I wonder at times how to explain to an omni or a lacto-vegetarian what's so bad about consuming dairy. I understand the health aspects, but I want to go beyond that - I want to engender an understanding of why it would be wrong even if cow's milk were the healthiest thing in the world for humans to consume.
I also know all the arguments regarding how they are treated in the factory farms, but then I always get the story of "when I was young, I lived on/near/within 1000 miles of a farm, and the cows were all well treated, their calves weren't taken away, and they would be in pain if they weren't milked" (the latter is, of course, a whole other discussion). So I am left wondering, if all dairy farming went back to the way it used to be, and in fact still is in the Swiss Alps, for example, what is wrong with it? I understand the intrinsic wrongness, I just seem to have difficulties explaining them to other (seemingly) reasonable people.
So here are the arguments I have (though they all seem quite ineffective when talking to your average dairy consumer):
- Cow's milk is for calves.
- You are stealing that milk from the cow.
- Keeping cows for their milk and taking it from them against their will is, technically, no different than slavery, and hence just as despicable.
The first two are not very likely to convince someone who's willing to kill both the cow and the calf anyway, and the last one normally just draws shocked expressions in a "how dare you compare the two!" kind of way.
Does anyone have any other arguments that might make sense to the prion-addled brain of an omni?