Monday, April 21, 2008

Consumers (and cows) win one against Monsanto

When Wal-Mart last month announced their house brand milk will now come exclusively from cows not treated with growth hormones, they may have tipped the scales in favor of consumers and sounded the death knell for the use of artificial bovine growth hormone in commercial milk production.

Consumers and animal welfare advocates have long been leery of the artificial growth hormones that allow treated cows to produce up to ten percent more milk. Although Monsanto (who markets the hormones to dairy farmers under the Posilac brand) insists the hormones don't affect the safety of milk and scientists say there is no conclusive evidence to the contrary, many consumers are still leery. And animal welfare advocates point out that it can't be good for the cows -- in fact, a dairy cow raised on pasture will probably produce milk for ten years, as opposed to two years' production for cows raised in confinement dairies and given the hormones.

Conventional dairy farmers have been angered by the movement, fearing their incomes will decrease if their production decreases. But given the laws of supply and demand it seems obvious that if the entire industry is producing ten percent less milk, demand will drive prices per gallon up and eventually it should balance out for farmers (though of course being more expensive for consumers.) And according to the results of a four-year study reported in the Journal of Dairy Science, when all factors are considered, conventional dairy farmers might do well to go back to traditional methods:

Milk production was lower in this study for pasture-based systems but lower feed costs, lower culling costs, and other economic factors indicate that pasture-based systems can be competitive with confinement systems.

Kroger and Starbucks are also selling only hormone-free milk in response to consumer demand, and Safeway has switched its in-house brand to exclusively hormone-free. Monsanto, however, has stated that it has no plans to pull Posilac and that sales remain strong.


vudutu said...

Thanks Val
This is good news, Monsanto is an evil company. Check your mutual funds to make sure you don't own their stock, stop eating processed food. Stop buying their products, by the way if you eat processed food you are supporting them. Don't believe me check out this movie.

Deborah Garcia (widow of Jerry Garcia) produced this film, FYI she is a local girl from Indian Hill.
This movie is a MUST watch, it will scare the living daylights out of you, it is heartbreaking to watch Monsanto crush small farmers while they patent and take over ownership of our food source. If your serious about your food you MUST watch this film.

valereee said...

I actually just got that movie from the library, and it's sitting in my living room now waiting for me to have time to watch!

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

I was actually talking about Walmart just the other day with a friend of mine getting a degree in sustainable business and she pointed out that many people (myself included) have the tendency to vilify large corporations, Walmart in particular, and see things in terms of us v. them. However, by Walmart saying they will not take milk from cows treated with rBST, they can affect a major change (for the good) in the dairy industry. Perhaps its time for me to shift my thinking to a more cooperative than divisive approach -- I mean, they *do* have the former head of the Sierra Club helping to green their practices!

vudutu said...

Val, be prepared, your in for a shock.

Jen, big is never good, in anything, corporations the bigger they get become less responsible, faceless, with no accountability. WalMart is as low as you get, if you think they have suddenly become lily white guess again, cheap plastic crap, leverage you suppliers to death, sell Chinese junk and advertise how American you are, treat your workers like cattle, kill entire small towns. Scum of the earth, if you think the sellout from Sierra Club is because they care about the earth guess again all they care about is the almighty dollar. This move is about money, period. The only good news here is a vote against Monsanto.

valereee said...

vudutu, I don't think anything could shock me about Monsanto after their Terminator Technology attempt. That was just evil.

vudutu said...

I forgot, if you must use a spray weed killer do not buy Roundup, Spectracide works better and is not a Monsanto product.