“Trick the cow” petition (using science to make milk consumption ethical)
Targets:     The dairy industry and the scientific community


This petition targets the dairy industry and the scientific community to pursue research objectives that would make milk consumption ethical with no adverse effect on the economics of milk production. Specifically, extending the lactation period to match the cow’s natural lifespan, and having cows breed only female offspring would make milk consumption both ethical and economical.

Baby cows are cute, innocent creatures. The fact that most are put down is distressing. And in spite of efforts, many suffer a horrifying death. As of now, this must happen for milk to be abundant and economical. In other words, milk is either unethical or not economical. This might be news for some and the explanation isn’t simple, here's an outline:

For milk consumption to be ethical all cows must be allowed to live a normal life and die of old age. For milk consumption to be economical all cows must produce milk throughout most of their lifetime. As of now these two objectives are incompatible for two main reasons:

1) Cows have a natural life span of 20+ years but they produce milk for only about 1 year after giving birth (facts sourced from Wikipedia). It follows that, for cows to produce milk their entire lifetime, each must give birth about 20 times. This is clearly unsustainable because the population would spiral out of control.

2) Cows give birth not just to baby cows but also to baby bulls, which do not produce milk. Yet, to keep the process ethical, baby bulls must also be allowed to live their entire life.

As a consequence, either milk production is not economical (two 1-year milk production periods requires feeding one cow and one bull for 20 years), or cows/bulls must be killed way before the end of their natural lifespan (to keep the population stable), which is unethical.

Science could make milk consumption/production BOTH ethical AND economical, by achieving the following two objectives:

1) Extend the lactation period to match a cow’s natural lifespan (basically “trick” the cow into “believing” she recently gave birth, so her body will keep producing milk). This allows lifetime production with just one birth per cow;

2) Have cows breed only baby cows (no baby bulls). This avoids having to kill baby bulls (not breeding bulls doesn't mean killing them) or having to feed them for a lifetime.

Achieving both objectives would make milk production/consumption ethical without it being uneconomical or unsustainable. That would be a truly wonderful achievement. I can’t asses how challenging this scientific objectives are, but with all the recent scientific progress they might be in the realm of possibility. If this is achievable then it MUST be done.

Please consider signing this petition. It could bring about scientific achievements that would make milk consumption ethical, a great, great achievement for both cattle and humans. If you lack determination read this harrowing article about how dairy cattle are put down: www.alv.org.au/issues/cattle/cattle.php.

Scientific community: please research ways to make milk consumption ethical without making milk production uneconomical (such as extending the lactation period to match a cow’s lifespan, and setting the baby cow’s gender at fertilization stage).

Dairy industry: please provide funding for scientific research aimed at making milk consumption ethical without making milk production uneconomical.

Other issues
Disclaimer: these objectives would end killing in the dairy industry (which is the core issue making milk consumption unethical), but would not address the problem of free-market competition pushing producers to cut corners at the expense of cattle welfare. Also, they would have no similar ethical consequences on the “beef” industry. Separate initiatives are needed for those problems.

Please feel free to email a link to this petition to your friends, or post it on social media. You can use this shortened link if you prefer: http://goo.gl/J3rYqP. Thank you for your support.

More details about my approach and progress on this initiative (which is NOT my main focus) at www.fairtaxWW.org/other_ini.html#trickthecow.

Email me if you are confident you have a good suggestion using the address displayed below. But I might be slow or even unable to reply if I get overwhelmed. Thanks for your understanding :)

I did create the petition above to suggest a course of action which I hope (and believe) might make milk consumption ethical whithout making milk production uneconomical. The petition was created using Google Docs and is now online and active. Please consider signing it. Also, feel free to send a petition link to your friends, or post a link on social networks. You can use the shortened link (provided by Google): http://goo.gl/J3rYqP.

About my approach/intentions regarding this initiative (please read before you sign, thank you).
Initially I was planning to simply start a petition, but reviewing sites got me thinking, as they can be quite different and some are better than others. Also, this petition likely needs better targeting, design and promotion, so advice & support from an activist community would probably help.

I will start with a low-profile but open-ended petition (using Google Docs), investigate things further, and maybe later restart this effort with help/support from a reputable activist community (I will read about Avaaz.org, Care2.com, 38degrees.org.uk, and others and hopefully land a reasonable choice). My personal focus will remain on promoting the FairTax.

Submitting your email is not required but, apart from giving your petition signature more credibility, it would allow me to later contact you in case this idea is restarted under a more effective/powerful patronage. If that happens I intend to simply send you an email pointing to that initiative, rather then giving your email to them.

If I have to personally submit the petition to its intended target then I will reveal emails ONLY to the intended target and ONLY if it is both required and customary to do so. After this initiative runs its course I plan to destroy the email list. Again, your email is not required to sign the petition, please don't include one if that makes you uncomfortable.

Thanks again for considering this.

(you can email me about this particular initiative using the address displayed on the petition form)

Click here to sign the online petition (created with Google Docs)

[Top of this page]