Letters to the Editor: Even small dairy farms are cruel to cows. Don’t drink their milk

Dairy cows
Dairy cows feed at a farm in Turlock, Calif., in 2018.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: In an op-ed article wonderfully jam-packed with distressing information about modern dairy farming, Peter Lovenheim acknowledges, “The way we exploit and abuse dairy cows as females can be seen as a feminist issue.” He shares a tale of a cow who licked her newborn all over, and then bellowed all day after the calf was removed.

But near the end of the piece he suggests that if we can find “a small, family-run dairy where conditions allow cows to be treated humanely,” it is fine to drink their milk.

Perhaps he is under the mistaken impression that at those smaller dairy farms, cows who have male calves, the waste product of the dairy industry, are allowed to keep them for sentimentality’s sake. Or perhaps he has yet to thoroughly think the whole thing through. When he does he will realize that even on nice smalls farms, inseminating cows so that we can take their babies’ milk is still a feminist issue.

The industry itself, not the way it is run, is the issue.

Karen Dawn, Pacific Palisades


The writer is founder of the animal advocacy organization DawnWatch Inc.