An Analysis: Arguments for and Against the Consumption of Milk

Published: 2021-06-29 02:10:05
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Concerning the issue of dairy consumption, proponents and opponents have attempted to effectively argue their cases through several means of reasoning. This analysis will evaluate the logical elements of two opposing arguments. The first; an advertisement from the Got Milk? national campaign featuring Taylor Swift. It lists nutritional benefits of drinking milk and essentially argues that cow’s milk is good for you. The second is a PETA article titled, “12 Reasons to Stop Drinking Cow’s Milk. ” This article explicitly lists the drawbacks and side-effects associated with drinking milk and makes the argument that milk is bad for you.
It is first necessary to consider the source of each argument. The printed advertisement originates from the Got Milk? campaign established by the Goodby Silverstein & Partners advertising agency. This particular campaign is no longer in effect but remains widely recognized in America. Copies of the advertisement can be found on numerous sites on the Internet and the original publication can be dated back to 2008. Due to the publication date, the advertisement may be considered outdated, by some. There is sufficient evidence to believe that the information is accurate due to coverage by major news websites. The Got Milk? campaign originally served to promote the California Milk Processor Board and eventually dairy processors and farmers. The nutritional information on the advertisement was organized to serve the agendas of executives in the dairy industry, and therefore, promotes and influences the consumption of milk. This information presented in the advertisement advocating cow’s milk appears to be an example of an inductive argument. The conclusion that milk is good, is generalized from the positive effects of milk consumption listed on the photograph. The premises are that “teens who choose milk instead of sugary drinks tend to be leaner, and the protein helps build muscle” (Got Milk?, 2008) Consumers are led to infer from this set of premises, that milk is a healthy option and has nutritional benefit, thus, the conclusion that milk is good. The argument mentioned above contains a conjunction. When represented symbolically, the proposition can be expressed as “T Λ P”. “T” represents “teens who choose milk instead of sugary drinks tend to be leaner” and “P” represents the statement, “protein helps build muscle. ” The symbol in between the letters represents the word “and” which identifies the statement as a conjunction. The statement is truthful because both propositions are true.The article titled, “12 Reasons to Stop Drinking Cow’s Milk” is sourced from the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) website and is a clear opposition to the previous argument mentioned. The website has listed several facts to further their case against milk consumption. The credibility of this source comes from being a well-known organization for furthering the liberation of animals, and in publishing this article, has a specific agenda. The information provided can be deemed relevant but does not contain a publication date. The facts presented can be verified through other websites and studies. This argument established by this article could be classified as an inductive argument. A specific set of premises are written in the article and lead to the conclusion that cow’s milk is bad for humans. One of the premises used to support the conclusion, is “Besides humans, no species drinks milk beyond their natural age of weaning or drinks the milk of another species” (PETA). This set of propositions is a disjunction, because of its “p or q” format. The statement can be represented in the expression, “B v D” in which “B” stands for “Besides humans, no species drinks milk beyond their natural age of weaning” the “v” symbol stands for “or” and identifies the statement as a disjunction, and the “D” represents “drinks the milk of another species. ” The statement is true because either or both of the premises are true. Another argument against dairy consumption is evident in the premise “If you consume three servings of whole milk, you’re already at 60 percent for the day – even before eating any food” (PETA). The percentage refers to “the recommended daily allowance of saturated fat” (PETA). The propositions create a conditional statement that can be represented by “CD”, where “C” represents “you consume three servings of whole milk”, the arrow indicates the conditional, and “D” signifies “you’re already at 60 percent for the day – even before eating any food. ” This statement is true if you drink three servings of milk in one day.
To further evaluate the arguments for and against the consumption of milk, both parties have very different agendas which motivate their reasonings. The Got Milk? company uses the advertisement to promote the success of their business, and the dairy industry. PETA is for ethical treatment of all animals and argues against dairy consumption because of their personal beliefs. Both sides use factual evidence with the intent of supporting their cases, however, both contain fallacies that don’t make for strong conclusions. The 2008 Taylor Swift advertisement is an appeal to popularity and uses a celebrity to influence consumer decisions. The PETA article is an appeal to emotion, and urges readers to abstain from drinking milk, for both their sake, and the cow’s. Despite the fallaciousness of the arguments, they each have information that proves to be true. The advertisement claims milk makes teens lean and the proteins in the milk build muscle mass. This claim is factual and can be proven with support from research. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Milk consumption acutely increases muscle protein synthesis, leading to an improved net muscle protein balance. ” The arguments set forth in the article by PETA, are also factual. According the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Recent scientific studies have suggested that dairy products may be linked to increased risk for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and possibly for ovarian and breast cancers. ”
Although the arguments are distinct oppositions, both the Got Milk? advertisement and the PETA article are similar in that they contain fallacies which weaken their arguments, while still maintaining moderate strength because of the use of factual evidence. Conclusively, after analyzing the logic of these two arguments, the quality of each argument seems to be equal.

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