Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Cowness Of It All

By: Mikaila Gawryn
Earth Ministry Intern

The "unadulterated cowness", as Billy Collins writes, grounds me. Or is it the "black and white maps of their sides" that captures my imagination? For a hundred reasons the image of a cow on green pasture under a bright blue sky tells me that the world is at peace.

Sadly, this image, though familiar to many American's is less and less a real representation of how cows actually live in the U.S. As you may know, most conventional diary operations (and conventional now means large-scale) are a industrial mix of laboratory and production line, appropriately dubbed factory farms. These factories turn out dairy products quickly and in huge quantities, but at what price and with what quality?

One of the best parts of our 3 Months 300 Miles Food Challenge so far
has been getting to know the fabulously "unconventional" Golden Glen Creamery located in Bow Washington. This family run dairy produces the finest milk, butter and cheese I've ever tasted and all with a commitment to healthy cows and healthy environments!

One aspect of this commitment is Golden Glen's choice to be rBGH free. Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone has been a controversial topic since its approval by the FDA in 1993. Physicians and nutritionists have made strong cases against its use for human and environmental health reasons. However, going against the flow can cost small dairies like Golden Glen Creamery a lot. In a 2007 press release Puget Consumer Cooperative explained that rBGH cows produce on average ten percent more milk than non-rBGH cows do.

Unfortunately, our country's farming policies don't help Golden Glen out either: “The use of rBGH has been banned by every developed country in the world, including Canada and members of the European Union, except the U.S. . . . this is due in part to the fact that rBGH has been proven to increase the amount of IGF-1, Insulin-like Growth Factor, in cows milk and that further research strongly links IGF-1 to colon, breast and prostate cancers". rGBH is not a safe option for human health, but what about the cows?

"The use of rBGH has been banned by every developed country in the world, including Canada and members of the European Union, except the U.S."

rGBH also affects the dairy cows that are injected with it. According to the same 2007 press release rGBH has been linked to higher udder infection rates and hoof disorders, causing pain and discomfort to the cows themselves. Supporting family run and rBGH free dairy farms strengthens local economies, protects human and environmental health and promotes treating God’s animals with care. Golden Glen Creamery also keeps their cows in the pasture as much as possible, meaning the cows are actually eating the green stuff they are supposed to!

So as a part of our 3 Months 300 Miles Food challenge I am committing to buy from Golden Glen Creamery. Their milk can be found all over Seattle at PCC Markets in beautiful glass bottles (that's right! Like the ones the milkman used to deliver!). Or check out one of the farmers markets where they will be selling in person! Just go to their website and check out their Calendar of Events.

What if you don't have Golden Glen Creamery products near you? Ask for them! As a small business literally churning out high quality products Golden Glen's success is dependent on you and I requesting them! So chat up your local super market and tell them that you want to see the milk from the green pastures and the blue skies!

- Dairy Products rGBH Free. http://www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/.
- http://riannanworld.typepad.com/my_weblog/2005/10/afternoon_with_.html

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Good reporting, Mikaila.