Exclusive: undercover inside the US dairy industry
With planning permission for Britain's biggest dairy at Nocton about to be re-submitted, The Ecologist travels to California to examine intensive milk production - and finds factory farms, conflict, intimidation, pesticides, pollution and small-scale farmers driven out of business...
ĎYou better get out of here or your gonna get your ass kicked or worse,í the leathery-faced farmer slurred, picking his words carefully as we pulled up outside his milking parlour. It was coming to the end of our first day in the US, and despite our best efforts to persuade the farmers otherwise, it was clear that journalists are not welcome in this part of the world.
Far from the glittering lights and well trodden-tourist paths that people normally associate with California, the vast udders of Americaís dairy industry run through the Central Valley, a rarely-visited arid plain that stretches down the state, wedged in between the Sierra foothills and the Californian coast.
This is the breadbasket of the USA, where almond farms, grapes and corn are carved out of the scrubby desert and grown on eye-wateringly large scales. It is also home to the largest dairies on the planet, a concentration of several hundred milk farms so vast, that in Tulare county alone, there are over 900,000 cows, producing in excess of a billion dollars worth of milk each year.
But as an Ecologist investigation carried out in conjunction with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has discovered, the Central Valley has also become a battleground for an unreported conflict, pitting community activists and family farmers against the might of mega dairy farms that have taken root here.
Factory or farm?
For a first-time visitor, the sight and scale of a mega dairy is overwhelming; enormous open-air sheds, mountains of feed, million-gallon pools of slurry and thousands upon thousands of listless cows. Granted access by disgruntled dairy employees, we were able to observe a mega dairy in operation. More akin to a factory production line than a farm long lines of cows could be seen stumbling over outstretched udders as they were driven back and forth to the robotic-like, rotary-milking parlours.
It is a continual daily cycle that stops only when the milk output begins to tail off, and the animals are either re-impregnated or sent off to slaughter; burnt out and discarded after only a few years of life on the factory floor. Animals in American mega dairies will never see a patch of grass in their life, and the only respite comes from shade in the dusty open-air lots where they wait between milking. Even here the animals will not get a chance to really rest; high-milk yielding cows suffer from chronic Ďnegative energy balanceí, where the cow uses more energy in making milk that she can physically take in by eating, losing body condition as a result.
The Holstein is the favoured breed of choice for most mega dairies, their towering bony frames contrasting wildly with bulging vein-filled udders swinging underneath them. Milk produced by them is of a lower quality with a higher pus content in the milk than that produced by other cow breeds, but what these freakishly-bred animals lack in quality, they make up for in quantity: milked three times a day and propped up with growth hormones to boost milk production, and antibiotics to stave off frequent infections, milk output in the Holstein has doubled in the last 40 years alone.
Itís not just the animals that suffer. Tom Frantz is a retired schoolteacher and grew up in Shafter, a small town in Tulare County. ĎUntil 1996, there weren't any dairies near me, then we got the first mega dairy situated close to here, followed by several others. Within a couple of years at the local school we had two big problems that have never existed beforeÖ the school was invaded by hoards of flies, nasty biting flies, clogging the water coolers and forcing the teachers to hang fly strips in the middle of each classroom. It changed things, changed the atmosphere of the school. Then nitrates in the water showed up. The school had always used water from its own well in the past, but suddenly the nitrate level doubled, then tripled, making it unsafe to drink,í he told The Ecologist.
Thanks for reading and for your response in advance.
This all started about 1.5 years ago with lower back pain. The pain progressively got worse. I saw primary docs, chiropractors and physical therapists for the pain. After about 1 year of no pain relief, a back specialist did some blood tests and found out I was positive for the HLA-B27 gene. His early diagnosis was Ankylosing Spondolitis (an autoimmune disease), but this needed to be verified by a Rheumatologist. Around this same time, I also did biofeedback therapy and found out I was sensitive to gluten, dairy, soy and sugar.
Now I am currently working with a RA, but the process is slow. Still waiting to get an MRI to confirm AS.
I have had suspicions that I also had Candida Overgrowth , so 1 month ago I went on a strict diet. I have read candida can penetrate the gut and cause severe damage to the GI. The diet consisted of no grains, no sugars (no fruit), no dairy, and lots of low starch veggies, meat and some fish.
I also supplemented with ColonX (dr natura brand) Cleanser and the following anti-fungals: Olive Leaf
Grapefruit Seed Extract, Oregano Oil, Coconut Oil and occasional Pau'daurco Tea. My normal vitamins include a Multi, Vit D, Magnesium, Fish Oil, Pro-biotic and Curamed.
The first 27 days of the diet no effect on the candida. Day 28-32 (current day) have been insane diarrhea and just overall feeling awful and having an upset stomach. I've noticed small little white chunks in my poop. I have also lost about 30 pounds due to the diet and eating healthy. I used to weight about 175 and now weight 145. I am 32 yr male 5'10 and need to gain some of the weight back.
Here are a few questions...
