Cows don’t always have milk in their udders, and they don’t need to be milked by farmers. They produce milk for the same reason human women do: to feed their babies. Since cows only produce milk after they’ve been pregnant, farmers artificially inseminate them on what the industry calls a “rape rack.”
Around 10 months after a cow becomes pregnant, she gives birth, and a strong bond instantly forms between mother and calf. If given the chance, a mother cow would nurture and protect her calf.
But in the dairy industry, after just one to three days, farmers take calves from their mothers so that humans can drink the mothers’ milk. This causes both cows and calves extreme distress. Mother cows have been known to cry out for days after their babies are dragged away from them.
Some male calves are shipped off to feedlots to await slaughter, while others are kept in dark, tiny crates where they are almost completely immobilized so that their flesh stays tender and can be sold as veal.
In order to make their flesh white, calves used for veal are fed a liquid diet that is low in iron and has little nutritive value. This heinous treatment makes the calves sick, and in addition to suffering from diarrhea, pneumonia, and lameness, they are terrified and desperate for their mothers. These calves are killed after only a few months of life.
Female calves are often kept alive so that they can produce milk when they are old enough. They are usually artificially inseminated shortly after their first birthdays. After giving birth, humans take their babies away from them, and they lactate for 10 months before being inseminated again, continuing the cycle.
Usually when cows used for dairy are 4 or 5 years old, they are sent to be slaughtered.
Cows don’t need to be milked, and they don’t enjoy it. The truth is, for us to have a glass of milk, a mother had to endure the loss of her baby over and over. By continuing to consume dairy products, humans are supporting a lifetime of suffering for these sensitive, intelligent animals.
Now that you know the truth, what will you do?
The good news is that going vegan is now easier than ever. There are tons of dairy-free cheeses, ice creams, and milks available at the grocery store and even dairy-free options at places like Starbucks, Taco Bell, and other popular restaurants.