You'd think that in the 21st century we would all have realised that drinking the milk of another species is unnatural, or perhaps just a little bit weird. After all, drinking a mixture of hormones and growth factors that make a little calf grow from 80lbs to over 600lb in 10 months might not be the best thing to do for humans, who, needless to say, grow at a much slower rate.
A recent article in the Guardian's Comment is Free posed the question: 'Why have young people gone off milk?'. The Food Standards Agency's biannual Food and You survey found that 46% of 16- to 24-year-olds now believe they are allergic to cow's milk.
These people are not only making a more ethical choice but often also a healthier one. Soya milk has half the calories found in whole cow's milk, half the total fat, only a third of the carbohydrates, all while having just as much protein and being fortified with the same amount of calcium. Yet the article in the Guardian suggested that many young people say they're allergic to milk just to join the dairy-free 'trend'.
Allergies are serious issues which can easily turn fatal if people aren't careful enough. Diminishing them to say they are a mere excuse not to consume cow's milk is an insult to allergy sufferers everywhere.
Almost half of young people think they have a milk allergy. Yes, you can say it's a trend and yes, you can say it's largely for health reasons but what if the real reason why milk sales are plummeting was because people are realising it's gross?
'Sematic cell count' has advanced from being industrial jargon to a commonly used phrase, describing a legally allowed number of pus cells per glass of dairy milk. The cells are present in response to pathogenic bacteria that cause mastitis in cows, as is blood from their infected udders. Sure, it's pasteurised, but just because you can't taste it, it doesn't mean it's not there.
We've all heard that a healthy diet includes everything in moderation but nobody would recommend consuming fish contaminated with mercury or chicken with traces of E. coli. Drinking dairy milk containing pus isn't the best idea either.
In the age of information, millennials have access to information freely available on the internet that people a couple decades never had. With only a few clicks, you can find videos showing how scary dairy is, mother cows reacting to their babies being taken away right after birth, and see the cramped conditions these animals are kept in to produce milk. No wonder the number of vegans has risen to over half a million in Great Britain.
Perhaps it's time to accept and embrace the milk-free trend, rather that forcibly trying to find faults in something that is clearly better for the animals, the planet and often even ourselves?