Where can I buy humanely acquired milk and cream in Vancouver, BC?
June 10, 2014 7:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm shocked and appalled by the recent revelations regarding the treatment of cattle on the dairy farm in Chilliwack, BC. This is the final straw for me; I can no longer contribute to the success of factory farms by purchasing their products. Help me find a place where I can buy cream for my coffee that is from happy, humanely-raised cows.

I am already a vegetarian, so I'm not concerned with where to get meat products. I also have found ethical farms from which to purchase cheese and eggs via the SPCA website. However, the SPCA does not suggest a farm that is approved for milk and cream products. Can you suggest not only a farm, but also a retailer where I can purchase milk or cream?
posted by figaro to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I believe Avalon has good practices, and their milk tastes great (available in organic versions too, and it's all in reusable glass bottles). Their stuff is available all over: IGA, SuperValu, Pricemart, Drive Organics....
posted by HoteDoge at 8:08 PM on June 10, 2014

Avalon gets their organic milk from Bradner Farms, which is SPCA certified* for its eggs and poultry. It really is available everywhere, from the crunchiest health food stores to chains like Save-On-Foods. Come the holiday season, they make a delicious eggnog.

* Oddly I don't see it on their main list, but this post from 2011 states: "Bradner Farms and Sumas Mountain Farm have begun producing broiler (meat) chickens under the SPCA Certified label. Bradner Farms has been a member of the program since 2010 and produces SPCA Certified eggs as well. "
posted by Lorin at 8:17 PM on June 10, 2014

It's possible that happy cows exist where you live. When I researched the same, I couldn't find anything. One of the problems is that half of the calves that are born are male. I couldn't find a farm that made sure that these male calves were treated humanely. They usually were sold to factory farms. Even in the best of farms, the cows are eventually sent to slaughterhouses which is often traumatic. Also sick cows that require antibiotics are problematic for organic farms because after a certain amount of antibiotics they can't sell the milk/meat as organic anymore (exact regulations are probably different per country).

These are things you may want to research before picking a farm. In my experience "certified humane" labels are only about very specific practices (more than x days a year outside) and don't really look at the big picture. See also this page which is about chicken farms, but it does explain why labels alone do not tell much about the way the animals are actually treated.
posted by blub at 1:07 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Why not just switch to soy or almond milk and solve the problem that way?
posted by Hanuman1960 at 6:06 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Try and find a soy that's specifically formulated for coffee. Here in Oz we have Vitasoy Cafe, and the difference is really noticeable.

You may need to try a few different brands before you find a soy that works for you in your coffee. You may even find nut milks more to your taste, so experiment before you write it off completely. As blub mentions, the existence of male calves makes ethical milk very hard to find.
posted by Jilder at 6:55 AM on June 11, 2014

Have you ruled out buying directly from producers at farmers' markets? Here is a link to the search results for Vancouver farmers' markets vendors who carry milk. At the time of posting, this includes one goat-milk-only vendor and one with both goat and cow milk, called Farm House Natural Cheeses. Farm House Natural Cheeses attends East Vancouver (Trout Lake) Saturday Farmers Market, Mount Pleasant Sunday Farmers Market, Kerrisdale Saturday Farmers Market, Kitsilano Sunday Farmers Market, and Yaletown Thursday Farmers Market. You can ask them all the questions you have about treatment of the cows and the male calves. You might even be able to visit the farm.
posted by librarina at 10:35 AM on June 11, 2014

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