Other Vegan Views articles
The Vegan Concept by Arthur Ling (Plamil Foods), Vegan Views 100 (Spring 2004)

Composition of Milk Differs for Each Species


A vegan is logical in stating that cow's milk was never meant for humans. Milk is a food secreted by female mammals to ensure that their offspring adjust from the womb to the outside world. The milk for each species of mammal is nutritionally tailored to its particular nutritional needs. THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF COWS AND HUMANS IS QUITE DIFFERENT. When a calf is born it must quickly build a strong bone structure in order to stand and move about. Cow's milk, richer in protein, minerals and fats than human milk, is designed to promote this. The greatest early development in humans, however, is not in bone and muscle, but in the nervous system. Human milk is therefore rich in easily digestible fats intended to build up the nervous system. It contains lighter, more digestible protein than cow's milk, and is sweeter and more alkaline.

 Time by which
weight is doubled
Calcium contained
in 100 parts of milk
Human180 days0.032
Horse60 days0.124
Ox47 days0.160
Goat19 days0.210
Sheep10 days0.272
Dog8 days0.453
Rabbit7 days 0.891


The whole system of the dairy industry is unnatural and abhorrent. Dairy milk is based on a principle of cruelty and inhumane practice. Within a few days of birth, the majority of calves are sold through auctions or dealers and a few are slaughtered almost immediately. Some calves go (mostly for export with horrendous journeying) to be reared for veal or baby beef. The rest are reared for a year or longer after marketing as young calves to be killed for beef. Rennet (for cheese making) comes from the stomach of a newly born calf, which is slaughtered. Constant births are brought on by artificial insemination and higher and higher milk yields (for profit) are induced. All are forms of systematic exploitation without regard to the pain, anguish and distrust of the animals. All this in order that so-called civilised man may have ("steal" would be a better word) the milk, which unquestionably was meant for the calf and no other species.

This is explained in more detail. The heifer (female calf) will give birth to her first calf when she is approximately two year of age. Her calf is then taken away from her a day or two after birth. About 10% of calves die before they are six months old. The heifer, developed for high milk yields, is then milked to capacity up to 45/50 litres (10/11 gallons) per day ten times the amount a calf would drink. The heifer is milked for ten months after her calf's birth. During this time she is already pregnant, having been artificially inseminated, and she is only rested for a scant few weeks before her next calf is born. The heifer is put in calf about 12 weeks after the birth of her calf, so she gives birth to a calf every year. The dual burden of pregnancy and lactation makes the heifer susceptible to disease mastitis in particular, an infection of the udder, which occurs in one out of every three of our cows. Every year over 17 million shots of antibiotics are administered into the udders of the our cows. Dairy cows are slaughtered at an early age 25% before they are 3 years old. Only 25% live for more than seven years. A cow's natural life span is 20 years.

Harry Mather adds...

When Vegan Views first appeared calves were still allowed to be kept in boxes in which they were not able to turn round and were given feed devoid of iron so that their flesh would be white in order to satisfy the fancy of the consumer. As a result of strong campaigning, veal crates were made illegal in the U.K. in the 1990s.

Unfortunately veal crates were still being used in other European countries, and veal could still be found in eating places in Britain. The cruel trade of exporting small calves to the continent therefore continued and Compassion in World Farming organised demonstrations in Dover, Shoreham, Plymouth, Brightlingsea ports and at Coventry airport (where tragically Jill Phipps lost her life).

Although media coverage was extensive and strong and wide public sympathy was aroused, exports of live animals continued until the panic over BSE (mad cow disease) resulted in a ban on any cattle being imported into foreign countries and the trade ceased for more than a year until Britain was declared free of BSE.

The European Parliament has voted to ban the use of veal crates and we can hope that this cruel practice will eventually disappear. The surest way to end the cruelty involved would be for people to avoid the use of milk and milk products and to put an end to the false belief that consuming plenty of milk has a health benefit. For instance, the popular belief is that osteoporosis (brittle bone disease) can be avoided by consuming more milk when in fact the consumption of much milk may lead to an overacid diet which will result in the body leaching calcium from the bones and result in the very osteoporosis it is aimed to prevent.

