I keep finding ever more reasons to go completely vegan (I don't have milk or yoghurt but have recently started eating eggs, and icecream again - as wll as chocolate and cheese*).
After eating an egg salad sarnie for lunch I came back into the office to read this Guardian article about activists saving 'spent' egg producing chickens from the chopping block when the 72 weeks of their useful egg laying life come to an end.
The free range chickens mentioned in the article start producing eggs, which are gathered up for human consumption, at just 18-22 weeks. The chickens are killed around a year later because they are no longer economically viable.
An egg laying chicken's 'useful life' amounts to about an year and a half. A living thing classified as uneconomic. That really turns my stomach, the lingering taste of egg in my mouth is turning really sour.
If that wasn't enough to put you off animal products, a friend recently told me that something like 25% of a carton of milk is puss. That sounds pretty implausible, right? But some amount of puss, coming from infected udders of over milked cows, that's a whole lot more plausible.
This 'fact' has stayed with me, and today I decided to verify its accuracy. Google Answers to the rescue. In summary - milk has a measured amount of puss in it, some puss, but too much and it's not saleable.
The worst thing about this is the thought that cows can (and are) overmilked to the point of infections in their udders. I kind of feel that if you could still sell infected milk some dairy farmers would, and the cow would have to suffer for it.
Ultimately, selling live animals, flesh or animal products must exploit animals - by the very nature of the relationship. I've heard this described as speciesism, or the hierarchy of powerful over vulnerable. It's the type of power relationship that underpins capitalism and is replicated across human behaviour too; rich:poor, male:female, young:old.
* I buy organic says the little voice that feels bad about eating animals products. Is that the liberal curse? If you can't make yourself do it, at least make yourself feel bad about it instead.