OK, so milk is quite nutritious - it contains protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals making it the perfect nutrition source for babies to grow. It is also rather versatile, we make it into a vast swathe of edible items. But why are we the only species that can drink milk into adulthood?
The answer is, we're not. Because we can't! Actually only about 40 per cent of the global population are able to successfully digest milk. Leaving 4.5 billion people who should not. More and more studies are linking dairy to disease. By comparison, there are no similar studies or growing banks of evidence for cancer causing vegetables.
There are 1.4 billion cows in the world, with a lot of them in India, South America and Europe. Around a quarter are milk producing cows. A billion. That's one cow for every 5 people on Earth. Which comes at a massive environmental cost.
Milk can cause a huge list of adverse health impacts. The dairy industry is also terrible for the planet. Try to limit dairy in your diet.
And when buying milk, organic is the only option for acceptable animal welfare.
Dairy comes with a whole load of health warnings. Innumerable studies link dairy consumption to joint pain, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, kidney disease, premature aging, allergies, and respiratory and digestive issues.
Around 60% of adult humans are lactose intolerant. When overloaded, undigested lactose ferments in the large intestine causing nasty digestive issues.
Dairy has high cholesterol and saturated fat which increases the risk of heart disease.
Milk stimulates excess growth hormones in the liver which have been shown to increase the chances of reproductive cancers.
Only 2.7% of milk sold in the UK is organic. Which means the other 97.3% of the UK's 1.9 million cows face much lower welfare standards and housing.
Dairy cows are the hardest working of all livestock. They can live up to 20 years in the wild, but dairy cows often die or are slaughtered at 5 years old.
Due to advancements in artificial insemination and selective breeding, the average milk yield per cow has more than doubled in the last 40 years. Cows normally produce about 4-5 litres a day to feed calves, but in the industry they will do between 20-50 litres.
Calves are taken from their mothers within hours of birth to enter the dairy or meat systems, leaving their highly intelligent, social and loving mothers pining. Male cows may be raised for meat, sold overseas for veal, and a growing proportion are killed after birth to reduce costs to the farmer.
Milk-bearing animals are ruminants with four stomachs that emit large plumes of environment-damaging greenhouse gases. Between 15-50 per cent of green house gas emissions comes from livestock and the industry
Livestock already occupy one third of the land on Earth that isn't covered by ice, but is are also responsible for 80 per cent of deforestation in the Amazon.
One third of global water is given to livestock and two thirds of grain is also given to livestock. We could feed 8.7 billion people with the food for livestock.
170 million tonnes of animal slurry is produced annually in the UK - running away and polluting soil and water ways. And globally, livestock animals produce 130 times more poop than the entire human population.
Cows are ruminants that emit large amounts of methane which over time is about 25 times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide (CO2).
The methane emitted from manure also contributes, as does nitrous oxide created by lfertilizer or manure on fields.. Nitrous oxide has about 300 times the global warming potential of CO2.
If 1.4 billion cows are producing 1,000 kg of methane per year (equivalent to 2,300kg CO2)... that's a lot of climate change. And the Earth has a limit.