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.
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.
Pledge to go vegan!