The Dairy Industry

Dairy Farming is a class of agriculture that is focussed on producing milk for the consumption of humans. The technical term for a Dairy cows is “Dam”

Cows, like humans, naturally only produce milk to nurture their young; milk is only produced when a cow gives birth to her young. Since this is the main way Dairy Farms operate, cows are subjected to forced pregnancies.

  • The time of the pregnancy differs by species, the period ranged from 279 to 287 days
  • To be impregnated again the Dam must have certain qualifications 
    • What is their body condition?
    • How old is the Dam?
    • Was there little to no difficulty during the calving process?

To be considered a producing dam, the dam must give birth at least once a year, otherwise they are then “spent”.

The overall process:

Dam’s are artificially inseminated, the process of freezing sperm then thawing it and placing it in the Dam’s body so her egg is fertilized (process established in the 1950’s). Once the Dam is impregnated and gives birth the calf is weaned between a 24-48 hour range to prevent any type of relationship from developing. These calves are then split into groups based on if they will become a dairy cow, a Dam, or be slaughtered, a Sire. 

The Dam is given a resting period until her body is capable of repeating the process. Regular dairy cows have shown to be able to live up to 20 years. Ones residing in factory farms only live 4-7 years and are then auctioned as beef.

Ethics:

The Dairy Industry presents itself in a way which is attractive and pleasing through their happy cow cream cheeses and milks. Unfortunately the reality is far from such, and the truth of the matter is they experience evils no creature should be put through. The horrors are hiding behind the laughing/smiling cow logo.

Dairy cows are machines in Industrial farms. The only thing that separates them from an industrial machine is that they are living and breathing, but aren’t considered “sentient”. Since these farms mass produce, the quality and treatment is lost in the midst of production demand. In the end it’s how much can be made and sold.

Livelihood: 

Cow Housing is determined on the climate of each farm location. Majority of the farms are based indoors.

 

Cows are housed in tie-stalls/stanchions, they are all individually tethered by the neck in freestalls or small cubicles. They aren’t allowed to move around the farm nor do they have much space to walk to move in their cubicles.

 

The most widely seen flooring in indoor dairy farms is concrete since it is inexpensive and manageable. The discomfort from the concrete has shown to increase stress levels and reduce the level of growth hormones. 

 

Since cows are housed in tie-stalls, they are isolated and have little to no interaction with any other animals throughout their lives. Cows produce plasma cortisol as a result due to their physical and emotional restraints. Plasma cortisol may lead to hypoalgesia where cows become desensitized to pain since they are put through the most emotionally and physically intensive conditions.

 

Lameness, biggest welfare problem associated with these rigorous conditions. Lameness causes pain and discomfort. Cows who suffer from lameness eventually develop hypoalgesia, causing them to change their behavior to essentially cope with the pain. The main cause is Laminitis, or hoof lesions, which is a result of the rough concrete. Lameness has seen to be the leading cause for removal and slaughter, the ranking goes up t0 20%.

 

Take Action:


Resources:

https://cde.ffa.umn.edu/sites/cde.ffa.umn.edu/files/learning_about_dairy_booklet-_dairy_reference.pdf

https://sentientmedia.org/dairy-farming/

https://actavetscand.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1751-0147-44-S1-S157

https://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/docs/hsus-report-animal-welfare-cow-dairy-industry.pdf




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