Friday, May 11, 2007

MILK DRINKERS, before you touch another glass of milk, read this:

he Real Life of Dairy Cows

The 9 million cows living on dairy farms in the United States will spend most of their lives either in a large shed or on a feces-caked mud lot where disease is rampant. A dairy cow will be repeatedly impregnated, her babies will be taken from her, and humans will drink the milk intended for her babies. When her exhausted body can no longer give milk, she will be sent to slaughter and ground up for hamburgers.

Stolen Babies, Stolen Milk
Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do—to feed their babies. To keep giving milk, cows must be forcibly impregnated through artificial insemination every year. The cows’ babies are generally taken away within a day of being born—male calves are destined for veal crates, while females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.

Mother cows on dairy farms can often be seen searching and calling for their babies after they have been taken away. Author Oliver Sacks, M.D., wrote of a visit that he and cattle expert Dr. Temple Grandin made to a dairy farm and of the great tumult of bellowing that they heard when they arrived: “‘They must have separated the calves from the cows this morning,’ Temple said, and, indeed, this was what had happened. We saw one cow outside the stockade, roaming, looking for her calf, and bellowing. ‘That’s not a happy cow,’ Temple said. ‘That’s one sad, unhappy, upset cow. She wants her baby. Bellowing for it, hunting for it. She’ll forget for a while, then start again. It’s like grieving, mourning—not much written about it. People don’t like to allow them thoughts or feelings.’”

Read more about cow intelligence and emotion.

The mother cow will be hooked up several times a day to machines that take the milk intended for her calf. Through genetic manipulation, powerful hormones, and intensive milking, she will produce about three times as much milk as she would naturally. She may be pumped full of bovine growth hormone (BGH), which contributes to painful inflammation of the udder, known as “mastitis.” (BGH is used throughout the U.S. but has been banned in Europe and Canada because of concerns for human health and animal welfare.) According to the industry’s own figures, between 30 and 50 percent of dairy cows suffer from mastitis, which is an extremely painful condition.

A cow’s natural lifespan is 25 years, but a cow used by the dairy industry is killed after only four or five years. By the time they are killed, an industry study reports that nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the filth, intensive confinement, and the strain of constantly being pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat, their bodies too “spent” to be used for anything else.

Veal Calves
Male calves—“byproducts” of the dairy industry—are generally taken away from their mothers when they are less than 1 day old. The calves are then placed in dark, tiny crates, where they are kept almost completely immobilized so that their flesh stays tender. The calves are fed a liquid diet that is low in iron and has little nutritive value in order to make their flesh white. This heinous treatment makes the calves ill, and they frequently suffer from anemia, diarrhea and pneumonia. Frightened, sick, and alone, these calves are killed after only a few months of life. “Veal” is the flesh of a tortured, sick baby cow and a byproduct of the milk industry.

All adult and baby cows, whether raised for their flesh or their milk, are eventually shipped to a slaughterhouse and killed.


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