Goats in Milk
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org


Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary
June 2013

In addition to requests to re-enslave former victims, we are besieged with requests to take the unwanted roosters and "spent" mothers discarded by backyard egg and dairy enthusiasts who wrongly believe that animal exploitation can be done "humanely".

goat milk dairy rescue humane

An Email Exchange with Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

With the mass efforts, from animal advocates and industry alike, to promote and endorse the myth of "humane" dairy and egg farming, we've been receiving an increasing number of requests from people who want to "adopt/buy" rescued animals so that they can put them back into what they want to believe is "humane" production.

These shocking requests should be recognized as grossly inappropriate but, unfortunately, thanks in large part to mass adoptions organized by farmed animal rescue groups, they are now seen as "the right thing to do". This is yet another reason why PPS will never "adopt/sell" rescued animals.

In addition to requests to re-enslave former victims, we are besieged with requests to take the unwanted roosters and "spent" mothers discarded by backyard egg and dairy enthusiasts who wrongly believe that animal exploitation can be done "humanely".

Here is a recent exchange that started with an email titled: "GOATS IN MILK?"


We are a children's summer day camp outside of [...] and are looking to adopt/buy a goat for our programs. We need one who is currently in milk and would be willing to take kids as well. Do you have any animals that fit that description?

Thank you! MJ

___________________________________________ Our response

Hi M,

We're glad that you contacted us before acquiring a mother goat. You might not know this but, like all mammals (including women), goats must be made pregnant in order to lactate. Once pregnant, their bodies (like ours) produce breast milk that is meant *only* to nourish their infants and toddlers until they are weaned.

For a goat to be "in milk" several things will have already been done to her: she will have been impregnated, she will have underwent a 5 month long pregnancy, and she will have already given birth to a baby or, as is often the case, twins. The milk that her body made for those 5 months, and continues to make after the birth of her child, is meant for her child alone. When people take the milk of a mother goat (or cow, or ewe), her babies are seen as "byproducts" and, as such, they are torn from their grieving mothers shortly after birth and killed.

Goats can live well into their teens, but a dairy doe is usually slaughtered at a fraction of her natural lifespan when, after years of repeated pregnancies, difficult births, and devastating bereavements, her milk production declines and she is considered "spent". All this, so that humans can indulge a taste for the milk of a bereft mother and her slain infants. This practice is not only inherently cruel and fundamentally unjust, it is completely unnecessary: no human adult needs milk past infancy, much less the breast milk taken from mothers of other species.

It is an especially confusing and upsetting practice when children, who are naturally empathetic and compassionate towards animals, are not told that a baby goat was born, torn from his mother, and then killed just so they can take the milk meant for that baby.

Please use this opportunity to stop this cruel exploitation of defenseless animals, and focus your activities on plant-based farming.

Regards, Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary

___________________________________________ MJ's Response

Thank you for your response and heartfelt sentiment. We are certainly aware that only mothers (of any species) produce milk and do not adhere to the perspective that children of milk producing animals are "byproducts." The emotional and physical well being of our animals is our primary concern and the goats in our program serve several roles, from educators to weeders and milk producers. While I understand and support your sentiments regarding the use of animals for food, I do differ in my thinking that the use of milk from another animal is inherently cruel or unjust. This practice is millennia old and continues to sustain entire cultural systems, ranging from African deserts to the far North. It is from a great place of privilege to be able to proclaim such a globally valuable food source amoral. From our own privileged standing, we choose to partake in this dairy tradition as responsible and informed caretakers.

I share my thoughts with you as you have shared yours with me. I appreciate your perspective and I tip my hat warmly to you on your side of the river as I continue to walk along mine.

Thanks again, M

___________________________________________ Our response

Dear M,

You know what other practices were "millennia old and sustained entire cultural systems ranging from African desserts to the far North"? Slavery, women in bondage, child labor, child abuse [in the name of "discipline"], rape, to name just a few. Every single one of these practices was inherently cruel and unjust, yet every single one of them was defended by those who walked along that "side of the river", as "tradition", concern for the victims' wellbeing, "the way the world works", or any number of self-serving justifications that advanced the minor interests of the powerful in violation of the life and death concerns of the powerless.

How ironic that you should claim concern for the underprivileged groups of the world when you intentionally, systematically, and from a place of enormous privilege, harm the world's most exploited, most underprivileged individuals- beings who are denied even the most basic right to exist, so that their exploiters can indulge a taste for the products of their misery.

It is not a matter of personal opinion that the practice of inflicting massive and irreparable harm on defenseless others for personal gratification is inherently cruel and unjust; it's a universally accepted fact. You can lie to yourself and others that the "physical and emotional wellbeing of your animals" is your "primary concern", and you can try to attach any number of deceptive, feel-good labels to the violence and devastation of breaking apart mother and child, killing her babies, and killing the mother herself when she becomes "spent", but you cannot change the fundamental truth of their suffering, you cannot change the fundamental truth that what you are doing-intentionally, systematically, unnecessarily, and with impunity-is not a right, but a gross abuse of power, and you cannot change the fact that, like slavery, using animals for our ends is wrong, no matter how time-honored the practice.

Regards, Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary  

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