Australians care about their dairy farmers and they are showing it

The Project’s story #MilkedDry on the milk industry crisis on Tuesday night was very powerful and the stats show it resonated with Australians. Wow almost 20% of the Australian population have watched it.

#dairylove 2

As you will see this is not a ‘farmers crying over spilt milk’ story  this is farmers telling it how it is.

Milked Dry The Project

Click here to watch the video

Knowing the farmers in the story I can only imagine how hard it was for them to put their hearts on the line like this

There is no-one more passionate about the Australian dairy industry than Marian MacDonald. She has opened the door to her dairy farm and her family’s highs and lows on her blog Milk Maid Marian    to ensure the community gets the real story behind Australian dairy farming families

Marian MacDonald

Marian, Wayne, Alex and Zoe

There have been over 15,000 comments with 99% being supportive of Australian dairy farmers and being very vocal in replies to people who aren’t.

#dairylove 1

#dairyhate

Australians care about their dairy farmers and they are showing it and coming from a dairy family this is a wonderful thing to see. Thank you Australia

It is however clear the people who have commented on The Project Story have a very diverse understanding of the Australian dairy industry and I would like to use this post to clear up some of the misconceptions.

Q. Are the majority of milk processors foreign owned?

A. Yes, they are BUT the milk they supply is produced by Australian cows that graze on Australian family farms and this is the milk that Australian families buy in supermarkets. You can buy this milk with confidence knowing you are supporting Australian farming families and Australian communities. Australia also has Australian owned milk processors like Murray Goulburn and a number of smaller Australian family owned businesses

Q. Should humans drink cow’s milk?

A. I think the overwhelming scientific proof show that the answer to this question is a resounding YES. The science has consistently shown one of the reasons people in 1st world countries live longer is cow’s milk is now an easily accessible, safe, affordable and nutritious part of our diet.

Q. Has $1/litre milk and the milk supermarket price wars significantly impacted on the Australian dairy industry?

A A big YES  YES YES Coles and Woolworths should be very ashamed ?

Q. Are Australian dairy farms factory farms?

A. No and as an example they are not this is one of the most intensive dairy farms in Australia.

Cows in Front of House Fav

Q. Are dairy farmers cruel to their animals?

A. I think the best way to answer this is in the following way. No-one is perfect including dairy farmers but let’s remember over 60% of RSPCA animal cruelty charges are domestic pet owners and farmers are less than 5%. If you ask the majority of dairy farmers why they dairy, they say it’s because they love milking cows and my experience is they do love their cows

Q. Do farmers deserve special treatment in times of crisis.

#dairylove dairy farmers are rich

A. I will let the voters and consumers decide that one, remembering farmers in this country supply 93% (and 99% of the milk ) of the food we consume. In my opinion that makes the future of Australian farming and farmers very important.

Q. Can Australians help our dairy farmers?

A Yes you can.

  • Firstly, just showing you care is the best medicine for our farmers’ mental health and its is clear from The Project’s story you do
  • Secondly, you can show your support by using the hashtag #dairylove on social media
  • Thirdly and most importantly 9 out of 10 Australians don’t consumer enough dairy products. Let’s fix this by buying and eating more dairy products as part of a balanced diet. Consuming dairy is good for your health, your longevity and good for farmers

Dont ever give up

Look what I found on the #DairyLove Facebook page – how gorgeous is this Ht Kathleen Johnston

 

 

Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

2 thoughts on “Australians care about their dairy farmers and they are showing it”

  1. Lynne, I saw this short piece on The Project and cynically suggest that it wasn’t just something that sprang from Waleed’s mind. I suspect some industry involvement. However I can see that dairy farmers are doing it tough and recent events have led many to difficult financial and personal decisions. Nonetheless, I believe dairy to be an immoral industry and am of the opinion that the Australian public is being misled to an extent about the need to support it.

    While I know it’s an emotive issue when people’s livelihoods are on the line, that’s not a sufficient cause to ignore what we should really be doing. And dairy is not something I believe people should do.

    You’ve listed a couple of claims in this post that I don’t believe withstand scrutiny.

    Q. Should humans drink cow’s milk?

    A. I think the overwhelming scientific proof show that the answer to this question is a resounding YES. The science has consistently shown one of the reasons people in 1st world countries live longer is cow’s milk is now an easily accessible, safe, affordable and nutritious part of our diet.

