When Teddy was 12 months and right around the age where most people, doctors included, are starting to offer suggestions of including whole cows milk into my babies diet, I was very conflicted by the idea of introducing animal products to him. The diet choices I had made for myself were based on the research I had done on the natural nutritional needs of humans balanced with a compassion for animals whose lives, I felt, were unnecessarily being taken and exploited due to the greed of the meat and dairy industries. But what did I know about the nutritional needs of babies or toddlers?? Luckily one of my very informed friends (whose name should include a .com at the end as a reasearchable mommy resource) enlightened me with the knowledge that cow's milk even at the age of one was still a substitution for breast milk. Since then I have read countless articles concluding that it is natural for human babies to nurse well into and even beyond their second year of life making the use of cow's milk really obsolete. Knowing my research for my own health could now be used for Teddy's diet-I regained my power as a confident healthy woman and now new mom and I began really focusing on smart healthy choices for my family again!
On my path back to veganisim after a year and a half of selfishly including all my favorite cow's milk dairy "comfort" foods, I once again found myself surfing the web with a desire to learn more about the dairy industry. After nursing for 14 months I am finding myself struck with the life of a dairy cow. I have a renewed empathy for dairy cows. Many cows are separated from their babies right after birth, not even allowed to feed even once the babies their bodies are lactating for! I have a deeper compassion for these animals as a fellow milk mamas and I'd like to share there story here. Just as us lactavists are working to spread the word about the truth in breast feeding in a currently under informed, formula feeding world, I'd like to do my part to spread the word about the truth of the dairy industry in a currently overly deceivingly marketed dairy FULL world. It's not exactly the "happy cow eagerly awaiting their acceptance to the sunny california meadow" picture as painted for you by the dairy moguls.
I encourage you to read through the whole article here as I have take out the video.
How does drinking milk harm cows?
If the calf is female she will either be kept as a herd replacement, living in the same conditions as her mother, or she will be sent to a slaughterhouse or killed on farm.
In the 6-8 days after calving, cows lose weight and condition rapidly, as their bodies consume themselves to provide milk for absent calves 7, so
that humans can buy milkshakes to wash down burgers made from the bodies of those same calves. Researchers have estimated that a modern dairy cow is under as much strain as a cyclist on Tour de France. 8
Naturally cows can live to be up to 25 years old. But on dairy farms they are slaughtered when they are only 5-7 years old meaning that most dairy cows live less than a third of their natural life span. In fact, 20 percent of New Zealand's dairy cows are killed every
year, because they are considered too old or they fail to become pregnant. 9 Cows form strong relationships and spend most of their time in 'friendship groups' of 2-4 cows who lick and groom each other. 10 This annual slaughter is very distressing to their friends in the herd.
Cows are forced onto trucks (in the same way baby male calves are transported) that take them to be slaughtered. When they arrive at the slaughterhouse, they are held together in stunning pens where they are stunned with a captive bolt pistol. They are then shackled by the leg, lifted up and have their throats slit. After the blood has been drained away, the cows body is used for cheap meat and pet food. 11
Because dairy cows are milked so excessively, NZ dairy cows have increased risks of teat diseases like mastitis. Symptoms of mastitis include include hot, swolle
n, acutely painful udders, fever, and loss of appetite. When a cow has mastitis her udder may become so inflamed that it is as hard as a stone, and blood bubbles into her milk, which becomes clotted and watery 12. Severe cases of mastitis can kill a cow in less then 24 hours. Modern dairy cows have been bred for milk production to the point where the teats of their enlarged udders dangle close to the ground, and become muddy and infected. 13
Although tail docking is not as
common in cattle as in sheep, the tails of some dairycows are amputated using a tight rubber ring, or a searing iron, in order to “improve comfort for milking personnel, and enhance milking efficiency,” 13 or to try and stop mastitis. However, the scientific evidence for mastitis prevention is inconclusive. A US study by researcher Dan Weary found no health benefits in chopping off cows’ tails. 14
Amputation is very painful, as the cow’s tail is richly supplied with nerves and blood vessels. Cows need their tails to swat away insects, and possibly to communicate with other cows. Docked cows try in vain to flick their tail stumps, and are likely to suffer from neuropathic pain, similar to the “phantom limb” pain experienced by human amputees. 16 Cattle may also be branded for identification.
The RNZSPCA is opposed both to the docking of the tails of dairy cows, and to the use of hot branding.
Calves are often dehorned to prevent damage or bruising to their carcass during slaughter. Calf's may be dehorned with bolt cutters, scoop dehorners or a butchers saw. This causes pain, bleeding and exposure of the frontal sinuses in older animals. 13 The pain can last 6 hours after dehorning. 15 Dehorning is often done without the use of anaesthetics.
But regardless of how well treated, one fundmental question remains. How can we justify treating sentient beings as nothing more then economic commodities, nothing more then property? Animals status as property is the root of all treatment problems that may arise. In a world where very few (if any) moral issues are universally agreed upon, we all agree that human slavery is wrong. We recognise that it is wrong for one sentient individual to own another. We recognise that it is wrong for one sentient being to treat another as a commodity, as a thing, as property. ere