A doctor’s response to proponents of school milk.

You might remember that back in August, Plant Based Health Professionals worked on the World Plant Milk Day Campaign and did an interview with the Times newspaper calling for a replacement of free school milk with fruit and vegetables or plant milk. Unbeknown to them, this prompted a letter to RT Hon Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, from Dr Hilary Jones (TV doctor) on behalf of The School & Nursery Milk Alliance. Who even knew about this organisation?!

‘We are a coalition of organisations from the early years, education, health and dairy sectors who are committed to promoting the benefits to children’s physical and dental health and wellbeing that arise from drinking milk in learning environments’.

So essentially a dairy funded front organisation. The UK Government are of course complicit in propping up the dairy industry using tax payers’ money even though demand for milk is steadily reducing, excess milk is being thrown away, dairy farming is contributing to environmental destruction and it’s detrimental to human health.

The following is Dr Shireen Kassam’s response to that letter.

Dear Dr Jones,
I am disappointed to learn that you continue to promote cow’s milk consumption in children and the free school milk programme. You state that milk has ‘unrivalled nutritional content’. In my view, the nutritional content of milk is only unrivalled if you are a baby cow. There is no requirement for milk consumption beyond weaning, as evidenced by the fact that 70% of the global population have lactose malabsorption, which can manifest as intolerance. Europeans have indeed adapted to digesting dairy beyond weaning but even then, up to 30% are not able to digest the main sugar lactose. For those with lactose intolerance, consuming dairy can be distressing, leading to abdominal pain, diarrhoea and nausea. The school milk programme excludes and discriminates against those with lactose intolerance, often children from ethnic minorities in the UK.


With this is mind, Health Canada has removed dairy from its most recent food guide. The healthiest hydration for children and adults is in fact water. You however state various health benefits of dairy consumption for children, such as boosting energy, aiding concentration and maintaining a healthy weight but there is no such conclusive evidence. In fact, a review paper from earlier this year summarising the current evidence for milk consumption in one of the world’s most highly respected medical journals concluded that milk was not required for optimal health in children or adults. The authors conclude that there is no convincing evidence that milk consumption promotes a healthy weight, improves bone health or reduces the risk of any chronic illness. In fact, they highlight that milk consumption has the potential for harm, including an increased risk of eczema, asthma, acne, prostate and endometrial cancers.

You claim that dairy consumption helps maintain a healthy weight in children, yet a randomised study found no benefit of dairy consumption for reducing body fat or weight. You also state that omitting dairy from the diet could lead to malnutrition, including Kwashiorkor — a form of protein malnutrition — especially when consuming a rice-based vegan diet. Yet, when meeting calorie requirements, scientific studies have shown that a healthy plant-based diet provides more protein than is required for any age group.

Neither I nor Plant-Based Health Professionals UK are recommending a rice-based vegan diet in place of free school milk. The study you cite raising concerns about the use of plant milks leading to malnutrition was conducted in children aged 4 to 14 months, when breast milk is considered the optimal source of calories and nutrients, and these data cannot be extrapolated to school-aged children. Studies have shown that the growth, health and nutritional status of vegetarian and vegan children are within normal range and comparable with non-vegetarian children. It is widely accepted that nutrients found in milk, including calcium, can be obtained from whole plant sources and fortified plant milks if preferred. Fortified soya milk, the most appropriate alternative to cow’s milk, has similar quantities of protein and calcium as cow’s milk, with benefits for heart health and breast cancer reduction. The absorption of calcium from many green vegetables is also greater than that from cow’s dairy. This information is supported and endorsed by major dietetic associations around the world including most recently the BDA in the UK.

I agree wholeheartedly with you that our children need access to high-quality nutrient rich food. The foods most associated with health promotion in children and adults are fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans. Yet only 18% of children in the UK eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day. We should be promoting the consumption of these foods in schools, which are inclusive of all communities and supported by strong scientific evidence. It is time we put children’s health before the vested interests of the dairy industry.

Yours Sincerely,

Dr Shireen Kassam,

Founder and Director of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the mainstream media were not interested in Dr Kassam’s response to Dr Jones’ letter so she has published it online here and on social media and hopes we will all share widely.

Please do.

Thank you.

The Future is Dairy-Free!

