Dairy Industry Has Too Much Milk, Throws Out 43 Million Gallons

Prepare for the ridiculous, folks, because we’re rounding the bend and aiming straight at it. The dairy industry is struggling. Instead of changing with the times, however, they’re wasting the very product they abuse cows to produce — and your tax dollars are bailing them out.

Dairy farmers have produced way too much milk. They’ve got those poor cows on overdrive and the industry can’t sell it all. So what do they do with it? In the first eight months of 2016, they dumped a staggering 43 million gallons into fields and manure lagoons. That’s right, it’s just gone.

Just think of all those cows, suffering to produce a product we’re now blithely throwing away.

Those of you paying attention to Big Dairy already know that there’s a milk glut. It happened in response to a shortage and resultant high prices in 2014. Now, the overproduction seems to be entirely out of hand.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Photo credit: Thinkstock

The industry is marching ever forward on a path to make 2016 the year it produced the most milk ever. This oversupply has made prices plummet by 35 percent. Farmers either can’t sell all this milk or, because of low prices, can’t afford to transport it to stores.

It’s not just milk, by the way. There’s an enormous stockpile of cheese out there that producers cannot sell. They begged the federal government in August 2016 to give them a hand and buy $150 million worth of milk products. The Department of Agriculture ended up buying $20 million worth of cheese that month, which equates to about 12.5 million pounds.

That wasn’t enough, though, so USDA agreed to buy another 12.5 million in October 2016. Estimates say that’s enough cheese to make a whopping 67 million grilled cheese sandwiches. It’s all going to food pantries and government food assistance programs like the National School Lunch program.

There are other ways Big Dairy is leaning on consumers to alleviate its overflowing milk coffers. It’s coordinating with fast food “dairy partners” like Domino’s Pizza, Taco Bell and McDonalds to load up the food with dairy.

Surprise — there’s real butter on your Egg McMuffins now, not margarine. There’s more cheese on Domino’s pizzas. Oh, and remember the Super Bowl ad campaign for the Taco Bell quesalupa – a very cheesy taco offering with pepper jack cheese baked right into the shell? That new menu item is a coordinated response intended to feed you more cheese and help Big Dairy out of its hole.

All this work with fast food companies comes courtesy of Dairy Management Inc., a nonprofit group that assists Big Dairy to grow sales and increase demand for dairy products.

Why are we propping up this often heinous industry? Why do we allow our tax dollars to keep it limping along? Care2 has already told you about the half a million cows killed at the behest of Big Dairy just to keep more milk from flooding the market. Those lives didn’t matter a whit to the industry. They were gone in a blink of an eye because Big Dairy needed it to be that way.

row of cows being milked

Photo credit: Thinkstock

You already know about the death warrant hanging over the head of every male calf born to a dairy cow. Each of those youngsters must leave his mother almost immediately after birth, to be kept in a small hutch until he’s turned into veal. Dairy cows on factory farms live a sad existence as perpetual milk machines, manually impregnated over and over to keep the milk flowing.

If people aren’t buying milk and cheese, there’s a reason. The dairy industry needs to move with the times and start extricating itself from animal-based products. If Tyson Foods can recognize meat is on its way out and begin investing in the vegan meat substitute industry, the dairy industry can do likewise for milk.

Demand for plant-based milks has never been higher. We’re now buying almond milk, coconut milk, pea protein milk and cashew milk. New plant-based cheeses are coming out all the time. They’re getting better and better, and are usually much healthier options.

Dairy industry, it’s a watershed moment for you. Will you see the light? Will you evolve with the times? Or will you implode and die?

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Sarah Hill
Sarah Hillabout a year ago

This is such a sinful waste! There are too many children dying from lack of nutrition, send it to them.

Dianne D.
Dianne Dabout a year ago

what a dirty industry. I gave up dairy a long time ago. I refuse to support an industry that promotes animal cruelty. When I crave ice cream, I'm satisfied with sherbert

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

Ann B.
Ann Babout a year ago

and America and other countries have starving children and seniors????? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE ?? and where is the government help----politicking on TV i guess!!!

S M.
S Mabout a year ago

Shows how corporate plans for profit are a non-sense and cows suffering needlessly on factory farms.

Erin C.
Erin Cabout a year ago

I'm glad to hear more people are turning away from dairy products, but what a waste. Can we even fathom how many animals suffered so that 43 million gallons of milk could just be wasted? So sad.

Philippa Powers
Philippa Powersabout a year ago

I agree with Anne P. It's time the dairy industry was either outlawed or drastically overhauled.

Ruth C.
Ruth Cabout a year ago

I totally agree with you Anne P

Anne P.
Anne Pabout a year ago

So these poor dairy cows were tortured and their babies stolen for nothing. People ask me why I'm an ethical vegan - here is a compelling reason.

Marija Mohoric
Marija Mohoricabout a year ago

What a stupid world...