Historically cow's milk has enjoyed outstanding public relations, cleverly associating itself with fit athletes, strong bones and white-moustached seductively posturing celebrities. But if we weren't socialised into thinking that drinking dairy milk was desirable and acceptable, chances are we'd find it a pretty absurd notion.
Up to a fifth of dairy cows in the UK are kept indoors in factory farms all year round, never feeling the grass beneath their feet or the sun on their backs. In Denmark 85 per cent of farms were grazing cows on grass in 2001, but by 2010 this had reduced to just 35 per cent . In the US the majority of dairy farms are industrial-scale indoor systems which can house tens of thousands of cows.
It is hard to express how depressing it is to get out of bed at 5.30am to work a 14 hour day to lose more money. It's difficult to carry on. We are dairy farmers on the north side of Dartmoor National Park with a small herd of 100 milking cows. We are struggling to survive. For every litre of milk we sell we now lose seven pence.
It is undoubtedly a very frustrating and worrying time for British dairy farmers. Milk prices are plummeting. With increased milk supply around the world and demand not increasing at the same pace, huge pressure has been put on milk values. For some it means they are now only getting around 25 pence-per-litre for their product. With the cost of production sitting much higher than this it is no wonder that many fear for the future of their farm businesses... What we also know is that it is clear that the British public want to back British farming and continue to support British dairy farmers during this difficult time.
My milk obsession is simple and that is the lure of breakfast. Breakfast is what gets me moving in the morning, breakfast meaning cereal. Nothing else seems to fuel me through to lunch like a brimming bowl of flakes and clusters, raisins and granola, nut and crunch. The choice is endless and the taste-bud-cum-stomach-satisfaction is a sure-fire guarantee.
How on earth can cow's milk be considered an essential part of our diet when its purpose is to feed calves until they are old enough to be weaned? How does it make any sense at all that people are supposed to have it? Just because we have been doing it for centuries does not mean it is rational or good for us; it just means it was an available food source at some point, and has since become an acceptable part of the human diet.