I’ve tried to stress throughout this blog that the reason for going dairy free has nothing to do with me being against the dairy industry and everything to do with having an intolerance to dairy.
My grandad was a dairy farmer who spent 14+ hours every day grafting throughout his working life. Having seen first hand the sheer amount of passion and commitment that he put into his work – an ethic he has passed down to my father and brother who are still in the dairy industry – it sickens me when I see billboards and social media posts spreading lies about poor practice and unethical farming.
Yes, there may be a minority within the industry who tarnish it, but these are just that – a minority. Just like there’ll be a minority in any other industry who don’t carry the same ethics as the majority. There are now less than 9,500 dairy farms in the UK (down from 13,000 ten years ago) and the vast majority of these are just like my family: committed to raising healthy and happy cows in order to produce a high-quality product. Grandad would never have settled for anything less than excellent animal welfare.
My mum always jokes that my dad speaks nicer to the cows than he does to her and that’s no exaggeration! Dairy farming isn’t just someone’s job. To put the hours in that you need to to make a business, you have to be absolutely dedicated and I am in awe of my grandad for the passion he had and the commitment he made to the industry.
Dairy farming is hard and it is getting harder. The fact that a pint of milk is less than a pint of water is absolutely shocking and it needs to change before more farmers go out of business. My grandad would be devastated if our family had to give up farming after he worked so hard to get it to where it is today. But as time goes on, the possibility of this happening becomes more and more likely.
I think it’s important to share this message. There are a lot of negative views out there at the moment but how many of these people have actually spent time with farmers and had direct experience of the way milk is produced? My guess would be few. So please don’t form a negative opinion towards dairy until you have spent the time needed to question how and why certain things are done. As I said previously, it sounds cheesy but farming isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle so I have no doubt that if you tried to engage with the farming community, they would be more than happy to talk with you.
It’s just sod’s law that I’m intolerant to dairy. Otherwise, I would be drinking milk and eating chocolate like the rest of you lucky folk who can!
Rest In Peace Grandad, we will miss you.