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Our Kids Deserve Better Than ‘World School Milk Day’

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What happens when our education system decides to team up with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations? World School Milk Day, and the ludicrous hypocrisy of promoting dairy consumption despite also publishing countless studies to contradict what’s being forced on our children.

Today, I got a google alert that next week will be the seventeenth year that the FAO will push this dairy consumption on kids. The annual event sees schools across 20 countries participating in a backwards campaign that celebrates milk. Seminars, essay and art competitions, and promotional events are encouraged along with the distribution of milk and milk products. Young minds from Bosnia, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Poland, across the US, and elsewhere are taught that milk is necessary, milk is good, and that milk should be celebrated. It’s propaganda disguised as education, with teachers, school boards, and the FAO hiding behind milk moustaches.

From the information provided in the Dairy-Outlook (an open e-mail discussion forum for participants), the motivation behind the event is clear:“Big or small, all have a common goal: to draw attention to school milk and thereby promote its consumption.” The FAO gives permission to be freely mentioned in collaboration with the event, and call the key facet of their work on school milk as being the duel promotion of dairy industry development and good child nutrition. This, coming from an organization that has studied vegan diets for children from as far back as 1981, that supports that vegan diets can supply sufficient nutrients for normal growth. This, coming from the same people who pledgehealthy meals and snacks in schools improves children’s health and nutritional well-being, enabling them to grow well and learn well,” despite having clear knowledge of the detriment of drinking milk. They’ve spoken about it’s contribution to weight gain, higher risks of colorectal and prostate cancers, and antimicrobial resistance. But they’ll blame obesity, sickness, and ineffective treatments for both on something other than dairy, like parents giving their kids ambiguously described “unbalanced” diets.

FAO doesn’t provide milk for participants in World School Milk Day, but do encourage finding sponsorship: “Often dairy companies act as sponsors of the Day and provide not only free milk but also promotional material such as t-shirts, caps, pens, posters, etc. for the children.” Like the toy inside of a happy meal, these giveaways are calculated and are likely cheaper, longer holding investments for dairy brands than played out billboards and television advertisements. But it has to make you wonder just how many millions of dollars the dairy industry has invested in FAO and their ability to influence (re: once again, pay) educational systems.

Outside of the lies regarding the necessity of milk for nutrition, this horrific jubilation forgets that the FAO has done leading research to prove the same industry it promotes is responsible for the destruction of rainforests, holds the highest percentages of greenhouse gas emissions, contributes to world hunger (including children of course), and a seemingly endless lists of other fuck-ups:

FAO says Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. 

FAO says the leading causes of rainforest destruction are livestock and feedcrops.

FAO says Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.

FAO say Worldwide, at least 50% of grain is fed to livestock, impacting hunger.

FAO shares an HSI Report: The Impact of Industrialized Animal Agriculture on World Hunger (who’s very tagline is ironically “a world without hunger”)

Why are they promoting pollution, deforestation, loss of land, hunger, and the crippling devastation of animal agriculture to our children?

Here in Canada, parents can find dairy farmers on the community boards in schools and programs for children as young as pre-school age, with milk and cheese as the default snack in classrooms. How is it that the same organizations responsible for funding research and studies on the impact of dairy can be responsible for keeping it in business? How many more human and non-human animal lives have to be sacrificed for the strength of a dollar?

It’s a dizzying array of information and misinformation co-mingling under the umbrella of one corrupt organization. They say “It makes no sense to act as if agriculture and nutrition were separate, and this means setting out to build programmes that explicitly link the two” on one hand, and act out the opposite with their other hand (which is deep in their pockets and the pockets of others, evidently).

Our children deserve so much better, they deserve the truth. Teaching them about veganism, going vegan together, and promoting the initiative not to conform to the insanity of this misinformation is the only way to ensure our future. Continuing this charade hurts animals, our planet, and our children. 

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  • This drives me crazy. It is totally unacceptable the way the egg and dairy lobby push their products on kids. I do think it’s something that vegans should be working together to stop. In my daughter’s (Canadian) school, “milk cards” are a huge deal (there seems to be a lot of social pressure to buy them). And the egg board hands out free materials that promote egg consumption. My daughter came home from school last year with crayons from the egg board and an information brochure telling people how healthy eggs are…she told me we needed to start buying eggs – white eggs, to be precise (all the eggs in the marketing material were white) – because they were healthy.

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