TORONTO — The federal government has pledged an additional $1.75 million to the dairy industry, on top of $12 million already provided under the government’s Growing Forward 2 program.
According to a press release issued jointly from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Dairy Farmers of Canada, the funding is in large part to study the “impact of dairy fat products such as cheese on cardio-vascular health in humans.”
The agriculture minister is quoted as saying the funding is to “help maintain consumer confidence in the nutritional value of dairy products.” In the same release, the president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada says the funding will be used “to improve our understanding of the nutritional value and health benefits of milk products.”
These quotes suggest that the purpose of the research funding is not to conduct real, scientific research into the health effects of dairy fat, but rather to find data to support a dubious pre-ordained conclusion: that dairy fat products benefit cardiovascular health.
“Science requires us to pursue truth, not agendas,” said Anna Pippus, director of farmed animal advocacy with Animal Justice, a national animal law organization. “Research is not about preordaining a conclusion, then paying someone to find data to support that conclusion. The government should fund research that promotes Canadians’ health instead of seeking to promote high-fat dairy products without any regard to their actual health effects. Funding this wild-goose chase is an affront to real science, a waste of taxpayer money, and a glimpse into the all-too-cozy relationship between the agriculture department and the dairy industry.”
The federal government’s announcement was made by the new Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay–himself a former dairy farmer.
Director of Farmed Animal Advocacy