Meet the Real Dairy Producers
Viva! investigations have revealed that most cows are kept in confined areas on dirt and cement floors; and the babies, sometimes only a few hours old, are taken from their mothers. Because cows produce significant amounts of milk for only ten months after they have birthed a calf, they are forced to continuously have babies in order to keep the milk flowing.
Production is artificially stimulated through injections of a recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). BST use can painfully injure lactating cows by draining calcium from bones and tissues, causing ulcers along their backbone and swelling of leg joints.
So what happens to the calves?
They are taken from their mother only hours or days after birth. This is traumatic for the mother who will often bellow and search for her calf.
If the calf is male, he faces one of two fates:
After four to five months, they will be slaughtered and sold as milk-fed veal. Viva! investigators revealed that the females are treated not much differently than the males.
A majority of the female calves are taken away from their mothers and kept in small huts, sometimes chained by the neck. They are unable to walk and if they can turn around it will be with difficulty. Once they are old enough, they are turned into milking machines like their mothers.
What happens to the mothers?
High milk production leads to udder ligament damage, lameness, mastitis (inflammation of the udders), and metabolic disorders. After years of having her babies taken away, her milk production will go down. She will be slaughtered at about 5-6 years of age. Her normal lifespan would be 25 years.
What can you do?