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Gratitude For Our Food – Cows

Written by Kampung Senang. Jan 12 2022

Food is so easy to find nowadays in Singapore, with supermarkets, mini-marts, hawker centres, and restaurants almost everywhere we turn, not to mention all the food delivery options we have. But actually, food is not easy for those who grow the food, as everyone knows who ever tried even something as simple as growing herbs in a little growing pot in their kitchen. Therefore. we should express our gratitude to the farmers who work under the hot sun, whose bodies unwillingly provide food for insects, and who bear with the droughts, floods, plant diseases and other unforeseen disasters that can wipe out months of their hard work.

Farmers are not the only ones who suffer to bring us our so-easy-to-find food. What about the animals from whom we get meat, eggs and milk? They die so that we can eat.Let’s take a deep dive into the cow’s milk so many of us enjoy, whether as a drink, in our kopi or teh, as yogurt or cheese, or in so many baked goods.

Dairy cows do not have a great life, even though they are given food and water every day, and they are protected from predators, such as wolves.

Life is not happy from the day the baby dairy cows are born on a dairy farm. On that day, they are separated from their mothers for two reasons. One, calves drink milk and that means less milk for the humans to sell. Two, if mother and baby have time to bond, the mother will suffer when separated from their baby, and their painful sounds upset the other mums. Unhappy mums give less milk. So again, how the cows are treated is an economic decision.

Mums only give milk after they give birth. Thus, the cows have only about a month after giving birth before they are artificially inseminated again, in a constant cycle of pregnancy – birth – separation from the baby – pregnancy again.

The cycle ends when the cows, just like human females, eventually stop giving milk. What happens to the cows then? Do they live out their lives in a field supported by grateful dairy companies? No doubt, the people who run the dairy companies are nice people, people who are kind to animals. Maybe they have a pet cat at home, and whom they care about deeply.However, how could their dairy company survive if they are nice to the cows? Think of all the money it would cost to feed and protect these cows from age 5 when their milk production has shrunk to age 15, the end of their natural lifespans. Instead, economics pushes them to sell the cows to be slaughtered for meat.

Fortunately, change is afoot so that we can continue to enjoy delicious milks at the same time that we show gratitude to our fellow animals, the cows, and let them give their milk only to those for whom the milk was intended: baby cows.

In Singapore, we have long had soy milk, and now we can appreciate an increasingly diverse selection of other plant-based milks, including oat, almond, and cashew milk. There are even special milks designed specifically to add to coffee and team. No doubt you have tried soy milk. What about the other plant-based milks? Have you tried any of them?

Also, we can have fun making our own plant-based milks with our home blender. The internet offers many recipes, and we can design our own, such as by adding chocolate powder or even gula melaka or lemongrass! Yum.

We have so many ways to show gratitude to the cows who have fed us humans for generations at great harm to themselves and their families. Now, we can have milk that is not only better for our health and the environment but also shows kindness and gratitude to the cows.

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