Like all mammals, cows lactate to nourish their babies. Accordingly, though it may seem obvious, cows actually have to be pregnant or have just given birth to produce milk.
At dairy farms though, cows never get the chance to care for their children. Instead, their newborn calves are stolen from them just hours after being born so farmers can take the mothers’ milk to sell.
To produce milk, cows are put through a yearly cycle of forcible impregnation, birth, and lactation. Their daughters are dragged away only to suffer the same fate as their mothers (they’ll be used for milk as soon as they’re old enough to conceive). Their sons are forced into tiny crates and given only weeks to live before they’re violently slaughtered for veal.
The distress of mother cows is unmistakable. Many follow the farmer as he pulls their children away from them. They cry out and moan for days or even weeks for their missing babies.
After four or five years of producing abnormally large quantities of milk, thanks to genetic manipulation and drugs, cows become “spent.” Their bodies just give out and they stop producing as much milk. Many suffer a painful infection called mastitis; others become so weak they are unable to stand.
See here how the dairy industry moves lame cows:
So what happens after cows can no longer produce enough milk?
They’re brutally killed.
No milk means no money for farmers. So after having baby after baby stolen from them, and at just a fraction of their natural lifespan—which could be as long as 25 years—cows are callously sent to the slaughterhouse where they’re violently killed, mostly for minced beef. Yes, inside nearly every hamburger are the remains of dairy cows.
Fortunately, dairy is on the decline. Since the 1970s, milk consumption has plummeted 40 percent in the United States while the consumption of humane and delicious plant-based milk has soared. And it’s not just milk; vegan cheese, butter, ice cream, and other plant-based dairy products have become even more popular in recent years.
People are waking up to the harsh realities behind dairy and that’s great news for animals. Millions of people have already made the compassionate choice to leave dairy and other cruel animal products off their plates. Want to join them? Click here for free recipes and meal plans.