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National Cheese Lovers Day



The tang, the ooey-gooeynees, the stretch, the stinkyness, from charcuterie boards to pizza to a basic sandwich, cheese is everywhere. Cheese is far and wide the thing people note as the one food they "could never give up" when I talk to them about veganism. In fact, I don't even need to be having a conversation about veganism, if someone notices what I'm eating or someone else mentions that I'm "the vegan" someone will tell me, "oh good for you, I could never give up cheese though." Occasionally, someone will ask me how I did it, because it boggles their mind so much, but, for the most part, people are so in love with cheese that they don't even want to know how/why I stopped eating it.


So, that's what this blog is about, cheese, well, really, it's about the beings behind the cheese. The unwilling victims.


I've included a photo below that might surprise you, but is not graphic in nature. As many of you know, that's not my process. I believe in sharing truths through my words, there are plenty of places to find footage and photos of the horrors of the animal agriculture industry, should one choose to. I have also included a link to the article that sparked this blog.


I didn't know that today is National Cheese Lovers Day until I saw this article from Farm Sanctuary posted on LinkedIn this morning. The article walks through the "life cycle" of cows in the dairy industry as well as male calves "raised" for veal, it is a difficult but necessary read. Please note, this article is not just written from an animal rights activist point of view, it includes quotes from those who used to or still work in the industry.


From the article linked above, on the separation of mother and baby upon the calves birth:

“The farmer himself acknowledged that it’s really sad, and that they remove them right away because if they don’t, it only gets worse. He really had some empathy for that trauma and acknowledged that it’s clear,” she says. “It’s not exaggerated by animal rights activists.”

Some stats about cows/bulls:

  • the natural lifespan of a cow is 20-25 years, most factory farmed dairy cows are "spent" by age 5

  • cows follow a similar reproduction cycle of a human, there is potential for pregnancy every 21 days and are pregnant for 40 weeks

  • cows, like humans, must be pregnant in order to produce milk

  • they are social animals, they have friends, and love to play



“I think a lot about commodification and what it means to buy and sell a life,” says Gillespie, “which is really the framework for thinking about the way we use, exchange, and eat farmed animals. They’re fundamentally commodities as living beings, and then when they are slaughtered, or milked, or have their eggs taken, those are other kinds of food commodities. And the auction is a very clear place to see that, and to see the consequences of that.”

One might be tempted to share that they know of farms that don't separate calves from their mothers upon birth, that they are even allowed to nurse for a while (do note that any animal destined for slaughter, no matter how "nice" their living conditions seem still wind up in the same slaughter houses and are still killed). Sure, that can be true on some very small farms, however, at some point, the farms will begin losing money as the milk they would typically be taking for human consumption is still going to the calf. Here's where the weening process comes in. A quick google search for anti-suckling devices pulled up tons of options, some, like the one below are super cheap and easily found on Amazon! I invite you for a moment to put yourself in the calf's place, imagine this in your nose and every time you attempt to suckle you're met with an adverse reaction from your mother and no milk. Suddenly, you not only are unable to eat, it seems like your mother is actively rejecting you. Now, from the mother's point of view, suddenly every time your baby tries to suckle you are met with a sharp pain, you don't know why, but now, feeding your baby is incredibly painful. We know that cows bond as friends, as mother and baby, there is both physical and emotional duress here.


screenshot from Amazon website, yellow anti-suckling device on a white background
Easily found on Amazon, a device used to prevent calves from suckling


So, what to do now? First, watch the below video of 2 calves who found Sanctuary not just in where they live, but in each other. Then, start to explore recipes for vegan cheese (there are some pretty simple ones out there), maybe try a few vegan cheeses at your local grocery store. Listen to my latest podcast episode with Founder and CEO of vegan cheese company Treeline Cheese and check out this blog which includes a nacho cheese recipe (sooo good!). If you love a good novel (or series of novels) check out The Liberation Trilogy by M.C. Ronen. These books provide considerable insight into the dairy industry from an unexpected perspective. They're fast-paced and gripping, you won't want to put them down!



So, on this National Cheese Lovers Day, let's love those who have endured unthinkable things in the production of cheese and move to a kinder choice. Have a favorite vegan cheese brand or recipe or one you want to try? Link it in the comments below!

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10件のコメント


Glenda Cates
Glenda Cates
1月22日

Thank you for sharing this information with us as there was things I didn't know that I will be able to share with my friends and family.

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返信先

Thanks for reading this post and sharing the info with friends and family, it's important and difficult information we all should know about.

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I agree with Kebba on this. Some that aren't fully Vegan either choose to not be or can't be due to health reasons. I remember may younger years when we would visit my aunt and uncle's dairy farm every weekend. I would help milk the cows and they were all very well cared for.

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返信先

Nowhere in the blog have I stated that people don’t have a choice, as noted in my response to Kebba, these are simply facts presented, allowing readers to make their own choices. Whether or not someone feels guilty or is upset by what is included here in my blog or in the article that inspired it, it is up to each individual to decide what to do next with that information. Some will choose to make changes based on what they’ve learned, some will look into it more, others will not, it’s up to each one of us to decide what we do anytime we learn something new.

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ゲスト
1月21日

I can understand why some people would be upset by reading this information, but it’s simply the truth. There is no shaming here. If it upsets you, I think you should ask yourself why that is? The whole point of veganism is to highlight the injustices and strive for a more compassionate world. This won’t happen unless people really know the truth and sit with that discomfort.

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返信先

Thank you for your comment. Agreed, being open to facing what I hadn't known and what I had contributed to for so long changed my life exponentially. I had spent my whole life considering myself an animal lover while actively eating and using them every single day, to have to acknowledge that and understand my own hypocrisy was so so hard. I had great conversation with David Pannell of Vegan Business Tribe about this late last year. You can find that here: https://www.didyoubringthehummus.com/podcast/episode/30375503/episode-66-facing-our-own-hypocrisy-with-david-pannell-of-vegan-business-tribe

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Kimberly, I had to stop subscribing to PETA because of the horrible images and stories. What if you promote vegan cheeses you like rather than trying to horrify your readers about dairy? I'm sorry to speak truth you may not want to hear, but your blog is pointed enough in shaming people into going vegan. I was gliding righteously into a vegan diet but am now under doctors' orders to stop eating vegan. But we can be aware of whose products we buy and how those companies operate. We can eat and wear the kindest products we can. For example, I wear a vegan "fur" coat that looks like ermin. I hope you can be happy enough with wher…

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返信先

Hi Kebba, thank you for reading the blog and leaving this comment. There is no shaming here, all I have laid out are facts, unfortunate and incredibly difficult facts. My mission with this blog, the podcast, and the work that I do in the vegan space is to give people the tools to understand how our actions impact the world, how what we do each day ripples out, both the positive and the negative. These conversations are difficult and very hard to face. This blog did not include any graphic imagery and I did link to a blog with a recipe for nacho cheese. I spent almost 21 years of my life consuming animals and another decade more consuming cheese,…

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Lily Leung
Lily Leung
1月20日

I'm not a vegan and I do use dairy products. I'm all for humane treatment of all animals. I don't know how to walk on this planet so that we respect all life. But I do believe there's some separation between us and other forms of life so that we can all thrive.

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返信先

I think when we acknowledge that we live in a world that isn't perfect and does involve hurting others, we can make the decisions we can to reduce that wherever possible. If we all were open to looking at our impact on the world around us, I think we could change a lot of things.

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