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Dave Hughes: Give up animal milk

This petition had 1,489 supporters

Despite that - or perhaps because - he grew up in the dairy hub of Victoria, famous Australian comedian Dave Hughes believes that "milk is for baby cows".

On 20 August 2013, when a caller on the popular Hughesy and Kate breakfast radio show mentioned they had given up milk, Dave said he was going to think about doing it too because, he said, "I do believe that milk is for baby cows, that they are the ones who should be sucking on their mother’s teats”.

Wanting to get behind Dave and show positive support for his idea, this petition was launched and the following day Dave decided to try ditching dairy for a week.

Dave, a pescatarian, is not alone in questioning the dominant animal consumption culture. Across the globe there are many others who have questioned it too. There are many vegans with public profiles, such as Bill Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Mike Tyson, Casey Affleck, Alec Baldwin, Anne Hathaway, Betty White, Woody Harrelson and many more.

So why is it that one more celebrity questioning popular belief is enough to make front page news with the headline "DON'T DO IT DAVE"? (The Standard, 21 August 2013) 

Dairy Australia "quickly launched" a list of 13 reasons why milk is "good". Lobby group Farmer Power urged people to object to the "radical campaign". Dave's hometown Mayor, a former dairy farmer, said "Dave, we'd rather laugh with you than at you".

Why is the dairy industry so worried about one radio host stopping consuming their product? Especially when the Corangamite Shire Council mayor and former dairy farmer Cr Chris O'Connor said to Hughesy on radio on 23 August 2013 that "dairy is going pretty well at the moment to be honest".

Why did it scare them so much that Dave was pressured into drinking milk live on air by co-host Kate Langbroek who poured him a glass of milk and chanted "drink that milk… drink it Hughesy, drink it", after the earlier phone call from the Mayor, a call from his brother and a text from his mother that read: "The farmers are very unhappy with you - just drink your milk".

Why was the risk of putting ordinary people in a position where they might have to actually think about their behaviour so much of a threat?

Could it be that questioning the unquestionable - the assumed necessity of consuming animal milk - on national radio might lead people to realise that consuming animals products is a choice that stems from beliefs rather than an immutable fact of nutrition? Could people start questioning the myths and justifications that support our consumption of animal milk and, even worse, make the simple decision to refuse to consume it?

When speaking of vegans, Cr O'Connor said on air, "you gotta take them on Hughesy". To which Dave responded "I don't wanna take on the vegans. The vegans have their point". 

At one point Dave said he was feeling under pressure. One can't begin to imagine the sort of pressure he may have been under by industry, family, friends, co-workers and potentially even sponsors, to go back on his personal challenge.

Dave - we think you did a great job of holding out for so long against such an overwhelming tide of social pressure. You didn't need to mention this petition on radio, nor did you need to challenge yourself to do anything - so you've also done a great thing bringing this issue to the attention of all of your listeners. Thank you for whatever consciousness raising you were able to achieve by being open and honest about your concerns regarding animal milk consumption.

The vast majority of people who consume animal milk actually care about animals, but there is a gap between their values and actions, which Harvard-educated psychologist, professor of psychology and sociology Dr Melanie Joy says leaves people with three options: to change their behaviour, change their values, or change their 'perception of their behaviours so that they appear to match their values'. This is how most people feel comfortable enough to consume animals, and if we never discuss this or challenge this… if it remains invisible… then we never really have to worry about what we're doing.

And, Dave, we know you care too. You believe that milk is for baby cows. When you worked in an abattoir you used to "talk to the sheep as they were corralled to their deaths". (The Australian, 10 September 2011). You explained your experiences of working in an abattoir on Channel 10's The Project, of seeing the fear the animals had in their eyes, that they were merely electrocuted before they had their throats slit, and that it was "horrible". 

The ideal that we've all been sold of the happy cow who has to be milked is a lie, as exposed in many videos available online. There is also much literature on the "free range" myth.

You did well to hold out even for a few days against the intense pressure you were under Dave. 

This page is staying open because we hope that - whether privately or publicly - you will continue to question the dominant, society-wide and violent ideology that results in good people unknowingly participating in acts of cruelty that they would be opposed to if asked directly about them.



Read the petition below.



Please sign this petition to show your positive support for Dave Hughes to give up animal milk.

