Generally, consuming dairy does cause one’s ecological foot print to increase, although not nearly as much as it would if one consumed meat. However, if someone is living off the land, organically, and owns a cow, making cheese from the cow that necessarily must be milked (assuming no calves need the nutrients) would not be bad for the environment at all. This is an ideal situation and not very common, but there are different situations and factors that determine how eco-friendly a slice of cheese is.
On a side note, I’ve heard that some vegan cheese consume as much energy in their making than dairy cheese. Also, buying cheese from a nearby, organic farm would greatly decrease the amount of energy consumed.
One good organic dairy company that I personally like is Organic Valley. Their products can be bought at natural foods stores.
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