Educating 'Meat' Eaters and Vegetarians about Mammalian Biology
A Meat and Dairy Industries Article from


Roger Yates, On Human Relations with Other Sentient Beings
November 2015

As vegans we are used to non-vegans being rather baffled as to what the ethical problem is with drinking cow milk and eating dairy produce.

Often as not we will be regaled with the line that humans are actually doing cows a favour by milking them – it would be “cruel” not to, right?

I think we should start on this one by asking non-vegans the question, who “normally” milks the cows. I think the chances are that they will say, “why, the farmer of course,” or words to that effect, and think the question rather silly. It’s the good ol’ farmers doing the cows the favour of milking them!

So, perhaps a slight variation may bring us to where we want to be. We can ask who “naturally” “milks” the cows but, you know, I think the answer may be the same – the farmers of course.

So, let’s change tack – and change species. We could ask, for example, if they know of women who have breastfed their babies. Perhaps they were breastfed themselves. We could then ask, well, who “milked” this breastfeeding woman, perhaps your mother?

They are not going to like the term “milked” at this point but we’re still getting closer to their understanding of the issue.

They are going to say that the woman, or their mother, fed their children by breastfeeding. So now we ask: so who “milked” them when the baby (you) went away, you know, maybe to school, or college or university when the babe was finally weaned?

Who did their mother this “milking favour” when they stopped feeding from the breast?

Is it possible, just possible, at this point that they’ll recognise the truth of mammalian biology – that it’s the child, the offspring, who “milks” the mother? Moreover, it was pregnancy that prompted lactation. Furthermore, there was no need for anyone but the child to do their mother a favour as a general matter but, in any case, the mother does not just keep on “giving” milk. There’s this magical thing called weaning when the growing mammal needs less and less milk and the mother makes less and less until she produces none.

For her to begin lactation again would need another pregnancy. What’s true for human mammals is true for cow mammals also!

Here endeth the lesson in mammalian biology – Live vegan.

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