4 min read

The Onion Fails To Peel Back The Suffering Caused By Milk

<p>Benjamin Horn / <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/beije/16418551428/" target="_blank">Flickr</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY 2.0</a>)<span></span></p>

This article originally appeared on The Daily Pitchfork.

The Onion, a newspaper that publishes all the satire that's fit to print, recently ran a hilarious piece about Pepperidge Farm's famous "Milano" cookies. The story, "Pepperidge Factory Farm Under Fire For Inhumane Treatment Of Milanos" shows cookies crammed in cage-like baskets - a clever mockery of all those horrible factory farm images with animals jammed into impossibly tight spaces.

The story laments "the cramped and unsanitary conditions" afflicting the Milanos. It quotes an "outspoken snack advocate" saying, "What's most tragic is that many of these weak and vulnerable Milanos are so poorly handled and mistreated that they suffer extensive crumbling and even fractures in their biscuit shells, exposing their delicate chocolate and orange-flavored fillings to the elements."

Hehehe. Good stuff.

But the conceit skirts an irony that even satire shouldn't ignore. Cookies may not suffer, but the cows producing the milk used in the production of Milanos suffer terribly - and the media rarely notes it.

"Many of us assume that milk is as innocuous a product as an apple," writes Sherry Colb, Professor of Law and Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell University School of Law. "We have absorbed this message repeatedly from a very early age."

A cookie involving suffering? Not so absurd a notion, when you look at how cow's milk is produced for human consumption.

It starts with a heifer's forced impregnation. Female cows are strapped to a rack (common slang sometimes refers to the device as a "rape rack") and inseminated with semen stored in a massive syringe. There are nine million dairy cows in the US. Nearly every one of them suffers immensely from the results of this experience. (As this description suggests, the process itself is brutal.)

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