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Stop the USDA subsidizing of destructive and cruel dairy farms

This petition had 1,569 supporters

The USDA's recent 20 million dollar bailout of the dairy industry is a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars. The USDA has been subsidizing, and coming to the aid of the dying dairy industry for years. The citizens of the United States are no longer willing to stand silent as the USDA uses our money to attempt to save an industry that is on the brink of collapse.

CNBC stated “Dairy prices have dropped in the past two years, suffering from too much supply and not enough demand.” ( We as consumers are educating ourselves on the foods that we purchase, and the impact that these purchases have on our health, our planet, and the animals with whom we share our planet.

In 2012, the USDA spent $447, 081,952 on dairy farm subsidy and recovery programs. From 1995-2014, the USDA has spent $5.6 billion on dairy program subsidies.

The USDA has been offsetting the cost of dairy and funneling taxpayer contributions into the dairy industry under the guise of providing a “low cost” food product to Americans. It is not truly a low cost food, if American consumers tax dollars are spent on this unhealthy product. The recent bailout includes purchasing 11 million pounds of cheese that the USDA states will go to “needy places like food banks and pantries, the school lunch program, international aid and even prisons.” This is not a public service, but a self-serving veiled attempt at aiding those in need. Animal dairy products have a marginal nutrition profile, and are instead filled with saturated fats and are high in sodium.  

 Dr. Michael Greger, MD states, “Dairy products are not only high in saturated fat, but they are low in a number of beneficial dietary components such antioxidants, ergothioneine, an amino acid that may help protect our cells; and fiber, a nutrient that 97% of Americans are deficient in. Along with saturated fat, dairy products also contain cholesterol, trans fats, endotoxins, Neu5Gc, choline, all of which may raise the risk of inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and increased overall mortality risk. ( Providing animal dairy products to the struggling members of society is subjecting these individuals to a lifetime of poor health, and ensures that the childhood obesity epidemic in low income communities and food deserts continues to rise.

The impact of dairy farms on the environment is also cause for concern. Elizabeth Grossman, contributor to Yale e360, writes, “Dairy farms are immensely destructive to the environment. According to the EPA, a 2,000-cow dairy generates more than 240,000 pounds of manure daily or nearly 90 million pounds a year. The USDA estimates that the manure from 200 milking cows produces as much nitrogen as sewage from a community of 5,000 to 10,000 people. In excess, manure’s nutrients — largely nitrogen and phosphorus — can create problems. Too much in surface water can create algae blooms that result in hypoxic or oxygen-deprived dead zones. According to the EPA, excess nutrients from agriculture, including chemical fertilizers and dairy manure, are a major source of water pollution across the US.” (

Dairy farms not only pollute groundwater, but also have a substantial impact on global climate change. The Center for Disease Control’s own National Association of Local Boards of Health addresses CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and cites the following information from the EPA: “Aside from the possibility of lowering air quality in the areas around them, CAFOs also emit greenhouse gases, and therefore contribute to climate change. Globally, livestock operations are responsible for approximately 18% of greenhouse gas production and over 7% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (Massey & Ulmer, 2008). While carbon dioxide is often considered the primary greenhouse gas of concern, manureemits methane and nitrous oxide which are 23 and 300 times more potent as greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide, respectively. The EPA attributes manure management as the fourth leading source of nitrous oxide emissions and the fifth leading source of methane emissions (EPA, 2009).

 The citizens and taxpayers of the United States will no longer support an industry that is on its way out; an industry that is compromising our health and the environment. We have proven this through the simple fact of supply and demand-consumers do not want any more dairy. We want sustainable, accessible, healthy food. We want affordable plant based foods, and produce. We want our tax dollars subsidizing local organic farmers, not the destructive and outdated institution that is the animal dairy industry.

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