It can be hard to believe that such an innocent seeming industry is actually incredibly cruel. In the UK we have the ‘Laughing Cow’ advertisements – dairy cows are happy aren’t they? The truth is that to be a dairy cow is to live a short abused life full of pain and grief.
When calves are born they are taken away from the mother straight away. The mother is not even able to nurse them – the farming industry want to keep all of that milk to sell – so while the mother grieves their loss, the calves enter the next stage of the dairy production machine.
If they are male they are either slaughtered straight away or sent off for confinement in veal crates for 16 weeks – before then being slaughtered. If they are female then they will begin their life as a dairy cow. Impregnated forcibly from the age of around 1 and a half and her babies ripped away from her each time. When her abused body can provide no more milk, she is sent for slaughter herself at around 4 years old (her natural life span should be around 20 years old). Often dairy cows are found to be pregnant whilst in the slaughterhouse, if this is the case then she is raised up and suspended by one leg whilst her calf is cut out of her (without anaesthetic) and dumped down a chute to die or used for high-end leather called ‘Slink’. She is then slaughtered. Mother and calf will briefly glimpse each other before they are both sent to their premature deaths.
Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their young. In order to force the animals to continue giving milk, factory farm operators typically impregnate them using artificial insemination every year. Calves are generally taken from their mothers within a day of being born—males are destined for veal crates or barren lots where they will be fattened for beef, and females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.
After their calves are taken away from them, mother cows are hooked up, several times a day, to milking machines. These cows are genetically manipulated, artificially inseminated, and often drugged to force them to produce about four and a half times as much milk as they naturally would to feed their calves.
Read more about the dairy industry www.peta.org