New research in The Guardian finds that one in six pints of milk produced globally is lost or wasted, a total of about 128 million tons of milk each year.
Professor Peter Alexander of the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at Edinburgh University calculated that retailers, distributors, and consumers were responsible for roughly 66 million tons of this discarded milk. About 61 million tons are discarded during production and distribution.
Some analysts estimate that dairy waste figures could even be as high as 30 percent, double what Edinburgh University reported, according to The Guardian.
Dumping excess milk is common in the dairy industry. Just this past August, the Iowa State Fair discarded all the milk collected from the 11-day event. In 2016, U.S. dairy farmers dumped tens of millions of gallons to manipulate prices after a massive glut. Yes, you read that right. In the name of profit, dairy farmers took milk that should have gone to baby calves and poured it down the drain.
The truth is that the dairy industry is struggling, as dairy consumption is at an all-time low.
Since 1970, consumption of cow’s milk has been on the decline, while in recent years, sales of dairy-free milk alternatives have skyrocketed. NBC News recently reported that internet grocery delivery giant Instacart had found searches for “non-dairy” up by 222 percent.
And now, many dairy companies are realizing that vegan alternatives are the future. After 90 years in business, Elmhurst Dairy in New York switched to producing plant-based milk. Canada’s largest dairy producer, Saputo, is reportedly looking to invest in dairy-free alternatives.
Danone, America’s largest dairy company, is seeking to triple the size of its plant-based business. Last year Danone acquired WhiteWave Foods for nearly $12.5 billion and announced a plan to invest up to $60 million in WhiteWave’s plant-based beverage manufacturing facility. In its efforts to purchase WhiteWave quickly, Danone dropped its animal-based dairy company Stonyfield to eliminate competition with WhiteWave’s plant-based brands.
At a conference in Chicago last year, industry leaders discussed the impact of dairy-free milk. “I think the threat is very serious,” said Select Milk Producers CEO Mike McCloskey. “I think that many people have stolen the identity of milk over the years and we as an industry have sat back and not responded like we should have.”
What’s truly sad is that dairy farmers are more concerned with their profits than with the suffering their animals endure.
At dairy factory farms, cows are routinely brutalized, forcibly impregnated, and confined in horrendous conditions. Torn from their mothers within hours of birth, male calves are killed for veal and females are raised to produce more milk. At the end of their miserable and heartbreaking lives, cows are sent to a violent slaughter.
Thankfully, you can make the compassionate choice to help animals abused in the factory farming industry simply by leaving animal products off your plate. Click here to get started.