Seven-Layer Taco Dip
- Jennifer Diliddo
My mother loves to entertain. Growing up, my house was always filled with people. It was known as the “train station” because people were always coming and going. Everyone was welcome and there was always room for one more. When ever we have company my mother makes her famous seven-layer taco dip and chips, she calls it “the perfect snack”. Like this dish, many of the foods my mother prepares contain dairy products. We love her cheesecake, quesadillas, and bake macaroni and cheese. Dairy items are a large part of many Americans’ daily diets, including my families. In fact, the FDA suggests we consume 2 to 3 servings a day (www.kidshealth.org). The demand for products such as cheese, milk, and sour cream has lead to the mass production of dairy, also considered factory farming. Through commercials and advertisements the media portrays the image of wholesome dairy products. With ads such as GOT MILK?, we are encouraged to drink as much milk as possible. What we don’t see is where our dairy products actually come from. The media misleads us to believe that we are drinking and eating natural products from healthy animals. We are being misguided, many of us unaware of what we are consuming and the ill treatment of the animals that provide it.
The practices of factory farms create unsuitable and even disgraceful conditions for farm animals. Cows receive most of the burden of this mistreatment. We use cow milk for almost all mass produced dairy products. The mass production of dairy has virtually shut down individual farmers creating a market run by machines, medicines, and mistreatment.
Looking through an ecofeminist framework we can see that this mistreatment is unjust and oppressive. Ecofeminist are advocates of equal rights for the earth and all its beings. Dairy cows are certainly not given any rights according to factory farming rituals. Not only are they not treated equally, their rights are all together sacrificed. In order for cows to produce milk the must regularly conceive and bare calves. In order to keep milk flowing farmers impregnate their cows once a year. Once a cow gives birth she is separated from her child, and milked 2 or 3 times daily (www.factoryfarming.com). Even at these rates the cows do not produce the desired quantities of milk. In order to produce larger outputs farmers put hormones in the livestock’s feed. They are commonly given Bovine Growth Hormones (BGH); also know as Bovine Samatotropin (BST). These hormones help cows produce up to twenty times their natural milk supply (www.veganvanguard.com). Not only do these hormones cause problems in the cows, but they are also passed to humans through the consumption of the cow’s milk. Both live stock and human stock are negatively affected. Cow’s utters swell causing infection, and humans are bombarded with unnatural amounts of hormones. This practice is harmful to everyone involved.
Not only does factory farming take away the rights of “milk cows” it takes away their lives as well. The normal life span of a cow is about twenty-five years. Cows used in the milk and dairy industry have an average life span of about seven years. Many times cows die from exhaustion or are sent to the slaughter house because they are no longer “useful”. We take everything, without consideration for the life or well-being of the animal. Even the calves of the animals are mistreated. Male calves of “milk cows” are sent to the slaughter house to be used for low-grade veal products, and the females have to possible fates, slaughter or a life of milking.
As feminists, our goal is to keep a balance of equality and overcome oppression. Humans are not the only creatures faced with injustice. Institutions such as government, big business, and media are not only oppressive to humans but to animals and the environment as well. In order to stop one oppression we must battle them all, including the unjust practices of factory farming.