Or cows…or chickens…or pigs…or sheep…:-)
Let me specify. I am afraid of “Agrobusiness” and all the crazy big corporations that make their money exploiting animals and people.
Now I’ll tell you about the animals I am NOT afraid of. I have a CSA through a local farm, Charis Eco-Farm, where I recently paid for half a share, saving me a chunk of change, since this is where I buy all my meat anyway. I occasionally buy meat from the grocery store, but hardly at all anymore. I visited the farm the other day and got to check out what will be on my plate in a few months. Don’t get me wrong…I’m not a sadist. I’m not going to name an animal, then laugh while it’s butchered, and call out its name as I cook it. In fact, if I ever do that…please lock me up. What I’m saying is that I want to know that what I’m eating is being well cared for. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure agrobusinesses don’t let you take tours of their facilities (nor would I want to tour them). UPDATE: I just found out that, in fact, a National Geographic photographer got arrested for taking aerial photos of an agrobusiness farm…that’s way farther away than a tour. Must be pretty bad! Another reason I don’t want to visit them is that I’d probably catch something and die. Except for the stinkiness of the goats, I didn’t catch anything at Charis Eco-Farms (I did literally smell like goat for the rest of the day despite numerous handwashings!). Here are some pics of the animals around the farm!
I also have a cow share, which means I have a supply of raw milk from locally raised cows. I get this from a small farm, Persimmon Dairy, which is located about a mile or so from my house. (I actually biked there one time…it was the greatest accomplishment of bike-riding ever!…for me…) There are very few cows, lots of space, and a clean facility. In terms of employees, there’s a cute elderly couple and their helper.
Why drink raw milk? Isn’t it dangerous?
Let’s talk for a minute about raw milk. Raw milk has been drunk for centuries (perhaps millennia) by farmers and cow-owners, but in the industrial age when we started taking cows from the fields into the factories, things got a little (or actually a lot) dirtier. So, people started getting sick from raw milk, polio and turberculosis. Instead of moving back to farming and taking better care of the animals, they decided to begin pasteurizing the milk and kill the bacteria. For more info about pasteurization, go here. This is not unlike what has happened in agrobusiness. E Coli and other diseases happen because the factory animals are not well taken care of (i.e. they don’t get to move around, they eat each others’ poop, they don’t eat the proper nutrition), but instead of taking better care of the animals, they add ammonia and antibiotics, among other things. You can learn more about agrobusiness in the movie, “Food Inc.” If you haven’t seen it, definitely check it out.
Raw milk is illegal to buy in Virginia, because it’s thought to be dangerous (I’m pretty sure millions of farm kids everywhere are shaking their heads). Let’s look at some things in Virginia you CAN buy that seem to be a bit more dangerous than raw milk.
1. Fireworks – 4 deaths in 2011 and 9,600 injuries!
2. Firearms – 875 in Virginia in 2012
3. Prescription Pain Killers – 15,500 in 2009
4. Agrobusiness food – Foodbourn illnesses cause more than 3,000 deaths per year in the U.S. Since most people buy their foods from agrobusiness, we can only assume that’s where those outbreaks are coming from.
Deaths attributed to raw milk…none since 1998. There were two supposed deaths but it was actually from cheese. Here’s more info. Even if it were two deaths since 1998, there were three people that died from being struck by lightning in Virginia between 1998-2000, 66 since 1959. This means you are waaaaaaaay more likely to die from being struck by lightning than from drinking raw milk.
I trust the place I get it from. I can make cheese with it. I can make yogurt with it. I can scrap the cream off the top and make ice cream. The benefits are endless! And, that, my friends, is why I am not afraid of drinking raw milk.
Here’s a picture of me not dying from making raw milk mozzarella cheese!
Disagree? Feel free to comment below! I love a lively debate. Agree? Share, please!