Vegan Rising | GOATS USED FOR THEIR MILK
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GOATS USED FOR THEIR MILK

GOATS USED FOR THEIR MILK

Domestic goat’s (Capra aegagrus hircus) are a subspecies domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. They are a member of the Bovidae family who are closely related to sheep, both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are approximately 300 distinct breeds of goat. Female goats are referred to as ‘does’ or ‘nannies’, intact males as ‘bucks’ or ‘billies’; their offspring are known as kids.

There are 6 recognised dairy goat breeds within Australia: Saanen, Toggenburg, British Alpine, Anglo Nubian, Australian Melaan, Australian Brown. Goats are patient, highly nurturing mothers. It is highly stressful for both mothers and babies when they are separated. In the wild, a female would spend her whole life close to her mother. Research has discovered that goats will always recognise the call of their family members. Mother goats are known to foster orphaned or rejected lambs, kids and even calves. Does can and do have 2 to 3 babies at one time. However, on goat farms, including so-called “organic”, “ethical” or “family-owned” they are cruelly torn from them.

Babies separated from their mum so that her milk can instead be taken for humans.
Credit: Alix The Vegan

SEPARATION

Credit: Alix The Vegan

Goats are well known for their mothering abilities, as well as their ability to nurse other animals’ young, such as lambs. On most dairy farms the maternal needs of both nannies and kids are almost immediately ended after birth. The female kids will typically be removed from their mothers after one feed and subsequently fed milk replacer, replacement goat’s milk or even cow’s milk, so that the mother’s milk can be harvested for human consumption. Billy goats are killed at birth or shortly after, as they are seen as a waste product of the dairy industry.  Their flesh is sold as “capretto”, which is Italian for kid flesh.  These kids are killed at about 5 weeks, although some will be killed at up to 11 months.  The market is saturated with “spent” does who are of no use to the dairy industry. 

Sometimes the kid and mother will not even have that initial interaction, as many young are fed immediately by bottle to manage colostrum intake. On intensive units, kids are machine fed in large groups. Nannies are then typically milked for 18 months. Unlike cows used for their milk, goats do not have a dry season where they are not milked.

Waiting to have the milk intended for their babies sucked out by machines.
Credit: Alix The Vegan

BREEDING

The does are either artificially impregnated or more commonly, “stud billies” are used from high milking stocks. Goats have a five-month pregnancy and lactating can continue for up to 2 years after they give birth, in a non-pregnant goat. Usually, lactation decreases so farmers will ensure does are pregnant yearly.  Goats are mammals and must have been pregnant to lactate.

There is a system that some farmers use which utilises an intravaginal hormonal sponge.  The sponge involves implanting a sponge impregnated with the hormone progesterone into the vagina for 11 days. Two days before it’s removed the goat is injected with pregnant’ mare’s serum gonadotrophin (PMSG) and prostaglandin. The hormones stimulate the goats to come into oestrus (heat) one to two days after sponge removal. If AI is used, the goats are inseminated 42 to 44 hours after sponge removal.

Through this selective breeding, whether AI or “paddock joining”, farmers manipulate the lives of goats to suit their bottom dollar. Words such as “increased cost”, “husbandry input” and “capitalise” are commonly used.

Male Goats (bucks) are often masturbated by humans to collect their sperm.  Quite often this sperm can also be sent overseas for sale also. An artificial vagina, such as the picture below, is used to collect the sperm. 

There are several methods that are used when using the AI to transfer to the sperm to the females.

The images above demonstrate perverted and exploitative processes that have been normalised in our culture. The forced impregnation and masturbation of individuals is common practice in all areas of animal agriculture. We must see it for what it really is, the hijacking of another’s reproductive organs for ones own personal gain.

THE GOATS MILK MYTH

Many people switch to goat’s milk and cheese in the belief that it is healthier. In fact, goats milk has very close to the same lactose content as cow’s milk.  Goat’s milk also contains many hormones which are to assist their kids to grow into an adult goat as quickly as possible.  One of these hormones is IGF-1 – the same hormone found in cow’s milk that is known to promote the growth of cancer cells. IGF-1 survives pasteurisation and can cross the intestinal wall and enter human blood. Even small increases in levels of IGF-1 increase the risk of several common cancers including breast, prostate, lung, and colon.  Another hormone present in both cows’ and goats’ milk is oestrogen, though at a lesser concentration in goat milk. Again, it has been particularly linked to hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, ovary, and prostate. 

Goat’s milk is higher in saturated fat than cow’s milk and also contains levels of somatic cells (pus).  Somatic cells are counted in milk sold for human consumption as there are legal limits as to how much it can contain. Somatic cells are the white blood cells that are the defence against bacteria that invade the udder and can cause mastitis.  So, one teaspoonful of milk can have two million pus cells!

Where animals are used as commodities, they are exploited.  More often than not the farmers keep the animals in large herds, meaning sickness, lameness and birthing problems are not always seen, or are just neglected, so they don’t have to pay for the care of the animal. 

Credit: Alix The Vegan

THE RAW MILK MOVEMENT

Unpasteurised goat’s milk is sometimes hailed as a safer alternative to raw cows’ milk. A UK study examined 131 frozen and fresh samples of unpasteurised goat and sheep milk from 79 retail outlets and around half failed the legal standards.(1) They were rife with pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, many of which indicated faecal contamination. Scientists conducting the study suggested that unpasteurised goats milk should be banned. Unpasteurised goats milk products are not legal in Australia.

HUMANE WASHING BEAUTY PRODUCTS


An industry that is ever growing that the dairy industry has become a part of is the beauty industry, selling items such as goat milk soap, creams and shampoo and conditioners.  Many of these items are packaged as “organic” giving the false impression that this may also mean “cruelty-free”.  People have to remember that these items come from an inherently cruel system, a system that steals the milk from mothers, takes their babies from them and kills the male kids. None of these items can ever say they are cruelty free, as the very event of taking milk from the doe is cruel.

Author: Jaysherrie Terraqueos
Founder of Melbourne Goat Save

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