A young dairy calf with ID ear tags peers through the bars of a sale yard enclosure.

1 in 6 Australians are choosing dairy-free!

More and more Australians are choosing dairy-free milk, cheese and yoghurt. Here's why...

Animals Australia

Animals Australia team

Last updated June 9, 2016

The dairy-free movement is officially mainstream! A CSIRO study has revealed that millions of Australians are choosing kinder milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Everywhere you look these days, you will see evidence of changing times … When cafes in Melbourne started offering almond milk, we were impressed. When Coles and Woolworths put delicious, melty dairy-free cheese on their shelves, we were excited. When the trendiest gelato place in Newtown went 100% dairy-free we were lost for words!

Change is happening …

And it’s all because people are choosing kinder, healthier options. The CSIRO has said that 1 in 6 Aussies are steering clear of dairy, with the majority making this choice because they simply feel better without it. Anyone who has suffered bloating, gas or congestion from dairy would understand why. But then it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many people don’t feel their best after dairy when you consider that cow’s milk was never designed for humans.

The purpose of cow's milk is to turn a 65 pound calf into a 400 pound cow as rapidly as possible. Cow's milk is baby calf growth fluid. It's for baby calves. Are you a baby calf? If not, then don't drink baby calf growth fluid. There's nothing in it people need.
Dr Michael Klaper

With over 3 million Australians opting for dairy-free food, a huge market has opened up for delicious dairy-free products. As a result, it seems almost daily that we hear of a new milk, cheese, yoghurt, or ice cream product exploding into this space. Food retailers are embracing the movement too with dairy-free pizza, doughnuts, crepes, gelato and frozen yoghurt options popping up at rapid speed.

There’s never been a better time to be dairy-free. And regardless of why you make the choice, the impacts are astronomical — for yourself, for animals and for the planet.

This image contains content which some may find confronting

A closeup of a dairy cow calf
Meet Jordy.

Save lives

Jordy’s mother’s milk was intended to help him grow strong. But the more milk Jordy drinks, the less the dairy industry can sell to humans. So, in Australia and around the world, millions of calves are taken from their mothers and sent to slaughter, at only days old. Fortunately, Jordy was rescued by our friends at Brightside Farm Sanctuary. Choosing dairy-free spares the lives of more calves like Jordy.

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Back view of a person and looking to the mountains down below while standing on the top of mountain.

Reduce your carbon footprint

Animal agriculture is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change globally. The biggest percentage of the sector’s emissions is produced by cows raised for meat and dairy. Eating dairy-free is a simple way to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect our planet.

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A mother and her cute little daughter looking at each other and smiling. Both are carrying coffee cups in hands

Reduce your risk of cancer

Dairy consumption has been linked to increased risk of some types of cancer — particularly prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. One study found that in people under the age of 65, a diet high in animal protein (including dairy) could make you four times more likely to die of cancer or diabetes. In contrast, plant-based foods are generally high in protective anti-oxidants, fibre and phytochemicals.

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Dairy cow looking downwards to the camera from a packed pen with dirty conditions
Image credit: We Animals Media

Spare female cows from a lifetime of suffering

A cow in the dairy industry will be impregnated and, once she has given birth, have her newborn baby taken from her within a few short days. This will happen every year, over and over. After around 4 to 6 years, her body usually weakens, she may become lame or ill, and she will be sent to the slaughterhouse to be killed for cheap beef.

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Very happy looking a little boy and a girl splashing water and laughing

Dramatically cut your water consumption

A major Oxford University study found that a glass of cow’s milk takes 22 times as much water to produce as a glass of soy milk. An earlier study found similar results and also that soy burgers had a water footprint of 7% of the average beef burger.

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A barista making art on a coffee

Keep your bones healthy and strong

There is no doubt that calcium is needed for healthy bones, but recent science raises some questions about the long-held belief that dairy is the best source of calcium for humans. A 2014 study published in the British Medical Journal found that women who consumed three or more glasses of milk per day were 60% more likely to suffer a hip fracture and 16% more likely to suffer any bone fracture. (Additionally, women with a high dairy intake also had an increased risk of dying from heart disease and cancer.)

The good news is that there’s plenty of calcium in plant-based foods. In fact, kale has more calcium per gram than milk does. Other dark, leafy greens are also great sources of calcium, as is broccoli. Many nuts, seeds and legumes contain calcium and a lot of soy milks are calcium-fortified.

There is a compelling argument that today’s pasteurized milk, in all its guises, has virtually no redeeming features at all, and serves only to cause disease and poor health. By simply switching from dairy to non-dairy milk we will make a dramatic and long-lasting improvement to our health.
Dr. Amy Lanou
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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If you’ve been thinking about joining the movement of people going dairy-free, there’s never been a better time than now. Get started with our deliciously dairy-free shopping list. Or find out more about how your choices can have a positive impact for animals, the planet and yourself by ordering your free Veg Starter Kit today.