On Tuesday 20 August 2013, the Hughesy and Kate breakfast show had a segment on what people had given up. One caller mentioned they had given up milk. Dave said he was going to think about doing this because he knew that cow’s milk is “for baby cows”.

If one caller is enough to make Dave consider giving up dairy milk, then I am asking you to please add your voice to this petition so that we can have more than one and really get Dave thinking.

On Wednesday 21 August 2013, Hughesy and Kate spoke about the petition on their radio show and Dave said he would have a go at giving up dairy for a week. Link:

Good on you Dave for trying something different and thinking about the choices you make! It will make a wonderful difference to your health, the environment and animal welfare.

To everyone reading, please show your continued positive support because the industry sector has criticised this petition. The Standard Newspaper has a poll question asking "Do you support Hughes' statement that milk is "for baby cows"? Please vote here:

Let's reach the goal of 1,000 signatures to show there is some weight behind this, and to remind him over the next week of the many reasons he should keep this up for longer than one week!

Dave Hughes is a famous Australian comedian, co-host of Nova 100's brekkie show Hughesy & Kate, co-host of Ten's The Project and Before the Game. He is also well-known for making compassionate choices about what he eats. I’m not sure whether he is vegetarian or pescatarian, although this is beside the point. The aim of this petition is to show our support to Dave for giving up dairy milk.


The following 13 reasons for ditching dairy are taken from the website Plant Powered Kitchen. Links, pictures and the full entry is here:

For 2013, why not do the one single thing that can have a huge impact on your health and the environment – DITCH dairy!

I talk about dairy far more than any other animal ‘food’. I think we consume so much of it without even realizing, and unlike meat products which we know we should reduce or eliminate… most of us truly believe that dairy is good for us. I want to change that. Last year I created a list of 12 reasons to dump the dairy, many very important issues summarized in one post. I’ve updated it this year, and of course, added another VERY good reason, so here you have it folks…

13 Reasons to Ditch Dairy in 2013
13. There have never been more – or better – dairy alternatives. I became vegan almost 20 years ago. Our alternatives for non-dairy milks were: bad-tasting soy milk and bad-tasting rice milk. That was it. Now? You are spoiled, people! Have a look at just some of the dairy-free options available:

Milks: Coconut milks, Almond Milks, Rice Milks, Soy milks (always organic, please), Hemp, Flax, Oat, and blends like Almond-Coconut. Really – there isn’t ONE option in all of these that is at least as good as – or better than – cow milk?

Cheeses: Daiya shreds and Daiya wedges probably earn top spot here for commercial cheeses. But, there are many more recipes available too. Try my two vegan parmesan alternatives, my ‘Truffled Cashew Cheese’ (pictured below, from LTEV, and recipe coming soon). And, have you seen Miyoko Schinner’s new Artisan Vegan Cheese cookbook? WOW!

Truffled Cashew Cheese
Yogurts: Coconut yogurts and greek yogurts, Organic Soy, Almond.

Ice Creams: Oh, you guys are lucky! Coconut ice creams from Coconut Bliss (my FAVE!) and So Delicious, Rice ice creams by Good Karma, soy ice creams, and then many nut and seed based ice creams like almond creams, hemp, and cashew. Or, make your own with my “Dreena Dazs” recipes!

12. Cancer Prevention. Prostate, breast, and ovarian cancers have been linked to dairy consumption. And, if you’ve read The China Study, you’re aware of the link between casein (the main protein in milk) and cancer. If not, READ it! Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and author of The China Study, says casein is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered. Think about how often children are pushed to eat milk, yogurt, and cheese. Childhood diets rich in dairy products are associated with cancer in adulthood. For more, watch this video from Dr. Colin Campbell.

11. Cheese is addictive. That’s why it’s so darn hard to stop eating the stuff. But, as you’ll learn in Julieanna’s brief video (and through this list), it’s best to kick the cheese (and dairy) habit.

10. Osteoporosis. Seems counterintuitive. We’re supposed to drink milk to protect against osteoporosis, right? So why do the countries that guzzle the most dairy have the highest osteoporosis rates? We now know that it’s not just calcium intake, but absorption and loss. When we eat diets high in animal protein (milk included), our bodies become acidic and calcium is drawn from our bones to neutralize that acidic environment – cheese is particularly acidic. Ditch the dairy (and the meat) to help maintain a more alkaline state in your body.

