23rd October 2006
People often ask “Why don’t you drink milk?” Quickly adding, “it’s not as if the cow is killed to get it.” While we have struggled for a polite answer, from now we shall simply talk of Tippi. Tippi was only a few days old when we first saw this forlorn and lost looking little Murray Grey/Friesian cross calf in a pen at a calf sale one beautiful sunny day in October 2006. She was one of many calves offered for sale that day, but unlike like them Tippi is still alive today, and in fact by the time Tippi made it to her new home, her pen mates would have been well on their way to the slaughterhouse if not dead.
To keep a cow producing milk she must be continually impregnated. The resulting offspring is surplus stock and is either sold as a veal/bobby calf (meaning hand-reared) or if female she may be allowed to mature and follow the destiny of her mother. The milk that nature intended for the tiny 20-40kg bovine baby is taken from their mother, she will greatly miss her calf and has been known to frantically bellow for days for her baby she’ll never see again. We are constantly told that milk is natural and indeed it is—for a baby calf that is. Cow’s milk is designed for an animal that has four healthy stomach compartments, not one like ours. It contains about three times as much protein as human milk with almost 50% more fat; supremely designed for rapidly growing young calves to double their birth weight in just over a month.
What hit in the gut like a rush hour train was the sight of two sweet and innocent little black and white Friesian calves who were seen skipping and gambolling down the pathway that was to take them to the slaughterhouse. These hapless two were, without their knowledge, enjoying their last taste of sunshine, happiness and life. They are now no more. We have saved but one calf out of the hundreds and thousands who are sold and slaughtered throughout the country each year so Australians can have their daily glass of mammary secretions from another species, otherwise know as milk.
Tippi will long serve as a reminder to us here at Edgar’s Mission of why we don’t drink cow’s milk. The little white tip on her tail that gave her her name can now swing in the breeze with pure abandon as she only knows the kindness of human touch and the love of our species, which have largely been denied her kind. May she long inspire others to question their need for milk and veal. Hail Tippi!