Animal Profile: The Life of a Dairy Cow

Care of Bonnie Shulman   Got milk? Pity. If you’ve ever seen documentaries about farm animals like Peaceable Kingdom you’ll already know that cows are emotional animals with strong family bonds. Mother cows care for their calves and even other cows nearby will come over to meet a new calf and help out where they can. Farm Sanctuary, with shelters in New York and California, have endless stories to tell about the cows on their farms, such as Queenie, who escaped from a factory farm and immediatey began conversing with the other cows at the sanctuary. But for dairy cows, the chances to express themselves amongst others of their own species are virtually non-existent. A dairy cow’s life is a continuous cycle of impregnation, birth, and milking to provide one thing only – a constant supply of milk for human consumption and profit. A dairy cow will be milked for 10 months out of the year, including seven months of each of her consecutive nine-month pregnancies. Two to three times a day, seven days a week, she will be attached to an electric milking machine. In her narrow, concrete stall she can do nothing but await the next milking. When… Read More

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Animal Profile: Caring About Calves

Care of Bonnie Shulman   Baby cows can do the most extraordinary things. Take Durham, a hungry yet underweight calf living on a farm in England. He was given second helpings every day to help him put on more weight. Durham learned to recognize the different people on the farm; so that when he wanted a third helping, he never asked the person who had fed him, but someone else instead, putting on an extravagant show to pretend he hadn’t been fed yet that day. Calves are cute, mischievous, and they love their moms. They like to play with the other calves and in these respects they are very much like human children. Unfortunately, on dairy farms the bonds between calves and their mothers are broken far too early. Male calves are the unwanted by-products of the dairy industry. Most male dairy calves are either slaughtered as soon as they are born or simply heaped in a pile and discarded as trash. Some farmers sell their unwanted male calves to be raised for beef or veal. Beef calves undergo a multitude of invasive and often very painful procedures, in most cases without an anesthetic, to keep costs down. Veal calves… Read More

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