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Published on February 21st, 2017 | by Adrianna Cole

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DAIRY PRIDE for a dying industry

Congress is at it again, attempting to pass bills that make no sense to the average person and are a waste of government funds.

In January, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) proposed the “Defending Against Imitations and Replacements of Yogurt, milk and cheese to Promote Regular Intake of Dairy Everyday Act” or DAIRY PRIDE Act for short. The bill could be better summarized as “ridiculous.”

In a press release, Baldwin said labeling non-dairy products “milk” is hurting the dairy industry because it misleads consumers into thinking they are buying a product with the same “high standards for nutritional value” as traditional dairy products.

There is a high standard for nutritional value in plant-based milk alternatives. That’s why consumers can find more calcium and less cholesterol for a lower cost. The last time I went to the grocery store, I noticed that organic milk cost at least $1 more than the average non-GMO plant-based milk, while average milk and non-dairy milk prices were about the same.

Yes, one can make the argument that most non-dairy products do not match up with the protein in milk (unless it’s soy), but protein is not the reason why most people drink it.

The “Got Milk?” ads all praise dairy for its high levels of calcium, but according to the “Save Our Bones” program, due to the acidity of milk, it actually depletes calcium from individuals’ bones, making them more susceptible to fractures.

Plant-based milks, specifically almond milk, are alkalizing, which keeps the body from having to balance itself out.

Not only that, the dairy industry has added antibiotics and hormones such as rBGH, which are linked to certain cancers, autoimmune diseases and allergies.

According to Britannica, the overexertion of dairy cows from being milked 24/7 cuts their life span by 80 percent. By the end of their lives they can barely walk. What does that say about the milk they produce?

What is this “high standard” Baldwin keeps pushing?

There is none.

Baldwin proposed this bill to protect dairy farmers and attempt to boost their sales, but it was a pathetic attempt if you ask me.

Plant-based milk products have their market. It’s for those with dairy allergies or those who know about the health detriments of milk.

According to Michael Moss, author of “Salt Sugar Fat,” when there was a high supply of cheese in the 80s, rather than the industry cutting down on production, Washington D.C. said they’d help sell it.

Flash forward 30 years later, the dairy industry is hurting, so what is Washington doing? They’re promoting dairy sales once again. It’s the same cycle.

Trying to push for more consumption of one product is just going to make the other side angry. There is already an online petition to stop DAIRY PRIDE Act from passing.

But let’s be honest, if passed, this act is only going to waste money by forcing non-dairy products to be relabeled and change their advertisements.

Plant-based products are not going down anytime soon, so the federal government, dairy industry and beef industry should stop trying to tear them down. To me, this bill just proves that these industries are scared of going under due to lower demands.

Baldwin’s bill focuses on an industry with years of unethical practices and known health detriments. It forgets about the other companies striving to reach their market.

Wouldn’t this be a sign that society is progressing away from animal-based products, and dairy farmers should look into alternative measures?

According to a University of Minnesota study, the amount of water and feed it takes to produce dairy could instead be used to reduce hunger in the U.S. This would lead to lower prices of plant foods, making them more accessible to low income families.

If Congress passes the DAIRY PRIDE Act, they shouldn’t be surprised when this conflict of interest ultimately fails in the long run.

 

*This story was produced for COM 4300 News Media Projects. Any comments regarding this story can be directed to the course instructor, Beth Bradford (mbradford@flsouthern.edu).

Related

Salt, Sugar, Fat Cheese Debacle

Dairy and Health

How Milk and Beef Productions Affect the Environment

Soy Milk Nutrition vs Whole Milk Nutrition

Finding Calcium in Plant-Based Sources

A Look Into the Dairy Industry

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