Cows

  • Dairy Cows can only produce milk after they have given birth to a calf.
  • In order to make them pregnant, they are usually artificially inseminated.
  • Male calves born to dairy cows are not profitable as they cannot be bred for beef and are slaughtered at birth.
  • The separation of cow and calf causes enormous distress to both animals.  A video here illustrates the distress caused by separation.
  • Many of the male calves who survive being killed at birth are transported abroad where they are intensively bred for veal.  This means they will be slaughtered when they are only a few months old.
  • Dairy cows have been bred to have very large udders, producing up to 10 times more milk than any calf would ever need.
  • Cows and bulls (depending on the type of breed) may have their horns removed in order to reduce accidents as a result of aggression.  This painful procedure is known as ‘disbudding’ or ‘dehorning’.   It is carried out without anaesthetic.
  • Bulls are usually castrated without anaesthetic.  See: ‘cattle mutilations‘.
  • Dairy cows are slaughtered for meat as soon as their ‘useful’ lives are over – usually around 4-6 years of age.  Their natural lifespan is around 25 years.
  • Beef cattle are slaughtered at around 2 years of age.  Slaughter statistics can be found here.
  • Many cattle are transported for slaughter abroad.  The live transportation of cattle is extremely stressful for these animals.

Cows are individuals with their own personalities and are capable of experiencing a range of emotions.

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