What are the small off-white chunks in my poop? They look different than anything I have seen before. Is that candida, parasite, or something else?
How long should I be on the anti-fungals going forward? I am taking a 6 day break currently from anti-fungals and just taking my normal vitamins and pro-biotic. There is a 6 day break in the Colon Cleanse I am using. Just taking the fiber portion of it right now.
If it is Candida that I have could that be the cause of the Autoimmune issue?
If anyone has gone through this before how long does the die off period last? It has been hard to manage all the pain and constant trips to the bathroom.
How do I gain weight back while I'm on the candida diet?
If the diet you are on is/was the solution for your EC, you would have felt a significant improvement already after 5-10 days.
I takes max 5-10 days to stop inflammation of the skin, when it is triggered by eliminated food.
I takes max 14 days to stop lip peeling, when it is triggered by eliminated foods.
There are several possibilities here:
1. milk and grains are not your problem, not something that is triggering inflammation, but some other food still may be the problem.
2. milk and grains are your problem, they are something that is triggering inflammation, but they are not the only problem, you are hypersensitive to several other things, you also react to something else, something like laundry detergent , SLS , or cat dander, dog dander, pollen , eggs , meat , tomatoes , strawberries , peanuts , hazelnuts , walnuts , soy , corn oil , raspberries , bananas, food additives , or whatever else ... and because that something else is still inside of you or in touch with you, your EC did not improve.
3. Your EC has nothing to do with what you eat, it has some other trigger or other cause like liver congestion ...
One way to make sure food has nothing to do with your EC is to try Water Fasting for 3-5 days. If no improvement in your lips, that would be a strong indication that food has nothing to do with your EC.
In case you do have some improvement, , that would be a strong indication that food may have something to do with your EC.
In that case follow the Elimination-Rotation Diet to find out what you react to ...
Several people reported cure on gluten free diet (paleo is even more strict than gluten free) and several people reported cure on candida diet, (paleo is as strict and as low carb as many different candida diets )
if food intolerance is a trigger for EC, in order to eliminate EC, you must eliminate all foods you are intolerant of.
If you are only intolerant of Gluten, and if that intolerance is the only EC trigger, the only reason why someone have EC, elimination of Gluten from diet may naturally eliminate EC.
That is the case for ibringgoodnews (the person who started this thread), and also several other people who replied inside this thread with having similar experience after eliminating all gluten.
The problem is when someone is intolerant of more than just one single food, and in the same time that intolerance is a trigger for EC.
I believe you actually may be the person who falls into that other category.
"I have been GLUTEN FREE FOR 2 years. I still have this. I never had pain or swollen lips. I think you had something else associated with Gluten."
If I got it right, after 2 years of being GLUTEN FREE you still have EC?
Here are 3 possible logical explanations for your experience:
1. You have never been intolerant of Gluten (not very likely, most people who are gluten free for 2 years do have some form of intolerance ), and Gluten intolerance was never your EC TRIGGER, and because of that, elimination of gluten is not curing or helping your EC.
2. You are gluten intolerant BUT gluten intolerance was not actually EC trigger, and because of that, elimination of gluten is not curing or helping your EC.
3. You are gluten intolerant, and gluten intolerance is actually EC trigger, BUT gluten intolerance is not the ONLY ONE SINGLE trigger or the ONLY ONE SINGLE REASON why you have EC.
Because of that, elimination of gluten is not curing or improving your EC, as you still have some other triggers that you need to eliminate or some other health problems that you need to fix.
"I think you had something else associated with Gluten."
It sounds as if you got it actually all wrong.
ibringgoodnews , the person who started this thread, actually figured out his EC trigger correctly, and achieved cure, but it is you who still need to figure out what it is you are intolerant of, or what else beside gluten you need to do to fix your EC.
Read messages by longterm, she is gluten intolerant, but that was not enough to fix EC, she also needed some vitamins and minerals in order to fix it, as her intestines have been damaged and she may have problems absorbing vitamins, even when available in her diet.
In other words, your case of EC is far more complicated than ibringgoodnews case.
Please feel free to correct me if my logic and my reasoning is wrong.
Hi everyone! I am discouraged because I finished the 10 day master cleanse and only lost 2 pounds. I wanted to know why this could be? Before master cleansing I ate fairly healthy and went to the gym 3x a week. Pre-day I drank juices all day, Day 1- 10 I would do Salt-Water-Flush every morning and drink the lemonade (grade b syrup, cayenne pepper, purified water, organic lemons) 8-12 cups a day. Day 11 I drank orange juice, next day OJ and soup, next day soup, juices, salads... I also started a vegan diet to see if I would lose more weight and started going heavy at the gym. I have lost 1 pound after a couple of days going vegan and I have been extremely sore after the gym (muscle strain). I am 5'0 and weight 107 (fat % 23) before The Master Cleanse I was 110 and 26% body fat. My ideal goal is 18% body fat and 100 pounds in weight.
Also has anyone else gone through a similar experience?