The price of milk is falling.

Competition between the supermarkets has led to cheaper milk.

Now, we are worrying about the farmers' profit margins.

Actually, I do have some sympathy for the farmers.  They are in a terrible position - it costs them 30p to produce a litre of milk, and get 20p per litre of milk (source is: BBC (20th Jan 2015) MPs urge action on milk price cuts).

Worryingly, if I was an economist, I would say to the farmer, "cut your costs, become more efficient".  However, as someone concerned with animal welfare, this would be a horrendous idea, because "cut costs, become more efficient" would translate to "sod the cows' welfare".

However, there is a simple answer to the problems about the cost of milk.  And this is not to simply help the farmers profit margins, as this still leaves the real problem unaddressed.

Who is paying the price of cheap milk?

The consumer gets cheap milk; but who pays the price?

The retailer/supermarket?  The farmer?

This is the debate raging.

But the actual answer is the cows...

The price of milk is...

the cow.

I feel a definite queasiness about the production of milk.  The process of constant milking causes a great deal of suffering for the animal, and some people would argue that using animals for milk is crueller than using animals for meat.

Therefore, there is an obvious answer... use less milk.

OK, that sounds like a stupid suggestion.  In daily life, how can you use less milk? 

The point is not to reduce milk consumption but to substitute cows' milk to an ethical alternative.  There are lots of options out there - soya, almond; take a look at the supermarket shelf. 

This does not entail going fully vegan - or even fully vegetarian - it is simply about minimising one's impact on the suffering of dairy cows.  It is not even necessary to even always avoid dairy milk, but to simply use an alternative (e.g.

soya) whenever possible e.g. at home; but not necessarily out in a café.

Reducing milk (dairy milk) consumption would mean that the price of milk was not felt as much on the overworked cows who produce the milk, and suffer for it. 

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