Mr. Cope’s Cave: Milk Matters?


Early last week my Cousin Jenny called me. Jenny is probably the kindest-hearted person I know. Sometimes I wish she would harden up some, for her own sake. The trouble with kind hearts is that they are so easily bruised. And when the focus of so much of your kindness is towards animals, as is Jenny’s, it’s hard to avoid going through life with a constant low-grade ache in your soul, knowing what goes on in the world.

Jenny would never consider herself an animal activist. She simply thinks causing animals needless pain, needless abuse and needless slaughter is wrong, indecent and immoral. She has written letters to the editor against fur trapping and she’s volunteered much of her time to the Humane Society. If dressing mutts up for adoption with a bath and a bandanna makes her an “animal activist,” so be it. But I’m pretty sure she just thinks of herself as a 60-something-year-old woman who tries to help in whatever small ways she can.

Last week, she thought it would help to call her legislators and urge them to vote against that vile “ag-gag” bill, and she called me to suggest I do the same. Jenny is fortunate to live in a Boise district represented entirely by Democrats. I don’t think she would mind me telling you this, but she tends to be a tad naive when it comes to politics. I asked her who her district’s legislators are, and when I heard the names, I told her she needn’t worry because I was confident they would vote against it whether she called them or not.

What I didn’t tell her is that I wouldn’t be calling my legislators, not for that ag-gag bill or any other bill I might feel passionately about. I am not so fortunate as Jenny with my representation in the state government. Here in my part of Meridian, I am represented entirely by douches. Stupid, black-hearted, bought-off, Republican douches whom I can trust to always... always... do the wrong thing.

I also didn’t tell Jenny that, no matter how her Democrat reps voted, the ag-gag bill would pass. Though Jenny is a Democrat now, she grew up Republican—not so long ago had two dogs named “Dwight” and “Mamie”—and is still under the illusion that there might be some lingering decency and morality left in the Republican Party.

I know better. I know the stupid, black-hearted, bought-off douches are the majority in the Idaho Legislature, and I know they are bound and determined not to do anything decent or moral, not as long as there are special interests to pander to.

I also knew that after the douches passed the ag-gag bill, it would be signed into law. Governor Hopalong may well be the alpha douche in the state of Idaho. And in his three decades of slopping at the public trough, decency and morality have never been his strong suit. There aren’t enough tortured dairy cows in the entire world for Otter to turn his back on the Farm Bureau crowd.

No, Jenny, as the “Add The Words” people have found and the “No Guns On Campus” people will find (if they haven’t already when this opinion appears), Idaho state government is not the place to go looking for decency and morality. But that’s not to say we all have to roll over in despair. There is something we can do in response to this ag-gag travesty.

Yes, we could work to unseat all the douches in the Legislature, along with the alpha douche who signs their indecent and immoral legislation into law. But that’s going to take a long time, if ever. On the whole, Idaho is a backward, hayseed, ignorant land—perfect breeding grounds for douche politicians—and it’s likely to stay that way into the foreseeable future.

What we can do is be more aware of where our milk comes from. Today. Right now. There are plenty of folks right here in Southern Idaho—small and independent farmers—whose cows produce milk under humane conditions. While there is nothing I can find on milk labels in local stores to say where it’s processed, all you have to do is ask. That's a place to start. And tell them why you’re asking. Let your grocery store of choice know you are a consumer of conscience.

Think about it, neighbors. With so many other non-brutal sources of milk—not to mention potable, lactose-free options like soy, rice and almond milk... even yogurt—there are plenty of ways to get your calcium without it tasting like abuse. 

If you think I have something against dairy farmers, I don’t. Or didn’t until this came up. I grew up on a dairy farm. It was a small operation; all of our girls had names. In cold weather, I warmed my hands on cows’ udders. (FYI: Like dogs, cows love to have their heads rubbed and to be scratched behind the ears.) They are not among God’s brightest creatures, I know that all too well. But they are as sentient as half the people I’ve met. And under any circumstance, they do not deserve this (warning: graphic content):