PETA says: Dairy farming is a cruel industry that profits from the exploitation and suffering of animals. Mother cows and their calves are separated, the milk meant for these babies is taken for human consumption (bad idea – see end of page). Go vegan.
I agree with them. The more I study the husbandry of milk cows on farms the more I think it is plain cruel. In previous articles I have stated as have PETA that mother cows defend their calves with great passion against anyone, animal or human-animal that threatens them. They will kill to defend their offspring. That is the depth of the emotional bond and yet routinely famers separate them early on in their lives to maximise the amount of milk available for humans. To prevent the calf drinking what is rightfully theirs.
We can’t justify it especially as I would argue that cow’s milk is not good for humans (see below). It is meant to be drunk by calves. It causes bloating in humans. They are a huge array of alternatives these days. There is no need to stick with cow’s milk.
Why do farmers put calves in small enclosures or hutches?
The answer seems to be straightforward: to manage them better. To manage them as an asset from which they can make money. It’s as simple as that. It allows farmers to stop the transmission of disease between calves and to isolate diseases more quickly. They can check whether the calf is eating properly and if not pay attention to that health problem.
Cows are sociable and social
The problem with putting calves in tiny enclosures or small hutches is that cows are social, complex animals. Cows bond closely with the herd and create close friendships. They can anticipate the future and experience fear, anxiety and pain. That advice comes from The Humane Society. Therefore, I have to conclude that putting calves in hutches after they have been cruelly separated from their mother (which causes a lot of emotional pain in itself) causes further emotional pain by being isolated and confined to small areas.
Is it fair to say that this is going to bring on health problems due to stress? I think it is. I wonder if the farmers are aware of this. I anm sure they are but they prefer to ‘manage’ them even if it is cruel.
European Food Safety Authority
The European Food Safety Authority advises that calves are kept in small groups to improve their welfare. They say that calves should be housed in small groups during the first few weeks of life and, importantly, the use of individual pens should be avoided to improve their welfare. As I said, what we see in the video is harmful to calves’ health. It is counter-productive as it is intended to improve their health but apparently it might achieve the opposite.
Firstly, I find that I cannot digest cow’s milk properly. It causes bloating. This apparently is lactose intolerance. How many people are lactose intolerant? A lot, I would suggest because we are not meant to be drinking cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is for cows.
Is the consumption of cow’s milk essential for proper health? No is the answer. PETA, who are obviously very much against the way farmers treat cows and calves, usefully provide us with 12 reasons to stop drinking cow’s milk. In summary, they state the following as to why drinking cow’s love is not a sensible idea:
- Cow’s milk actually robs our bones of calcium. This might lead to broken bones. They say that every glass of milk we drink leaches calcium from our bones.
- Milk and cheese have been linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
- As mentioned above, the lactose in cow’s milk can be difficult for people to digest causing bloating as mentioned also, nausea and diarrhoea.
- Multiple studies have said that the consumption of all types of dairy products is linked to an increased prevalence of acne in both boys and girls.
- A single serving of milk contains as much as 24 mg of cholesterol.
- A Swedish study concluded that women consuming four or more servings of dairy products daily were twice as likely to develop serious ovarian cancer.
- In addition to lactose intolerance, an allergy to cow’s milk can cause strong reactions.
- Cows are often treated with an overabundance of antibiotics to keep them alive and productive. This may lead to superbug problems in humans.
- There is too much saturated fat in cow’s milk.
- A study found that the more milk children drank the more weight they gained.
- Cheese, made from milk, is so loaded with sodium it can actually be saltier than sea water.
- The last point that PETA make about drinking cow’s milk is that it is made by mum for their calves and not humans. It is designed to meet the nutritional requirements of cows.
I drink Oatly – oat milk – and it has stopped bloat and I feel better.