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Dear Joaquin

February 10, 2020


Dear Joaquin,

You don’t know me, I’m just a mom from a town you’ve never heard of in the middle part of the country. I want to tell you, I thought you were excellent in I Walked The Line and I was super impressed when I heard you actually sang in the movie. The Joker isn’t my speed, I am more in the Saturday night Daniel Tiger marathon stage of life, but I am sure you nailed your role.

I didn’t watch the Oscars last night. It’s not really my kind of thing and it airs during what I often refer to as the chaos hours in our house. It’s the time of night where my two little boys like to crank it to 11 while I try to make dinner and keep them from permanent damage of themselves and our home. Last night, like most nights, I was doing this single handed. Not because I am a single mom, but because my husband was at our farm milking our cows. If the name of my blog didn’t tip you off already, I bet you know where this is going now. Can we talk about your Oscar’s speech for a minute?

This morning I woke up before my boys and blissfully scrolled my social media feeds while enjoying silence and a hot cup of coffee, and there you were accepting your award and using your platform to rail against dairy.

Now I am not one of those “shut up and sing” type people. While I think Earthlings is absolutely ridiculous, I believe you as an actor have a right to voice your opinion just as much as anyone. You’ve built a platform that allows your voice to be heard by many and here I am with my much smaller platform using it to speak to you. I hope you will see this and consider the thoughts of one of the people you intended your words to harm.

Last night you spoke of both equality and the disconnect man has from the natural world. I too fight for equality and I agree completely that we are far too disconnected from the natural world. But when we look at the specifics of your ideas, our thoughts diverge. Last night you put animals and their rights on the same level as women, minorities, those who are LGBTQ+ and indigenous peoples. Animal rights activists have coined the term “Speciesism” and being a “Speciesist” is akin to being racist or a misogynist.

When you went on to say that we are “more disconnected from the natural world” in the same breath as saying that animals are equal to humans, you lost me. In the natural world where Mother Nature reins supreme, the lion does not see the gazelle as its equal. The lion sees the gazelle as its lunch. The natural world is where predator/prey relationships and the food chain exist. Humans have been eating animal products since the first person realized that meat is tasty and according to McDonald’s, since then billions and billions of burgers have been served.

Now Joaquin, I’ve known you were vegan and an outspoken voice on many topics for quite a while, but this morning I took the time to read some more about you. On your Wiki page it mentioned that you are on the board of The Lunchbox Fund, “a non profit organization that provides daily meals to the students of township schools in Soweto, South Africa”. Again we have something in common! I care deeply about food security and have worked on many fronts to help feed hungry kids. In fact, my favorite project was working with Second Harvest Food Bank of South Central Wisconsin to develop their “Adopt a Dairy Cow” program. The program is really neat. People can pick which cow they would like to “adopt” and then chose to donate a monetary amount that equals a day, week, month or year’s worth of milk production. It’s gone over incredibly well and has put milk in the fridge of those in need.

That’s the thing about milk, it provides SO much nutrition in a single serving. There isn’t an alternative that can truly compete with milk. And when we are talking about food insecurity we must mention that milk is far more affordable and available than the alternatives. If you’re into ending hunger, I cannot understand why you would be against milk?

But I get it, your beef with milk last night wasn’t it’s nutrition content. You wanted to talk artificial insemination and separating cows and calves and I suppose those points do make a splashier sound bite, well played. I could waste my breath explaining the why and the how and the science behind everything we do as farmers but I highly doubt I would change your mind.

Last night Janelle Monáe opened the Oscars with an incredible rendition of “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and this morning I watched Daniel Tiger, the Mr Rodger’s incarnation that my boys will remember from their childhood. Certainly Daniel Tiger isn’t a big budget Hollywood blockbuster but today’s episode was one I think you might glean something from. You see today Daniel was really excited because he had an egg salad sandwich. Lunch time came around and Miss Elaina told him that she didn’t like his sandwich and that “she wouldn’t eat that’. Thankfully Teacher Harriet was there to step in remind the kids that “we like different things, and that’s just fine but remember to be kind”.

Joaquin, you don’t need to drink milk. You don’t need to use or consume animal products. I respect your beliefs. But understand that there is no one more connected to the natural world than the farmers who are out here in the places you’ve never heard of, caring for the land and the animals. We’ve been sustainable and green since long before it was cool. You should get out of Hollywood for a while, the natural world isn’t there, it’s out here and it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.


Carrie Mess

Mom and Dairy Farmer



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