A message from Shireen of Plant-Based Health Professionals UK:

Dear Members and Supporters,

We are delighted to be supporting World Plant Milk Day. It is today, August 22nd.

World Plant Milk Day is an international day that celebrates plant-based alternatives to dairy milk. Founded by Robbie Lockie, Co-founder of Plant Based News, in 2017 and established as a partnership with ProVeg in 2018, the campaign has attracted the attention of millions of people around the world and helped accelerate the transition from dairy milk to the rich variety of plant-based alternatives. In 2020, Switch4Good joined to reach more people and further the idea that ‘The Future Is Dairy-Free’.

We have been working with Eden Green PR  to get the message out to media and the wider public that dairy is not necessary in the diet, can cause adverse health effects, is destructive to the environment and is incredibly cruel to the animals.  Its continued promotion by Government excludes communities of colour who are more likely to to be lactose intolerant.  We have had coverage in the Mirror on Sunday and Plant Based News.

The World Plant Milk Day website has some wonderful resources and articles from myself, team member Dr Leila Dehghan and our International board member Brenda Davis RD. 

You will have read the incredibly misleading stories in the media funded by the dairy industry who are trying to promote cow’s milk as more environmentally friendly than soya milk.  This is of course utter nonsense and based on flawed science.  Plant Based News have published an excellent rebuttal

Please support this excellent initiative by sharing the campaign and the 7 day dairy free challenge on social media, with friends, family and colleagues and let’s get dairy off the plate.

The future is dairy free!

Shireen

Thanks so much Shireen for this brilliant message.  We’d like to add that it’s worth bearing in mind that vegans don’t have to eat soya anyway.  We hardly ever do.  Miranda and I have completely given up any kind of milk (milk is for babies).  We drink water.  We drink fruit smoothies.  That’s it.  We get our protein from green leafies and beans and peas and lentils.  And we love those Linda McCartney pea protein sausages! 😀 And vegetable burgers made out of actual vegetables! 😀 So even when the whole world is vegan, there’s no need to worry about increased demand for soya products 😀

Have a great weekend! xx

Making dairy farming a thing of the past, one farm at a time.

It’s easy to feel hopeless with the state of the world as it is.  Every year it gets hotter, animal suffering increases, and the powers that be do nothing to address it.  In fact they continue to subsidise it.

But then something comes along to really lift your spirits.

Refarm’d is a new plant-based drink subscription service, sourced lovingly from ex-dairy farmers.

They say:

WE HAVE THIS CRAZY IDEA

We want to turn all dairy farms into animal sanctuaries and we need you to convince these farmers to join the movement. 

We work with farmers to transition from milk production to focus on producing plant based drinks and convert their farmland into an animal sanctuary.

We believe that by uniting together with farmers and providing them with the tools they need to move away from the dairy trade, we’re offering a viable new opportunity for their businesses to be part of the growing plant based movement.

We will assist the ex-dairy farms to sustainably and locally source the ingredients to produce plant based drinks on their farms. The farmers’ land will be converted into an animal sanctuary for their cattle that are no longer being used for dairy farming.

Show your interest (no payment, no commitment) in buying fresh plant-based drinks from them and let us do the rest!

As much as the animal agriculture is terrible on multiple aspects, – [the animal suffering, the environmental destruction, the damage to human health] –  we cannot forget the farmers in these industries as well.

We believe the big majority of farmers are good people, that do care for their animals, but have just grown in an environment that normalizes animal exploitation so it has become a part of their identity, making it hard to take a step back and make changes.

The industry is in danger and most big companies have noticed it and adapt to the new market in order to survive. Small companies, family businesses however are the ones suffering the most. Lack of money, lack of time and lack of information make it hard on them to go in the right direction. The pressure, the insecurity as well as the very low buying prices (often selling for less than production costs) make for very uncomfortable living conditions.

We want to include helping the farmers in our mission to create the future of farming.

***

ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Farms are actually ideal places to become an animal sanctuary. They already have the land, the animals and the people that care for them [they wouldn’t be short of volunteers – I’d love to help look after the cows!]. No need to move animals, they can stay as a herd, nor to use more resources like land to create a new sanctuary.

Farmers joining our program have to give up any form of animal exploitation totally and to fully transition to an animal sanctuary.

