We are fed pictures of happy, healthy diary cows with their babies on bright green pastures from the billion dollar dairy industry. However, this is far from reality. This is not the reality for the mother nor her calf. Dairy cows are constantly impregnated artificially, to birth a calf so that humans can consume and profit from her milk. More disheartening is that the calves are taken away from their mothers immediately after birth. This causes severe distress for the mother as well as her calf. And this happens, over, and over, and over in the industry.
In October, I attended the first ever National Conference to End Factory Farming. A Veterinarian, Holly Cheever, shared a story of a pregnant cow. When she first became a Veterinarian, she worked on a dairy farm. One night she got a call from the farmer. The pregnant cow had given birth to a calf. However, when she came in to be milked in the mornings, she had very little to no milk. Of course, this puzzled the farmer. At this time, this particular farmer, allowed the cow to give birth in the field, as it was more sanitary. Within a day or so, the farmer discovered that the mother cow had given birth to two calves. This cow had been impregnated many, many times over her life. And each time, her calf was taken away. This time, she had two. She decided to keep one hidden in the woods, to go out and feed him daily, and she would let the farmer take the other calf. Of course, Dr. Cheever, begged and pleaded that the farmer allow her to keep her calf , just this one time, after all the babies she had to see taken away. But the farmer didn't agree,as this is not a matter of the heart, but of profits. While this story is heart breaking it also provides a glimpse into the maternal affections of a mother from another species.
This is not the only story of its type. There are many other stories of mother cows on dairy farms bellowing out wildly to try to find their babies and running after cattle trucks as they take their babies to separate farms.
Babies are taken away from their mothers everyday, so that humans can have milk. The males are sold as beef, veal being a by-product of the dairy industry, with about one million calves being used for veal. Female cows are kept to take their mothers places once she is worn out and her milk production declines.
Drinking milk, eating ice-cream, gorging on cheese - is what keeps this cycle of misery and torment going round and round. It brings up several questions we should be asking ourselves - who are we as humans, to impregnate another being? Impregnate yearly, take away her calf, so that we may drink the milk instead of her baby? Further, why would we wean ourselves off of our mother's milk to then become dependent on milk from another species? Milk which actually does not do our body good - understanding the downfalls of dairy.
For me, the answer is simple - we do not have the right to enslave, impregnate, and separate mother and child, for any reason. Especially, for a calves milk put into a glass for human consumption.
Watch this heart warming reunion!