    Comment: I don’t think this is correct. I doubt there is ANY evidence that milk or dairy products at modern rates of consumption contribute to an increased lifespan of themselves. Calcium in milk is often claimed to contribute to prevention of osteoporosis, but the truth is that calcium requirements just aren’t that high. Most people can get adequate calcium from plant-based products. There is also evidence that dairy products have a contributory role in increased risk of prostate cancer and ovarian cancer and in high fat forms can contribute to a variety of other health risks. I think that it is likely that a very moderate consumption of milk *may* be beneficial if one doesn’t do enough exercise and doesn’t eat enough plant based foods, but the dairy industry hardly wants us to REDUCE our dairy intake. I would also suggest that the science would show that a plant-based diet will have equal or better health benefits than a diet high in dairy.

    http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/vegdiets/health-concerns-about-dairy-products

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/calcium-full-story/

    Q. Are dairy farmers cruel to their animals?

    A. I think the best way to answer this is in the following way. No-one is perfect including dairy farmers but let’s remember over 60% of RSPCA animal cruelty charges are domestic pet owners and farmers are less than 5%. If you ask the majority of dairy farmers why they dairy, they say it’s because they love milking cows and my experience is they do love their cows.

    Comment: This is misleading. It’s not direct cruelty per se. It is the immorality of using what should be free living animals as resources for human pleasures. This means that dairy cattle are subject to a range of mistreatments that are indefensible when you consider that the primary reason for dairy consumption is entertainment.

    Here are some figures to back up what I am saying (and I am restricting myself to just one aspect of the industry, by the way).

    From meat & livestock reporting in 2015:

    Total cattle slaughterings in 2015:

    9,630,000 mature animals
    630,000 calves, predominately sourced from dairy.

    Some figures from the Dairy Input Monitor for the Year To Date (April):

    Cull cows: 69,648 YTD (2015/2016).

    A note to this number states that “…cull cow prices are still at record highs for the year to date, with sales volume per head up 36%, and the average price up 44%”.

    Clearly, a LOT of animals die for our pleasure. And a great many are killed at extremely young ages, between 1 and 2 weeks of age. Add in the effects of the current downturn and other factors and many farmers must be shedding stock, which means something not nice for those animals.

    There is much more that could be said, but the truth is that while I doubt many farmers are actually proactively cruel, the process itself is undeniably cruel, AND lethal. We would not do this to people, but we think it’s OK for anyone else…

    Surely it isn’t ethical for The Project and Waleed Ali to be encouraging everyday Australians to support an immoral industry? As I said, I’d be willing to bet that there is an industry genesis to this story!

  2. Hi Graeme

    As I have mentioned in my replies to you in the past you and I share many of the same values but we have different perspectives.
    You are obviously a deep philosophical thinker and read a great deal and I am confident there are many things that are part of your areas of expertise
    As some-one with a degree in pharmacology, with a strong nutrition focus I can in all credibility declare the well-known health benefits of dairy.
    As a 6th generation Australian dairy farmer I have been on many dairy farms and whilst I don’t claim the Australian dairy industry is perfect I can assure milk drinkers that the vast majority of our farmers are providing the best whole of life experience that they possibly can for their animals.
    As some-one who has sat on national animal welfare policy advisory groups I can also assure you that the industry is highly committed to waking up every day to being a better farmer than they were yesterday
    Referring to your comments in your blog the reason I didn’t originally post your comment on my blog is I don’t think now is the time to have these philosophical discussions when many of our dairy farmers’ mental health is fragile. I think now is the time to be compassionate towards your fellow human beings. When all people are nice to all people then we can be truly sure that all animals will be treated with respect and given the best whole of life experience they deserve
    It is clear from the many emails I have had like this one I quote the Australian public
    “believe that farmers’ (whatever they’re farming) should be paid a price for their product that allows them to cover the true cost of production, that allows farmers to maintain/replace infrastructure, improve the land, provide for the welfare of their animals, care for themselves and their families and make a bit of profit as well. In other words, a truly sustainable farming system that takes into account economics, environment, people and animals. This can’t happen if people have a belief that food must be cheap. And this can’t happen if retailers keep underpinning that belief with ridiculous price wars.”

    many thanks

    Lynne Strong

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