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WTF Is Dehorning?!

If you’ve been hanging around peta2 for a while, you’ve probably heard of “dehorning,” which is the process that some factory farms use to “protect their product”—that is, remove cows’ only ability to defend themselves and fight back against the cruelty that is rampant in the meat and dairy industries. Most farmers remove the sensitive horn tissue or the horns themselves from the cows’ skulls using searing-hot irons, caustic chemicals, blades, or hand saws.

There are two different types of dehorning:

  • One type involves cutting or gouging the horns out if the cow is mature enough to have developed horns. This amputation can take three or more months to heal.
  • Sometimes companies will say that they don’t dehorn, but disbud—which is really just a form of dehorning during which workers burn off the tissue that will grow into horns instead of ripping or cutting the horns out themselves, as if that is any less cruel. For girls reading this, let’s be honest: Who here has burned themselves with a curling iron or a hair straightener? Most of us have, and even if it’s just for a split second, it still freakin’ hurts. Now, imagine someone holding you down and holding a burning-hot tool to your head while your tissue sizzles off. Imagine not being able to escape.

Animals often struggle violently and have to be restrained manually or in a head bail (a metal apparatus for restraining a cow by the neck) during the painful dehorning process, which is frequently performed without anesthetics or painkillers and results in severe pain that lasts for hours and can become chronic.

cow dehorning blood cow dehorning burn

Farmers might tell you that they do this for the well-being of the animals—but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Workers do this so that cows don’t injure each other or humans because of the emotional distress and unnatural conditions that they’re forced to endure on factory farms—including being packed in with thousands of other animals, living in their own waste, being forcibly impregnated, and getting hauled off to slaughter.

The best way to stop dehorning? Go vegan, and stop supporting it. Also, urge companies such as California Pizza Kitchen to demand that their suppliers stop this cruel mutilation by breeding for naturally hornless, or “polled,” cattle.

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  • Profile photo of pkilove

    388 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    Cows in may be considered sacred but that just means they dont eat them… I live in india n the cows r not less mistreated… they r just abandoned on the streets without food or water.. they survive eating garbage, papers etc.. they r also used for pulling heavy carts on the busy streets… their feeble limbs tremblind under the massive weight and the hot sun.. its sooooo heartbreaking :'(

  • Profile photo of TheVeganDancer

    683 days ago

    VN:F [1.9.22_1171]

    2

    In India, the cow is considered sacred. Why can’t it be like that here in “Murica?

  • 719 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    1

    :'(

  • 720 days ago

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]

    0

    como podemos llamarnos humanos si seguimos permitiendo esta atrocidad