Here’s a sneak peek into the cruel dairy industry, with nine real-life photos that will make you say, “What the f*ck?”dairy cow inseminated

This may look like a photo of a man shoving his arm up a cow’s butt. Well, that’s because it’s a photo of a man shoving his arm up a cow’s butt. But there’s more to it than that ….

Female cows in the dairy industry are artificially inseminated shortly after their first birthday. This means that a human shoves his or her hand into the cow’s rectum to position her uterus for the insemination tool. Pleasant. This cruel procedure occurs over and over again for years until the cow is considered “spent” and must be slaughtered.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals 

At first glance, this photo of a newborn cow may not seem that awful. However, once you learn that calves in the dairy industry—like this one—are often torn away from their moms on the same day that they’re born, you probably won’t be able to hold back your “WTF.” The milk that was supposed to go to the calf is sold for human consumption.

veal calf

© Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals 

The female calves who are stolen from their moms are used by the dairy industry, and the males are used for veal.

Veal is the meat that comes from baby cows who are forced to spend their short lives in tiny crates. The absurdly small enclosures are designed to ensure that the calves can’t exercise and grow muscles so that their flesh can be used for tender “gourmet” meat. What. The. F*ck.

cow standing in feces on dairy farm

Yep, that’s poop that this cow is standing in. It’s not uncommon for cows in the dairy industry to be forced to stand in their own waste all day long. One PETA investigation of a dairy farm in North Carolina found that cows had to stand, walk, eat, and try to rest in waste that was 3 feet deep.


This disturbing image illustrates another dark secret of the dairy industry: dehorning. Dairy farmers use tools like guillotines, hot irons, bone saws, sharp wires, and electric dehorners to remove cows’ sensitive horns or horn buds. Yes, their horns are burned off, gouged out, or chopped off.

crowded dairy farm cows in feed lot

On dairy factory farms, cows are typically kept in extraordinarily cramped conditions, where infection and disease are easily spread. They’re forced to live in these miserable environments until they’re killed for food.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals 

Cows in the dairy industry are treated like milk machines, forced to produce 4.5 times more milk than what they normally would for their calf. Can you imagine being hooked up to strange machines and over-milked until you’re killed?

dairy cow mastitis udders circled

It’s not uncommon for cows in the dairy industry to get mastitis. This painful condition is an inflammation of the mammary glands caused by over-milking. About 150 types of bacteria can cause the condition, one of which is E. coli.

Pus is produced as a means of combating infection, and since dairy cows are so commonly infected with mastitis, pus often ends up in the milk they produce. Yum.

A cow’s natural lifespan is around 20 years. But in the dairy industry, cows are usually slaughtered when their milk declines—often at about only 4 years old.

If any of these images made you say, “WTF,” you’re not alone. Many people are going vegan every single day so that they aren’t supporting the cruel dairy industry, and you can do the same! All you have to do is buy the dairy-free versions of the foods you love, like cheese, milk, and ice cream.