9. Plant-Based Calcium. Last year, the “Healthy Eating Plate” food guide pushed dairy off the plate, based on Harvard’s assessment that high intake can increase the risk of prostate cancer and possibly ovarian cancer, and also suggesting that foods like collards, bok choy, and baked beans are safer choices than dairy for obtaining calcium. Speaking of calcium sources and absorption, did you know that kale contains more calcium per calorie than milk (90 grams per serving) and is also better absorbed by the body than dairy? And that’s just ONE plant food you can eat. Other plant-foods boosting calcium include: beans, nuts like almonds and seeds like sesame, broccoli, collards, whole-grains, and tofu. (And if you think eating leafy greens is hard, I have a leafy-greens post coming up, stay tuned!)

8. Heart Disease. All that cheese and milk (and other dairy products) pack a wallop of cholesterol and saturated fat to one’s diet. A low-fat plant-based diet has been shown not only to prevent heart disease, but also reverse it. And, before you think low-fat dairy is okay, it has been linked not only to increases in allergies, but also type 1 (childhood-onset) diabetes.

7. Constipation. Milk and cheese have no fiber. (Neither does meat.) Dairy is constipating for children. Our children have never been constipated, yet I have heard parents talk about poo problems over and over. And, grownups, if the kiddos get constipated from dairy, you will too (maybe you are right now). There’s no need for laxatives. Eat a plant-based diet (rich in whole foods), and you’ll poop easy. There, I said it.

6. It stinks. Okay, there is nothing scientifically or even ethically sound about this argument. But, have you ever just smelled milk? Put aside the fact that you’ve been drinking it since your wee years. Take a glass and smell it. It has a stink. I guarantee that if you grew up drinking almond or coconut milk and you tasted COW milk, you would immediately say “peeU”! It is what we are conditioned to drink, and cow milk is – well – stinky… and, that’s even before it goes sour.

5. Antibiotics and hormones. The mass production of milk requires cows being stressed to unnatural levels. This stress results in mastitis in the cows, which requires antibiotics, which make their way into the milk in our markets. As well, synthetic hormones such as recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) are commonly used in dairy cows to increase the production of milk. Do you want to drink growth hormones and antibiotics? Do you want your children to? You may bypass this one point by choosing organic milk products – but that doesn’t change the composition of milk…

4. Saturated Fats, Cholesterol, and Hormones. Skim milk is marketed for lower fat content, yet a 2011 Harvard study of 12,829 children showed that the milk sugar in skim milk may make you fatter than whole milk. And, all milk products (as with ALL animal products) contain cholesterol. And, we have been sold the line that “organic” milk is the solution. But as explained in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition “just because you pay more for the ‘organic’ label doesn’t mean you’re getting a safe, toin-free product. Milk products are inundated with steroids and hormones (both naturally occurring and production-induced… and microbiological contaminants (think bacteria, viruses, parasites and mycotoxins) can also find their way into your dairy products.”

3. Animal cruelty. Dairy production might be the most offensive and heinous of all animal farming. Baby calves are pulled from their mothers at birth. Mother cows will bellow and search after being separated from their young. While female calves are slaughtered or kept alive to produce milk, male calves are taken, chained in tiny stalls and raised for veal. And, since is unprofitable to keep dairy cows alive once their milk production declines, they are usually killed at 5 to 6 years of age (though their normal life span exceeds 20).

2. Lactose Intolerance. I would guess that if any of us were tested, we would be deemed ‘lactose intolerant’. It is estimated that about 75 percent of the world’s population are ‘lactose intolerant’, and those that aren’t (primarily Caucasians) tolerate milk sugar because of an inherited genetic mutation. That’s because the milk is meant for cows, not people…

1. It’s COW milk. Again: milk. from. a. cow! Why are we all drinking milk from a cow when we wouldn’t drink the milk from our lactating dog or cat… or milk from a horse, pig, or racoon?!

We are the ONLY species that drinks the milk of another species, consuming it long after weaning. Would you go out into a field and suckle from a cow?! I don’t think so. Think about that connection. Just think about it.

Have you already given up dairy?  If so, what have you noticed?  (Please share your experiences for other readers.)

If not, what is YOUR reason to dump dairy in 2013?

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