own cow in the back yard but it might be the next best thing for those of us who can’t be farmers for whatever reason!
I definitely recommend finding out about tours of your local farms. It is reassuring to know where your food comes from and it’s good for kids to make that connection between their food and the people and animals who provide it.
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(views expressed here are mine alone and do not reflect opinions of my supporters. Links within the text may be affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something I get a small commission for recommending it. I only recommend things I truly believe in)