24 Jun Kosher Milk, A farm visit
I haven’t had dairy in more or less 4 years so when Nicholai, the owner of Bar Dolci invited me to check-out their cruelty-free dairy farms, I was instantly interested. Is it possible that Manila, not famous for its fair treatment of animals is indeed home to an ethical milk production farm? Badaco is a Batangas City based Dairy Cooperative that specializes in Kosher Milk.
Kosher: The strictest standard in safe and ethical meat and dairy processing. Certain Kosher Rules : certain kosher rules. Reasons for food not being kosher include the presence of ingredients derived from nonkosher animals or from kosher animals that were not slaughtered in a ritually proper manner, a mixture of meat and milk, wine and grape juice (or their derivatives) produced without supervision, the use of produce from Israel that has not been tithed, or the use of non-kosher cooking utensils and machinery. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kosher_foods) Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly staff with Kapeng Barako (Barako Coffee), the city’s signature strong beans, Putong Malagkit (Sticky rice cake) Kesong Puti (White Cheese) made from their own free-range milk and their signature white Butter and Fresh Yogurt mixed with Fruits , and of course, their main trade, fresh cow’s milk.
I was able to sample most of the products by just the teaspoon but already my intolerance to lactose acted-up. (FACT: Human beings are naturally lactose intolerant, just 30 days of being dairy-free immediately returns the body into its lactose intolerant state. Seriously, Try it!). I couldn’t tell anymore what made it different from normal milk products in the super market but according to Nic, the difference in quality of Badaco’s milk was undeniable.
“I was used to taking bad milk but when I got to taste Badaco’s, I couldn’t take them anymore” he said matter of factly. His staff seems to agree, even my vegetarian partner Toni who tried it approved, later on remarked, “It does taste like it came from a happy cow.”
In Japan, milking cows are treated with special care and are even caressed to the sound of music as they are milked. The Japanese believes that such spoiling allows the cow to produce healthier and better tasting milk—free of cortisol that comes from stress and negative emotions that most cows are subjected to in other dairy factories.
We weren’t able to observe the actual milking process but upon closer inspection of the farm, it was evident that the cows were free roaming.
When we asked what happens to the cows when they cannot be milked anymore, we were told that they are sold-off to slaughter-houses for their milk. I gave Nic a look that said “That is so not cruelty-free,” to which he responded, “We all need to die sometime.”
True enough, and at the moment I am content that Badaco is stepping up to the worldwide clamor for a more ethical treatment of animals in the meat and dairy industry. In order to ensure sustainability, there has to be a common interest between the farmers and their herd. Because free-range and organic farming is now a billion dollar industry of its own, people are beginning to see the benefits in treating their animals correctly. When abuse and neglect doesn’t pay-off, people will go the extra mile to care for their herd.
To say that Badaco is cruelty-free would not be accurate, but they are the most humane in their treatment of their cows in this country. That, to me, is already an achievement in itself.
It’s no longer much of a secret that the dairy industry is not a meter short of being inhumane in how they treat their cows compared to butcheries. The common method in how milk is extracted, using painful nipple clips and suctions, the horrendous conditions of the cows – most of them never learning how to walk much more interact as they spend their short lives (maximum 2 years) in confined cages, milking for commercial consumption until their nipples literally give out. So abused are these cows that it is not uncommon to find blood and pus in the milk they produce. To address the pus, blood and feces that finds its way to the pumped cow’s milk, farmers use hormones and antibiotics. This kills bacteria that comes from the milking process, but as we remove the dangerous pathogens, we infuse a slow serial killer made of toxic chemicals that is directly related to diabetes, cancer, permanent nerve-damage, and auto-immune diseases.
Casein- the animal protein present in cow’s milk is directly linked to liver cancer.(C.Campbell, The China Study) All over the world, baby mortalities have risen due to the unnecessary application of cow’s milk to infants as mothers are misled that it can substitute mother’s milk. (http://worldbreastfeedingconference.org) The World Health Organization has now banned milk companies from advertising infant milk formulas as substitute for mothers’ milk. The prohibition led the multi-billion dairy industry to reshift focus to adult consumption. Ads such as Body by milk to appeal to athletes and health enthusiasts have been circulated. Every year, worldwide consumption drops by around 30%, people are now aware of the correlation of milk to diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer. (http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/business/121211/milk-consumption-drops-massively-the-us) In the Philippines alone, as part of the worldwide initiative on malnutrition, Dr Colin Campbell, author of the most comprehensive study on nutrition and disease, writes that children as young as 4 years old were diagnosed with liver cancer after being steadily supplied with cows milk for being thought to be protein deficient. Nevertheless, most people will still want their ice cream, cheese and milk and what better way to address that market than provide humane and kosher certified dairy products?
Our next stop: Goats Milk Farm Goats are surprisingly friendly, much like Dogs. They are a curious bunch and are quite expressive. Like the Badaho Farm, the goats are confined in spacious cages with ample grass water and are allowed to play and live adequately.
The farm is kosher. The Rabii we were with is one of their patrons. Goat’s milk is lactose free. Upon tasting it, my body didn’t churn and spasmed like it did with cow’s milk. It is true, goat’s milk will not trigger lactose intolerance. It was still however to heavy for me to digest, after a glass, I couldn’t get a spoonful of bite in anymore. The Rabii told me that goat’s milk is in every way superior to cows milk in terms of nutrition and compatibility with the human body. “Goats milk is the next best thing to mother’s milk” he informed. Nic didn’t like it though. He said it was “malansa” or fishy. I couldn’t tell the difference since nut milk, which I often have, seems to have similar texture and taste. However better, Goats milk was obviously too expensive to commercialize in a scale as large as cows milk. If a cow can produce 30 liters a day, a goat will only produce 1 liter. The math is obvious. I didn’t ask but I can only assume that the goats are also sold off to slaughter houses when they can’t be milked anymore.
But even if its too much to expect people to see animals like their own at the moment, I am content to settle at least for the time being with a more humane treatment of animals. Companies should be conscious on where they source their milk and meat. Like Bar Dolci, everyone should be aware that the environment which the animal was subjected to affects not only the taste of their milk and meat, but the safety of these by-products. Now more than ever, our every purchase is our contribution to the progress the world is taking to return towards sustainability.