Animals are put under legal protection and farmers under contract.  Regular inspections and veterinary checks are performed to make sure of the animals’ well being.

The sanctuary is not working with donations.  Instead, a part of the plant-based drinks price is dedicated to sustain these animals.

********

So what Refarm’d need is enough people to tell them they’re interested so that they can go to the farmers and say – look, if you convert to plant-milk production, we’ve got the market ready and waiting for you.  It’s scary for farmers to take the plunge, they need to know they can make a living from plant milk.

They need us to tell them “If you make it, we will buy.”

So go on, get over to Refarm’d and tell them you’re interested (there’s a button to click if you scroll down the homepage).  Then you fill in a short questionnaire.  It asks you what country and town you live in, and how much milk you would want to buy per week, and whether you would want it delivered, or whether you’d pick it up from the farm.  Added bonus: it comes in refillable glass bottles!  NB VERY IMPORTANT:  when filling in the questionnaire you have to click NEXT and it takes you to what looks like a blank page, but it isn’t blank.  You have to scroll up to find a couple more questions including name and email address and you can leave a comment or ask a question.  Make sure you finish it otherwise they won’t be able to get back to you 😀

This is truly awesome!  Please share far and wide!

Save the cows,

the gentle, beautiful cows.

***

vegan for the animals

vegan for the planet

vegan for the humans

vegan for the farmers

Run!

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from last week:

VEGAN CHILDREN'S STORY

 

😮 To be continued.

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

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This comic is made with Comic Life by Plasq

vegan, vegan children, vegan comics, vegan children’s story, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan superhero, animal rights, comics, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, children’s story, animals, cows, dairy,

Dangerous

For the story so far click here 🙂

Reflecto Girl #7 continues from Monday:

 

To be continued.  Watch this space! 😀

[For earlier Reflecto Girl episodes click here]

***************************************************************************

This comic is made with Comic Life by Plasq

vegan, vegan children, vegan comics, vegan children’s story, vegetarian, veggie kids, vegan superhero, animal rights, comics, vegan fiction, juvenile fiction, children’s story, animals, cows, dairy,

Animal Sanctuary Poem Week: Day 2

Hugletts Wood Farm Animal Sanctuary

Dallington, East Sussex

Imagine a place where cows can live

Their whole lives out in peace.

They’re rescued from the dairy hell

But now live free from cheese.

Big and strong and vulnerable

They’re right where they should be,

A home of love with Wenda and Matt,

They’re even pleased to meet you and me.

Hugletts Wood is a vegan farm,

They grow vegetables and fruits.

The sale of these provides the funds

For their compassionate pursuits.

❤ 🙂 ❤

 

Hugletts Wood Farm provides sanctuary to cows and their friends.  A home for life to farm animals and birds, rescued from the misery of the meat and dairy industry and the horrors of the slaughterhouse.

Hugletts Wood farm is the only farm animal sanctuary in the UK that operates a dedicated Cow Protection Program.  It is also the only vegan farm in the UK that runs such a sanctuary.

They try to self-fund as much as possible, growing vegetables and fruits and producing a whole range of woodland products and natural Ahimsa compost but always welcome your support in whatever form it may take!

No Milk Please!

Being diabetic myself, I was very interested many years ago when I read that, through clinical observation at a children’s hospital in Canada (in the 1980s I think it was), they had discovered that type 1 diabetes is actually caused by an immune reaction to dairy milk protein because the immune system mistakes cells of the pancreas for milk protein and attacks them.  I was surprised, since this had been discovered some years before my diagnosis, that I had never been told about it by any of my diabetic specialist doctors and nurses.  In fact, in the 1990s, my GP pleaded with me to give my baby dairy foods after I became vegan because he said “babies need dairy for at least their first five years”!  And even today the UK charity that gives advice for diabetics, Diabetes UK, does not advise avoiding dairy – it’s included in their suggested meal plans!  I actually wrote to them about that and they said, “oh, thank you for telling us,” but of course nothing changed.

Anyway, the following is a brilliant short video by a doctor who really knows what he’s talking about, and he explains really well how dairy causes diabetes.  Well worth a watch if you’ve got a spare 8 minutes 🙂

26 Verses of Deidra

rhyming children's story

Where are you going Deidra? is one of our favourite, and one of the most popular, stories on this site so when we decided to publish a compilation of short stories and rhymes for little ones we really wanted to include it.  Unfortunately the new book – entitled “Why are you a vegan?” And other wacky verse for kids – is full of rhyming stories (of course), and Deidra is not one of those.

