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We’ve all grown up drinking milk and consuming milk products. But do you remember, as kids how many times we tossed that glass of milk over the table? Our parent thought those were our tantrums and brushed it away. However, growing up, did we ever bother to find out how exactly did this glass of milk land on our tables ?
This blog will help you discover the cruelty behind that glass of milk:
Dairy cows are Mothers, just like any other
The norms or standard industry practices can be disbelieving and horrifying too. Cows bred as dairy cows, have their male calves separated, from them at very early stages after having given birth. Often, The calf is taken from his or her mother within 24 hours. (Reference point: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/is-there-more-cruelty-in-a-glass-of-milk-or-pound-of-beef/ ). This is mainly because the factory farmers don’t want the calf to suckle her mother’s milk as the it is produced for us humans to consume. Male calves are usually culled to death within first few weeks of their births as they are useless to the dairy industry.
Female calves are placed in separate pens and fed with formula feed or milk look-alike substitutes. But the calves are rarely kept with their mothers. The dairy cows are separately milked at milking parlors. The dairy cow bawls for several days due to the undue sadness for not being able to cuddle her baby. Imagine if a new-born boy or girl is taken off from a human mom. The agony or trauma the mom faces is beyond the pain of death.
Image Courtesy: http://www.paayasmilk.com/artificial-insemination.php
For any mammal to give milk to its offspring, what is the first step that is involved? The mother needs to be pregnant. Cows are artificially inseminated using unhygienic syringes. These syringes are laden with frozen or crystallized form of bull semen. Once humans shoot it right into the cervix or vagina of the dairy cow, it becomes pregnant. The gestation period of a cow ranges between 279 to 287 days. It is nearly 8/9 months typical to a human being. Point of Reference: https://beef.unl.edu/faq/pregnant-cows
It is after this period a dairy cow gives birth to a male calf or a female calf. The milk flows into the body of the cow for about 8-10 months from the time of having given birth. After a weaning out period of just four months from the milk dry-out process, it is impregnated once again. The dairy farmer allows his dairy cows to follow the cycle for 7-8 years. After this, the productive capacity of the cows to give birth to calves reduce. The milk production also reduces. This is the period when the dairy cows are sent for slaughter. The female calves that grow in separate pens away from their moms take place of their spent mothers. If this process is done to the women of our society, we would typically call it rape.
Treatment meted out to cows on factory farms
The gestation period for a cow is also 9 months (just like a human !) The separation of baby calves from cows, causes a miserable amount of pain, suffering and grief to these innocent beings.
The babies of the cows are treated in the most unimaginably horrible manner. The male baby calves are subjected to castration where the testicles are removed surgically. This is done with a scalpel. The aim is to improve the quality of meat. The spermatic chords are then crushed using clamps. Then, the blood flow is restricted to the scrotum. The testicles eventually die or fall off, on their own. This is done by the veal industry to provide a high-quality meat. The procedures are carried out without any pain relief or anesthesia.
In addition to the above, the cows are subject to another cruel practice in factory farms called branding. A heat of up until 950-degree Fahrenheit is passed through an iron on to the cow’s skin. The procedure is carried out by leather industries to peel the skin of the calves while they are still alive. The procedure is carried out without anesthesia. Again, the cows feel a burning sensation like that of fire burn or acid attack victims. Dairy cows again are slaughtered prematurely. While a cow easily lives up until 20 years, these dairy cows are slaughtered while they are 7-10 years old.
How is the milking process carried out?
Post separation of baby calves from their moms, this is how the milking procedures are carried out in small farms where the legs of the cow are normally tied and then they are milked. In factory farms, the cows are hooked to machines to extract milk from their bodies. An average dairy cow produces 100 pounds of milk per day. This is 10 times the equivalent the normal production of milk given by the cow.
These cows provide the maximum yield of milk on account of bovine growth hormones and unnatural diets. These are selectively bred only to maximize the milk production.
Are humane methods of killing dairy cows followed at the industry?
According to the Humane methods of Slaughtering Act, the sentient beings must be rendered insensitive to pain. They should be provided with pain relief or anesthesia before they are shackled. Or in other words, their throats are slit. While you reduce almost half the span of these sentient beings, industry farms overlook on the killing part too.
The dairy cows have their throats slit, while they are fully conscious. But is there really a humane way of killing an animal that does not want to die ?
You therefore find so much of cruelty, pain and agony of cows just in that glass of milk. You must remember that cows scream when you have your ice-cream. Be kind on them. This happens, when you switch over to plant-based ice-creams, yoghurt or desserts.