Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2014


Environmental Science


Edward Van Buren


The product of milk is a staple to American culture and diet. Described as the “perfect food,” this notion has been ingrained through decades of misleading information as well as persuasive marketing and advertisement implemented by government officials and industry leaders. However as health risk rise, questions concerning the validity of milk calorie and nutritional value, the use of bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and subtherapeutic antibiotics rise as well. In my thesis paper, I will study the history of the dairy industry and how their agenda quickly transitioned from the benefit of the customer to the benefit of the industry. In other words I would like to discuss the industry’s use of highly controversial methods, including the use of injecting cows with powerful growth hormones rBGH (or rBST), that was manufactured by pharmaceutical and chemical moguls in order to force fewer cows to produce more milk. Although approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), scientists and consumers remain troubled with the little to no information surrounding the drug’s safety for consumers who drink the altered milk as well as the animal. Furthermore, I will discuss the industry’s operation and treatment of the cows; this includes animal rights and welfare. While these cows are genetically manipulated, artificially inseminated, and often drugged, it is clear that the dairy industry does not follow any code of ethics. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the intensive confinement, the filth, and the strain of being almost constantly pregnant and giving milk. Finally, I will propose and evaluate possible solutions and alternatives in alleviating the harm and treatment towards cows and how these solutions also include a change in American diets.