The milk industry is being advertised to consumers as if it were part of a bucolic world of innocence. On TV, commercials show happy cows grazing free in immense green fields and enjoying being milked.
It is a common belief that dairy cows produce milk spontaneously and constantly throughout their lives. However the reality is very different…
Cows, like any other mammal, only produce milk as a consequence of a previous birth. That is to say, there is no milk without a calf.
It is because of this that cows which are destined to be used in the milk industry are artificially inseminated, and they are forced to chain one pregnancy with the next in a non-stop circle that lasts until their life as useful instruments of production is over. After each new birth, farmers tear the baby calf away from its mother just hours or days after being born. The cow is then subjected to several daily mechanised milking sessions to extract the milk that she produces for her absent baby and put it towards human consumption, while, almost immediately after giving birth, she is inseminated again. It is very frequent for these cows to suffer from painful infections in their udders ( mastitis) as a consequence of intensive milking.
All this process takes place in installations where the animals are in deplorable conditions of filth, overcrowding and immobilisation, being also a routine practice the administration of drugs to the animals, such as hormones (to increase the production of milk), antibiotics and tranquilizers.
This brutal form of exploitation causes a severe physical deterioration which has a very strong impact on the animals. Thus, after a maximum period of time of 3 to 4 years, their punished bodies are consumed and exhausted. Then, when their productivity decrease and they are no longer considered profitable for the bussiness, the cows are sent to the slaughterhouse to be turned into low quality meat that is commonly used in the elaboration of hamburgers and sausages.
But unfortunately this is not the only dark episode in the milk industry…
What happens with the newly born baby calves which are cruely taken away from their mothers?
Let’s remember that only a few hours or days (in the best of cases) after birth, when the maternal instinct is at its highest peak, the cow suffers one of the most traumatic and painful experiences immaginable when she have to watch how her baby is torn from her side and dissapears forever.
Cows are animals which are very social and sensitive and as it is usual in mammals, they develop very intense mother-son links so just like any mother, they experience a terrible suffering when they are forcefully separated from their sons
Their heartrending cries can be heard for days, calling a baby that will never return again. And each mother cow will go through this process several times in their short existence.
So while, these doomed calves are confined (and prevented from doing any movements) into very small cages and they are left completely alone. They will have a diet which is very low in nutrients and iron so that their flesh has the colour and aspect which are so much appreciated by consumers. They will also be kept in conditions of partial darkness so that the light of the sun does not make their flesh darker.
Without the love and cares of their mothers, alone, without mobility, with no type of stimulation, these poor babies experience an unimaginable emotional pain and they develop psychological disorders due to stress and anxiety. When they are 3 or 4 weeks old, they are driven to the slaughterhouse to be turned into “veal meat”.
The production of milk and its derivatives (cheese, yogurt, cream, ice-cream, etc) implies one of the most abominable forms of exploitation conceivable and it is always inseparable from the industry of meat production.
Human beings are the only mammals who drink milk from another animal after their breastfeeding period. And they do so even though they are aware of the fact that the milk produced by each mammal is specific for its own species.