Friday, February 22, 2013

Ethical Dairy - How do YOU choose?

Unfortunately, my knowledge of this has only been relatively recent.  I thought that unlike caged hens, surely dairy cows had it better.  Well, they do, but they don't depending on which farm and how you look at it.  Cows have to be pregnant or feeding a calf, to keep making milk.  So cows are continually impregnated.  So they don't get a rest and then what to do if the calves are boys?  Ship them off to market... well, ok because that's how most commercial meat comes about but exactly how - and at what age?  And what are the rules that make it ethical and are they adhered to?

Do they go at only a few days old, frightened and very vulnerable?  Just a few days born, with no feed and no assurance of gentle or ethical treatment?

Well, this is what I had to ponder as I read through a discussion (which darnit I cannot find the link to) and a post by over at Living a Little Greener, 'My Milk Dilemma'.  Then checked out the RSCPA site.  I don't do non-Fairtrade chocolate (otherwise I'm enjoying chocolate with my kids, while other people's children are slaves in order for me to have it), I don't do caged eggs (when we buy them, because the girls are low on the laying at the moment) and I buy free range and organic chicken if I can.  When we can we buy Redtail Ridge bulk organic beef packs... As a start.  So what about dairy?

Well, I remember somewhere a write up of milk in WA, what you could get (organic/non-homogenised/standard) and what it would come packaged in (but again, my link-ability is letting me down!).  I've emailed a few places.  Some are happy for you to come visit, some have a good and open policy and then there's this one in SA Barambah Organics that has a 'no-kill' policy with regard to their Bobby cows...

but what about here, in WA?  what is there and what is behind it?  I won't support cage eggs, so I want to try and find more ethical dairy choices.  These are the brands I've tried so far:
  • Margaret River Organic milk - available in 2 and 1 litres, in skim and full cream.  Non-homogenised (has the cream still in it).  Available at our local IGA and at the local Coles, funnily enough.
  • Brunswick Dairy cheddar cheese - local, delicious cheese that tastes like a cross between cheddar, mozarella and parmesan.  Also available at our local IGA
  • Bannister Downs milk - more eco friendly packaging in their pouches and limited access to glass bottled milk (which I would love to try!) - again, IGA if you want this one.
  • Harvey Fresh - local and we buy their UHT lactose-free version as standard and the full cream if the Margartet River or Bannister Downs or A2 isn't available.  Available in Woolies, Coles and IGA.
they're all local which was my first thing I wanted to find and have ethical extras of one kind or another.  What I'm having a hard time finding is
  • local butter - bonus if it's organic or other ethical standing
  • local yoghurt that is low cal and all natural.
  • local milk - preferably organic - in glass
I haven't yet tried Sunnydale milk, in glass (excitement!) but I would like to... putting that on my list...
If you know of any more brands, or have more info on anything I've posted on in terms of dairy or other, please do share.  If you have a link to the discussion about what milk you can get in WA and in what containers (glass, plastic, pouch) that would be fantastic too!

then I guess the choice comes down to, if you can't find one product with it all, do you preference local over organic?  Or organic over local... or...?  I know cost comes into it, though I'm happy to use less milk and buy slightly better quality/ethical milk - same time I know I am lucky to be in a position to have that choice...

UPDATE: Milk in glass! post

1 comment:

rabidlittlehippy said...

Wow, you HAVE done your homework. We too are facing this dilemma and I am hoping to source through friends some direct fromt he farm raw organic milk.
If you can source ethical cream and milk you can make butter (whip the cream til it separates into butter and buttermilk in a food processor for a few minutes or by hand if you have hours to spare) and yoghurt is easy to make too. Start with a good quality yoghurt for your starter culture and then it's just your milk. If you google making yoghurt you'll find heaps of posts on how to. We make our own although as yet our milk is not all it should be. I am currently working on my darling husband to let us keep goats as they will eat the weeds we have, provide manure and then I will be making our own raw organic cheese, yoghurt and butter from our extremely local animals. :)

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