Monday, July 18, 2011
I don't get it.
We had a wonderful weekend visiting friends in Ohio. We stayed with some dear friends who have a dairy farm. Before we left, we stopped by the calf barn so the kids could see (and smell, and hear, and touch) some calves. They were beautiful, and we had a lot of fun.
However, as we got back on the road, I just kept stewing about what we'd seen. I grew up on a (small) farm, and we raised beef cattle and chickens, and had two big gardens. I know where my food comes from ... or so I thought.
I watched Food, Inc. over a year ago, and it was depressing, eye-opening, etc. And that prompted me to begin my first vegetable garden. We now love eating our own produce. I buy organic milk for the kids, and I figured that was the way to go.
Now, organic isn't enough for me. I keep getting crunchier by the year, and I suppose that it only makes sense. As I learn more, I adjust to it.
Anyway, when we pulled up to the calf barn on Saturday, I said to Bob, "Where's their pasture??" And he said, "There is no pasture." I was stunned. Bob, of course, thought I knew. But no, these calves (and all the dairy cattle) never go outside. They're in their little pens in the barn all their lives. From the minute they're born.
My question to Bob was this:
What kind of world do we live in, that we take newborn calves away from their mommas and give them 'milk replacer' so we can drink the cows' milk, while we feed our own children formula?*
This is messed up.
[Raw milk, here we come. And it is almost enough to make me move to a farm.]
*This is in no way meant as a criticism of women who must feed their children formula. I know there are good reasons for it. But I believe whole-heartedly that the best food for a child is its mother's milk, whenever possible.