|By Robert Cohen Executive Director|
America's dairymen and women represent the hardest working people in America. Their values, love for family, their country and their God are values that I too hold dear. These men and women work around the clock tending to their business and chores, sometimes staying up in the middle of the night with a sick animal. Their jobs and lives are intermeshed because cows must eat seven days each week and must be milked three times each day. Vacations are rare and money is often extremely tight. Their profit margins are measured in pennies per hundred pounds of product produced. These hard working Americans have always felt good about themselves and the "wholesome milk" that they deliver to America. That wonderful balance in their lives is now threatened by the Dairy Education Board. I take no pleasure is causing pain to these good people. However, I have to consider the pain that their product causes to an entire society. To me, these dairy producers are death merchants and their product is no better than heroin or cocaine grown by equally hard working farmers and drug dealers in South America.
Dairymen learn about the latest trends in their business from many sources. One way is the information highway, the INTERNET. There are hundreds of links on the worldwide web to dairy industry sites. I personally subscribe to DAIRY-L. In doing so, I have given my word not to write about specific individuals who share their information among members of their own industry. I have also contributed to farmers and scientists on that list. I receive hundreds of messages each week which deal with a variety of management subjects. Through such personal contact, I have made a few friends in the dairy industry and have learned their problems and goals.
There is also a dairy industry magazine called HOARD'S DAIRYMAN. I am one of 108,000 subscribers to this monthly magazine. (Subscriptions cost $14 and the magazine can be ordered by calling 920-563-5551).
The August 25th issue depicts a tranquil scene of a brown Swiss cow (with bell around her neck) on the front cover, the mountainous Alps rising behind her in the background. The inside cover of this issue depicts a full-page ad for MONSANTO'S genetically engineered bovine growth hormone, POSILAC (BST). The cost of this monthly ad, approximately $14,000, is Monsanto's investment for the future. More dairy farmers continue to inject this hormone into their cows, and the health and safety of all Americans is in jeopardy. Cows from 25 percent of the herds in America are being treated with BST and the numbers increase every day.
HOARD'S DAIRYMAN supports the use of BST and usually supports its advertiser, Monsanto, with articles which endorse its use. The front cover tells of an enclosed article: "BST's impact of bull proofs." The headline of Kent Weigel's article on page 577 asks: "Is BST affecting today's sire proofs?" The end paragraph of this extremely technical article concludes: "Therefore, little concern should exist about the impact of BST..."
Even the author of this study laments the fact that there is no single way to eliminate experimental bias, and that much of the data is inconclusive. What is important is that, for the first time, late in the article, we are treated to an average effect of BST-treatment on milk production. The author writes:
"It is also important to note that the average BST effect on lactation was rather small. The difference between BST and non-BST cows was generally less than five pounds per day."
A dairy farmer currently receives about $14 for every hundred pounds of milk which his cow produces. This translates to 70 cents per day additional cash flow per animal, or $4.90 per week. That animal must eat more feed and be injected with BST and the BST ain't free! The farmer must shovel more fertilizer and overstress his animals, which burn-out sooner and require more antibiotics and veterinary visits for ulcerated udders. In addition, the BST use continues to fuel the milk controversy. IS THIS 70 CENTS PER DAY ADDITIONAL CASH FLOW PER ANIMAL WORTH IT?
Each issue of HOARD'S contains a timely editorial. This month's comment discusses "MILK'S MARKETPLACE STRUGGLE." HOARD'S reports: "Everything should be in place for people to drink more milk." They list many reasons for this conclusion including the fact that the economy is strong and milk drinking has become "socially acceptable for kids and young adults thanks, in part, to the award winning and substantially funded "milk mustache and 'GOT MILK' ads."
BAD NEWS, guys. People are not drinking more milk. Sales of fluid milk were down one percent during the first five months of 1998. The average daily intake of milk has decreased 5 percent from 1990 figures.
HOARD'S concludes: "We acknowledge that the U.S population is changing and that competition in the beverage market is intense. But we refuse to believe that our industry can't sell more milk...Let's hope that there are creative people at work on successors to the milk mustache and GOT MILK? ad campaigns."
HOARD'S does not yet give credit to the Dairy Education Board message. The advertising dollars increase, the ads increase, the models and celebrities are paid more money, and liquid milk consumption is falling. The people continue to learn the truth and cannot be fooled by the dairy brainwashing campaign.
Dairy Education Board
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