There is also increasing evidence these days that a noticeable proportion of the population is allergic to milk because they have lost the lactase, the enzyme needed break down the lactose in milk This has been found in African populations where they do not normally consume milk after weaning and are unable to digest milk as adults.


A day or so ago I came across a list of the "Aims and Objectives" of a group I founded in 1988 called "Vegan Business Connection" (VBC). This group has been admirably carried on by Patrick Smith of Veggies of Nottingham over a number of years.

It is interesting to see amongst the Aims and Objectives there was one worded in relation to labelling "For manufacturers to indicate clearly where the product is vegan". This need was met 2 or 3 years later by the Vegan Society adopting a trademark to appear on labels where applicable.

A crucial aim at the time and one that still seems very distant to being met reads "where a product is under the name of a company which is a subsidiary of a larger one, that the name of the parent company be placed on the label alongside (immediately after) the name of the subsidiary".

Donald Watson (founder of the Vegan Society) has provided an excellent lead by exclaiming that: "Vegans advance veganism by their purchases". Alas however, some dedicated vegans purchase products in all good faith, whereas in many cases they would be horrified to learn that at the end of the day their money is in effect helping an associate company who trade in meat and milk products.

How do we overcome this problem? Some may wish to put pressure on the labelling authorities to bring in regulations to make it mandatory for the holding company's name to be put on the label, but fear vested interests would be opposed to any progress in this direction.

For those of you who have the time to spare, it would be very revealing to examine company records at: Companies House, Crown Way, Cardiff CF14 3UZ. Tel: 0870 333 3636.

The result could be sent to Vegan Views (Flat A15, 20 Dean Park Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH1 1JB) to produce an interesting follow up article in a future issue of V.V.

May I suggest that you first look through the pages of the Animal Free Shopper (published by The Vegan Society) and you will see a symbol against companies where "the company has at least one vegan proprietor". You can also look up the names of the VBC members as listed by Patrick Smith in the Animals Contacts Directory published by: Veggies of Nottingham, 245 Gladstone Street, Nottingham. Tel: 0845 458 9595. Email: acd@veggies.org.uk.

These two sources will indicate manufacturing firms whose products you may happily purchase, but otherwise beware, bearing in mind Donald Watson's guideline: "Vegans advance veganism by their purchases".

Plamil has always been an independent (100%) vegan) company and has a Trust in place to ensure it will remain independent and 100% vegan.

The History of Vegan Milk in U.K.

When Plamil pioneered British made soya milk in 1965, it undertook consultation with vegan medical doctors in order to conform to the vegan concept and arrive at a formula for humans with vegan infants particularly in mind, because there was nothing whatsoever on which vegan infants could be weaned. Quite naturally, the fortification was based on human milk compositional formula. As a result of this Plamil formula it has been possible over a period of thirty years to create records of vegan infants successfully weaned on it, culminating in the current vegan infants case history booklet. In order to conserve packaging and transportation Plamil soya was initially marketed in concentrated form (to dilute one to one) and it is in 2003 still the only one available in this form. Furthermore in November 2001 the Woman's Own magazine voted it the winner of all the soya milks available, to quote, "it has a much nicer flavour than the others tested".

Around the early 1980s, two multinationals (not vegan orientated) imported soya milks but they were not fortified. After two decades one (in the year 2000) fortified one of their brands but this fortification was not with any thoughts of veganism in mind but was commercially directed, i.e. by adding calcium to the level of cow's milk purely as a sales gimmick. In turn the other multinational decided to bring out a fortified version and this included even more calcium purely in an endeavour to gain sales, but with no thought whatsoever on vegan nutritional requirements. This perpetuated the fraudulent propaganda, on which the Dairy Council has been spending millions of pounds for years (mostly subsidised), stating the people need high levels of calcium to avoid osteoporosis. This is contrary to the vegan concept whereby the composition of milk varies with each specie and which shows that humans do not need the high levels of calcium which are in cow's milk (cow's milk 119 grams per 100 grams, human milk 32 per 100g).

Ed: it's worth noting that Provamel, who make the Alpro range of soya milks include fish, etc, in their recipes.

Healthy Vegan Infants/Children gives individual case histories of children being brought up as vegans and also professional advice. £2 from: Plamil Foods, Bowles Well Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT19 6PQ. Tel: 01303 850588. Web: www.plamilfoods.co.uk.

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Cross-reference: Milk