If anyone knows how to do a protest the right way, it’s the dairy farmers of Montreal and Ontario. With a herd of cows and a huge number of tractors to stir up the traffic scene in Ottawa, hundreds of dairy farmers mean business after not being compensated for signing international trade agreements. And these farmers have a right to be angry: the new agreements have already damaged Canadian dairy businesses severely. And guess what? No one’s been paid yet. Around 2,000 farmers from Quebec and 1,000 from Ontario are gathering at Parliament Hill to demand their compensation.
Part of the protest is also geared to fight the use of diafiltered milk — which is an inexpensive milk protein powder used in cheese production– that comes in from the U.S. for free. Since the powder’s cheaper to use in the cheese production process than actual milk, Canadian cheese manufacturing companies use the powder to meet the required milk quota in cheese, causing Canadian dairy farmers to lose business.
— Chloé Fedio (@cfedio) June 2, 2016
— CBC Ottawa (@CBCOttawa) June 2, 2016
You hear that? When you go to the store to buy Canadian cheese, you’re getting cheese that uses protein powder instead of real, Canadian milk. And our dairy farmers are suffering because of it.
It only goes downhill from there. U.S. cows are given hormones to make their cows grow faster for cheaper (it’s completely illegal to use in Canada, by the way). These hormone-induced cows then produce the milk powder you end up eating in your cheese.
“I am also very concerned about the hormones used in the production of the imported milk products – some are not even legal in Canada,” said Wayne Harris, a dairy farmer in B.C.
So as cheese manufacturing companies get offered cheap milk ingredients, you end up buying cheese produced inhumanely. The use of hormones in cows run the risk of cow milk getting contaminated with bacteria as well as serious health concerns for the cows. But we mean, hey, it’s up to you if you want to buy that cheese… unless the dairy farmers can make a difference, that is. And by the looks of it, they’ve made their points loud and clear.