So, we made it into one – and here it is, the true-ish story of Deidra the dairy cow, in rhyme, in case you’re interested.

This is how it begins:

rhyming children's story

Once there was a dairy farm

With fifty lovely cows.

Most of them were black and white

But some of them were brown.

***

Gripping stuff I know! 😉

 Where are you going Deidra? – In Rhyme

DAIRY NONSENSICAL

click here for 'bones and teef' - picture story about calcium from plant foods

DAIRY NONSENSICAL

The Dairy Council’s working hard to convince us their product is healthy.

They say they they just want to help our kids to be athletic and lively.

But think before you drink, what is their real motivation?

Research. Look stuff up. The truth is a revelation.

****

Cows’ milk contains calcium but not for humans to digest,

So triggers joint pain, arthritis, asthma, problems of the chest,

Sleeplessness, itchy rashes, diabetes, ulcers,

Migraines, ear infections, epileptic seizures.

****

Humans don’t need cows’ milk, the idea is really nonsensical.

There’s plenty of calcium after all in broccoli, collard greens and kale.

It’s the Dairy Council themselves who “milk it for all it’s worth”,

But sensible people shake their heads and pull nutrition direct from the earth.

Cow Proves Animals Love, Think, And Act

I just found a story here, on the globalanimal.org website, which is a wake up call for all animal lovers who still use dairy.  Just like Deidra, the mother in this story demonstrated not only the love she had for her calf, but the complicated thought process she used in her attempt to save him:

By Holly Cheever DVM:

I would like to tell you a story that is as true as it is heartbreaking. When I first graduated from Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine, I went into a busy dairy practice in Cortland County. I became a very popular practitioner due to my gentle handling of the dairy cows. One of my clients called me one day with a puzzling mystery: his Brown Swiss cow, having delivered her fifth calf naturally on pasture the night before, brought the new baby to the barn and was put into the milking line, while her calf was once again removed from her. Her udder, though, was completely empty, and remained so for several days.

As a new mother, she would normally be producing close to one hundred pounds (12.5 gallons) of milk daily; yet, despite the fact that she was glowing with health, her udder remained empty. She went out to pasture every morning after the first milking, returned for milking in the evening, and again was let out to pasture for the night — this was back in the days when cattle were permitted a modicum of pleasure and natural behaviors in their lives — but never was her udder swollen with the large quantities of milk that are the hallmark of a recently-calved cow.

I was called to check this mystery cow two times during the first week after her delivery and could find no solution to this puzzle. Finally, on the eleventh day post calving, the farmer called me with the solution: he had followed the cow out to her pasture after her morning milking, and discovered the cause: she had delivered twins, and in a bovine’s “Sophie’s Choice,” she had brought one to the farmer and kept one hidden in the woods at the edge of her pasture, so that every day and every night, she stayed with her baby — the first she had been able to nurture FINALLY—and her calf nursed her dry with gusto. Though I pleaded for the farmer to keep her and her bull calf together, she lost this baby, too—off to the hell of the veal crate.

Think for a moment of the complex reasoning this mama exhibited: first, she had memory — memory of her four previous losses, in which bringing her new calf to the barn resulted in her never seeing him/her again (heartbreaking for any mammalian mother). Second, she could formulate and then execute a plan: if bringing a calf to the farmer meant that she would inevitably lose him/her, then she would keep her calf hidden, as deer do, by keeping her baby in the woods lying still till she returned. Third — and I do not know what to make of this myself — instead of hiding both, which would have aroused the farmer’s suspicion (pregnant cow leaves the barn in the evening, unpregnant cow comes back the next morning without offspring), she gave him one and kept one herself. I cannot tell you how she knew to do this—it would seem more likely that a desperate mother would hide both.

All I know is this: there is a lot more going on behind those beautiful eyes than we humans have ever given them credit for, and as a mother who was able to nurse all four of my babies and did not have to suffer the agonies of losing my beloved offspring, I feel her pain.

Holly Cheever, DVM

Vice President, New York State Humane Association Member

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association’s Leadership Council