I WAS delighted to see Paul Blanchard has gone vegan and is speaking out against the dairy industry (I blame milk for many problems, Readers' Letters, June 18).

Many of us grow up drinking milk, but the simple truth is that it is not only cruel and unnatural, it is also playing a huge part in causing global warming.

Despite the myth of contentment, a dairy cow is the hardest worked of all farmed animals. She nurtures a growing baby inside her while simultaneously producing milk - up to 120 pints a day. To keep the flow going, she is forcibly impregnated every year and her babies are taken away a day or two after birth, year after year.

Despite public opposition, Britain's unwanted male dairy calves are again being shipped long distances to veal farms in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Unable to produce milk and too scrawny' for beef, up to 500,000 tiny male dairy calves will be exported this year - the unwanted by-products of milk production.

Cows produce milk to feed their babies, just like humans. It flows for the best part of a year and then stops. More milk requires more babies. Only humans drink it after weaning - and milk from a different species, at that. It's no more natural than drinking badger's milk or cat's milk.

Milk is also bad for the environment, with the average British dairy cow expelling up to 500 litres of methane every day. According to the United Nations, livestock farming cause more global warming than all the world's transport put together.

Viva! agrees with Paul Blanchard - it's time to ditch the white stuff.

Contact Viva! for dairy-free recipes on 0117 944 1000 or email info@viva.org.uk Justin Kerswell, Campaigns Manager, Viva!

York Court, Wilder Street, Bristol.

* AS A veterinary surgeon and former public health officer, I must concur with the views of Paul Blanchard.

From a welfare perspective, dairy cows suffer the effects of constantly producing massive quantities of milk, leading to frequent udder infections. Then there is the question of taking away their newborn to send them to the Continent as veal calves.

From a health perspective, humans stand out as being the only mammals who drink milk after they have been weaned. Drinking cow's milk is like putting 96-octane petrol when your engine only needs 92-octane. That's why I don't drink milk either.

Andre Menache, Nevill Lodge, Ferndale Close, Tunbridge Wells.

* A REDUCTION in the amount of meat and dairy that most people eat would benefit the environment. Livestock produce 18 per cent of all greenhouse gases.

Ben Bradshaw, the Environment Minister, said in January that cutting out meat could go a long way to stabilising climate change. He also said that foie gras should be boycotted.

Nobody believes everyone will become vegetarian overnight. A steady reduction in the numbers of cattle in the countryside is what should happen.

Livestock producers are responsible for 65 per cent of nitrous oxide emissions, which are 296 times more warming than CO2, and are major users of water, pesticides and fertilisers. They also use 50 per cent of the world's antibiotics. Not only dairy farmers, I admit, but all livestock farmers.

Richard Ellison of the NFU (Politician errs in milking the point, Readers' Letters, June 21) says cows are not genetically manipulated, just selectively bred. I do not see the difference. It's just a matter of timing.

Breeding a cow to produce more milk than that breed would normally produce is a matter of genetics. Just because it can now be done with an egg and a needle makes it faster. We can miss out the steps in between, which unfortunately means we miss the safeguards that nature has built in.

Just because Paul Blanchard is a councillor does not mean he cannot have views and cannot express them in a newspaper. The people who voted for him knew his views, and the ones in his area who did not vote are not bothered enough about his views to vote for someone else.

So, Paul Blanchard, carry on meddling and giving the minority who do support you a voice.

Jen Williams, Haxby Road, York.

* FURTHER to Paul Blanchard's letter and the scathing criticism that he received. I noted that although the commercial director of Scotmin Nutrition spoke of farmers' affection for their animals, not one of the replies mentioned the separation of mother and calf at a few days old, which causes extreme distress for both.

It would be impossible to justify sending tiny calves to the Continent's veal farms for any reason other than profit.

It is gratifying to know that we have such a compassionate and principled councillor, who is prepared to speak out about issues regarding the environment and animal welfare, which affects everybody.

Surely the council should represent all local people's concerns.

Cows' milk is a perfect food - if you're a calf.

Anna Grey, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.

* I'VE never understood the obsession with cows milk being essential' for health. Plenty of humans are allergic to it, more don't like it. Others abstain for moral reasons.

Milk isn't great as a source of calcium, it's too acid, which impairs absorption of calcium. Spinach, brazil nuts and leafy veg are better sources.

A vegan friend recently had a bone density scan, which revealed results far better than expected for a person of her age. The specialist was a sports scientist who explained that meat and milk were not good for bones; the reverse was true. This is a constant battle by specialists to defeat assumptions based on misconceptions.

Cows' milk is consumed because cows are easy to handle, and produce large amounts of milk. There is no medical reason why humans should consume milk of any other animals. There's also little sense in consuming milk outside infancy.

There seems to be a bitter state of entrenchment when the environmental damage, cruelty and ill-health of animal food is exposed. It seems, like some farm animals, many humans fear bitterly any break away from the herd. Unfortunately for them, this seemingly painful discussion needs to be made.

Cris Iles, Heworth Road, York.

* I WOULD like to applaud Paul Blanchard for standing up for animal welfare.

I have worked with a group called Compassion In World Farming for nearly 20 years, and know how hard it is to make a difference.

Animal welfare does not matter in our demand for cheap food. If you would like to see how the animals you eat are treated visit www.cifw.org. Then you can make a choice.

I am proud to be a veggie. I am also proud to stand up and fight for animals, they cannot speak for themselves.

AE Summers, Aspen Close, Leeds Road, Selby.