Cow milk is for calves

I’ve always wondered at this quote from vegans and animal rights activists about how humans are not adapted to digest cow milk and it should be rightly left for calves to drink. Also that after a certain age we develop general lactose intolerance which I can personally attest to.
My question is if cow milk is meant for calves why do dogs and cats drink it ?
I was watching a friend’s puppy being fed goat milk and it just did not feel right. :slight_smile:

They may like how it tastes, and giving cow’s milk to cats, at least, is a very common trope, but it’s not recommended by vets, as both species are often lactose-intolerant.

Although the majority of humanity as a whole loses the ability to digest lactose after weaning age there are a sizable minority of mutants who do not lose this ability and for whom milk is healthy and digestible into old age. Not everyone is lactose intolerant as an adult.

Because it tastes good to them.

Re: animal rights activists – that milk has been derived from a cow is in no way conclusive that the cow is being abused. I understand their opposition to factory cow-farming and the abuse that often goes with that, but they should narrow their brush to the actual issue.

Vegans are their own issue, and I don’t have the patience to go into it here. I wish they would let leave other folks alone. Let them worry about their own health.

Most people with European ancestry have a gene which allows them to digest lactose after infancy. Not coincidentally this is where dairy animals – goats, cattle, sheep – and dairy products of every kind, are most prevalent.

The rest of the world mostly lack this gene.

There is no generic “supposed to” when it comes to a world-wide omnivorous species such as we are. Ethics to one side, our bodies are equipped to exist on a vast variety of foods, and historically, there isn’t anything we can digest that we haven’t eaten, or fed to our carnivore companions.

Most milks are fairly similar in composition and texture. They vary in the details - human milk has the most lactose, sea mammals have the most fats, the protein fractions of casein and whey differ a bit - but the differences are small compared to the similarities. So most mammals can find most milks nutritious and even tasty, once they get used to them.

Humans have historically used not just cow’s milk, but milk from any easily milkable animal they domesticate: sheep, goats, water buffalo, camels, and more. Lactose intolerance is an issue, but getting around it is easy. Aging cheese drives out the lactose, fermentation in yougurt and kefir changes it into lactic acid, skimming and purification produce ghee. Having small amounts of dairy as part of a meal will buffer the lactose so that it’s less likely to cause the symptoms of intolerance - gas, bloating, farting, diarrhea. The same seems to be true for animals: giving one a small amount of milk might be quite tolerable. (Or might not.)

That cow’s milk is intended for calves and naturally selected to be the most healthy milk for them and not for other species is quite true. So what. Plants are intended to make more plants and are not in any way naturally selected to be healthy for humans, yet vegans insist on humans eating nothing but plants. That insistence is hypocritical and irrational when paired with “intended” foods. Tune it out.

I mean, am I “supposed to” eat avocado? It grows on the opposite side of the planet from where my ancestors lived and evolved alongside some megafauna big enough to swallow the giant seeds.

And we can ask similar questions about just about everything we eat.

I’ve never had a vegan tell me to do anything, directly or indirectly. IME as a group they generally have their personal choice and never try to convince me to change, to the extent it’s somewhat surprising to me.

That’s one of my superpowers. I’m 64 and I could happily chug a gallon of milk or eat a half gallon of ice cream with no ill effects.

I don’t think you’re going to learn good lessons making ethical decisions on what animals do. Dogs are poisoned by chocolate, but they’ll scarf it down if they get a chance. Does that mean we’re not meant to eat chocolate? My wife (though I’ve not asked her) would surely suggest you think carefully about your answer.

My extended family has never had a problem with lactose. So surely by your logic it’s moral if me and mine enjoy dairy products. Don’t fret, I’ll share with anybody who might like some.

Puppies and kittens are often weaned to solid foods using goat’s milk (mixed with solid food) as it is generally easier to digest than cow’s milk (for humans as well). Weaning is a short-lived stage, generally a few weeks only. In case you are wondering about that specific thing. I’m speaking about best practices, not what some clueless pet owner might do.

Vegans have definitely implied that my dietary habits are immoral and unhealthy. But then so have people on different food trips entirely. Seems a common human failing.

I’m one of the lucky ones. :wink:
6-7 gallons a month. Moo.

I’ve seen vegans out there that are so extreme they insist that cats and dogs can live on a vegan diet – doesn’t mean that’s true. And I’ve had cats that liked things like donuts, Cheetos, potato chips, bacon, cheese, lemonade, pumpkin loaf, pie crust, etc – does that make it their natural diet?
Just because we like something doesn’t automatically make it good for us, or that we’re “meant” to have it. All of us, human and animals, consume things that we shouldn’t.

(And fortunately, I’m not lactose intolerant, because I love a glass of ice cold milk)

“Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, with 70 to 100 percent of people affected in these communities. Lactose intolerance is also very common in people of West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, and Italian descent.”

“The prevalence of lactose intolerance is lowest in populations with a long history of dependence on unfermented milk products as an important food source. For example, only about 5 percent of people of Northern European descent are lactose intolerant.”

Thankfully, dairy products and I get along just fine.

Do vegans realize that vegetables and grains are meant for grazing animals?

I’ve seen this claim for years and I know many people believe it. Problem is, I know of no scientific evidence that makes it true. That column is old enough so that newer research may make the case, but a quick search didn’t find any.

I still drink a gallon of milk a week.

My doctor says I’m not a child anymore and there is no reason I need to drink it, but I said I like milk.

Yeah I’m about a gallon of milk a week kinda guy. Have been my entire life, I’m not remotely lactose intolerant. I generally think you should obviously avoid milk if you are. There’s nothing magical about milk, as far as I can tell, that makes it particularly healthy, and I think a healthy diet can exclude dairy entirely. I also am not too worried about the negatives of what I consider to be moderate milk consumption in lactose tolerant people.

All I can say is I’ve heard a lot of anecdotal evidence. Means little, I know.

I’m lactose intolerant, and I drink about 1 gallon of milk a week. I drink lactose-free milk. :slight_smile:

Mutant here. I drink more milk with one 16oz glass in one sitting than my two granddaughters (combined) drink in a year. I go thru about three gallons a week. During our recent record-setting heat wave (116*F in the PNW) nothing satisfied more than a 20 oz thermal insulated cup of milk with ice.

Please tell me there are at least a couple of topics that you aren’t knowledgeable about. I think I’m developing an inferiority complex just from reading your posts.