Have you ever been on Instagram for a few minutes (or hours) and ended up on some random hashtag with no idea how you got there? Well, that was me last week. I stumbled onto #DairyFarm, and it took only a few moments before the dairy industry’s cruelty showed its ugly selfie. ? I’ll never forget some of these pictures, and while the routine cruelty they show isn’t easy to look at, ignoring it doesn’t make animals’ suffering any less real.
First, I was bombarded with videos and pictures of calves being torn away from their mothers.? Farmers were actually proud that they were denying young cows the chance to drink their own mothers’ milk—milk that was made for baby cows, not for humans.
If humans leave them alone, calves nurse from their moms for nearly a year.? One veterinary study showed that “during natural weaning there is never complete and abrupt abandonment of the calf by the cow. In fact, the … cow and calf will maintain a lifelong relationship of social contact and companionship.”
It’s not uncommon for farmers to fasten “weaning rings” to calves’ nostrils. These are designed to stop the calves, who are desperate for the comfort of their mothers, from nursing. Even suppliers to companies like Daisy use these horrible devices.
Then I found out that because cows are often forced to walk around in poop ? and mud, they sometimes develop “foot rot,” a painful bacterial infection of their feet, which could be what this cow was suffering from:
And probably her, too:
And where there are #DairyFarm pictures, you’ll find people raping cows. Commercial dairy farmers typically put female cows in “rape racks” to inseminate them artificially so that they’ll keep getting pregnant and lactate year round. There’s nothing OK about shoving your hand into a cow’s body so that you can impregnate her.
Cows used by the dairy industry are treated as if they’re each nothing more than a number. Workers even punch holes into newborn calves’ ears and clamp numbered tags on them. This is typically done without any pain relief. You can see the fear in this calf’s eyes:
Get ready for this one. Calf hutches are the tiny plastic crates that farmers lock calves in after they’ve torn them away from their mothers. Those born on dairy farms are taken away from their mothers shortly after they’re born and are fed milk replacers, including cattle blood so that humans can have the milk instead.
Because cows are viewed as commodities by the dairy industry, this has become normalized:
Well, this is a body part that isn't supposed to be seeing the light of day! This first calf Holstein had an assisted delivery, not hard, but then she started pushing and out it came…that's when i got the phone call from dairy farm! Typically uterine prolapse in bovine is related to either some birthing trauma(causing discomfort pain and desire to strain)and/or low calcium levels, leading to a more flaccid uterus that is much more easily pushed out the back. For myself, after an epidural, i prefer getting the cow in a 'frogged position' which tips the pelvis forward, easing replacement. Once washed off and carefully replaced(easily perforated )and horns fully everted(this short-arm vet uses a 1L saline bottle as an extension to ease horn tips forward), then a Buhner suture is placed – a buried purse string – to help prevent reoccurrence. the bow tie ends are visible below bottom of vulva. Afterwards, she received a bottle of SQ calcium, oxytocin, then was up and ready to walk back to the pen with her new heifer calf! #prolapse #holstein #cowvet #vetlife #dairyfarm #vetstudent #vetschool #freshcow #emergency #messy #monday #vetmed #veterinarian #veterinarymedicine #vet #vetbr #vetsnobiety #vettech
Just because cows don’t look like you or me doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthy of respect. They feel pain, love, and fear—just like humans do. Please, for the love of cows and my IG feed, let’s all promise never to consume anything that contains dairy “products” again.
Drinking cow’s milk is unhealthy for humans, it’s hurting the environment, and it’s making cows suffer. It’s supply and demand: If people don’t spend their money on dairy “products,” businesses won’t produce them. And you know what that means? No more cows who are exploited and no more traumatizing #DairyFarm pictures on Instagram.