Since the phrase “Got Milk?” was coined in 1993, milk has received more celebrity endorsements than any other big beverage on the market — everyone from Bill Clinton to Taylor Swift has sat for a milk mustache portrait. It’s no wonder celebrities feel better about attaching their names to milk; the campaign claims that milk prevents osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure and even enhances athletic performance.
The dairy industry has spent millions of dollars marketing these medically-unproven health benefits. And while many U.S. physicians warn that the dangers of drinking milk exceed the health benefits, consumers seem to be convinced that milk truly “does the body good”. Milk consumption worldwide is on the rise and the global milk industry has reached a record height of $116 billion. Dairy producers are happy and eager to keep up with the demand.
Unfortunately, the only farmers who can are often relying on antibiotics and growth hormones to get the most milk out of the fewest cows. The costs of mega-farming methods are high. These chemicals are harmful to dairy cows, wild animals, the environment, and you.
Common carcinogens and hormone-disruptors can be found in mass-produced dairy milk. These types of chemicals have been linked to heart disease and cancer. Not only do milk-drinkers fail to benefit from the supposed health benefits touted by the dairy industry, they may even be putting their health in danger by consuming too much of this kitchen “staple”. Given that our physical health is so closely tied to our finances, consumers have to right to know the truth behind milk.
If you want to learn more about the costs of the U.S. dairy addiction, check out the latest video from our Hidden Costs Series.
- Video Transcript
- Health: C
- Locally: (C)
- A low fat glass of milk is a great way to load the body with healthy protein, natural sugars, calcium, potassium, and Vitamin D. However, modern cows are often injected with hormones and antibiotics to increase their milk production, and these can be harmful. Also, 30-50 million Americans are lactose intolerant and shouldn’t be drinking milk at all.
- Globally: (C)
- Global dairy consumption is on the rise. This means more people around are benefitting from the nutrients found in milk. However, certain cultures are more prone to milk allergies . This puts these emerging markets at risk of upset stomachs until diagnoses come in.
- Environment: C-
- Locally: (C)
- Americans drink an average of 181 pounds of milk per year.# One dairy cow produces nearly 20,000 pounds of milk a year, along with over 36,500 of manure. That’s 330 pounds of waste per the average milk drinker.
- Globally: (D)
- Greenhouse emissions from producing milk are substantial. Raising cows consumes 50% more energy than raising pigs or chickens. A single dairy cow produces 120 pounds of waste a day.# Dairy cows globally account for 4% of the world’s total greenhouse emissions.
- Economic: C+
- Locally: (B+)
- The average American drinks about 21.3 gallons of milk a year. That’s about $75 per person for regular milk and $120 per year on organic milk. For smartphone owners, this is equivalent to their monthly cell phone bill.
- Globally: (C)
- The global revenue of milk is over $116 billion – 35.5% of the dairy market. Every year the number of dairy farms with under 100 cows declines, while mega farms grow, meaning more jobs for machines and fewer jobs for farmers and farm hands.
- Final Grade: C