Calves, cows, and factory farming.Calves, cows, and factory farming.

Dairy cows must have one birth per year to produce milk throughout the year. Cows are often artificially inseminated within three to four months after giving birth. This is when the vicious cycle begins all over again.

The ordeal of a dairy cow

Worldwide, there are more than 265 million dairy cattle. They produce over 6.5 million tons of milk each year. Over ten months, a cow would produce approximately 264 gallons of milk per year for her calf. While the average milk production for intensive production systems is approximately 2,641 gallons per cattle, a substantial proportion of cows produces about 5,283 grams annually. The milk production per cow has increased more than twice in the last 40 years. The factory farming system treats cows as machines that milk and suffer at every stage of their short, tragic lives.

Life as an automatic milk machine

Dairy cows are given concentrated nutrients to help them produce milk at an extraordinary rate. Their natural diet of foraging, grazing, and foraging is not enough. Unnatural diets can lead to a metabolic condition called Acidosis. This causes diarrhea and laminitis (damage to the feet that causes lameness).

Many dairy cows will spend part of the year indoors. Others are in cramped conditions with poor ventilation, cold floors, hard floors, poor lighting, loud or sudden noises, and difficulty accessing food and water. Concrete floors with poor bedding can lead to mastitis, painful inflammation and infection in the udders.

Dairy cows must have one birth per year to produce milk throughout the year. The cruel cycle of artificially inseminating cows begins three months after they give birth.

It takes a lot of strain on their bodies, and they can become infertile after only three births. They are killed at five and a quarter years of age. This starkly contrasts with the 20 years that a cow might live naturally.

Born to be

Calves may nurse from their mothers for as long as a year and may form strong bonds with them. Factory farms often take calves from their mothers within hours after birth. This causes severe distress for both the cows and the calf. Calves often don’t get enough colostrum, which is vital for developing a strong immune system. They are often separated from their mothers so quickly. While calves usually drink milk multiple times per day from their mothers, factory-farm calves may only get milk twice daily, sometimes with milk substitutes instead of cow’s milk. This can cause digestive problems and ulcers.

The cycle of female dairy calves is ending, and most will live short, miserable lives. Males considered surplus are those with no production value on milk farms. They may be shot or sent to low-welfare veal farms.

Calves intended for the meat industry may be transported over long distances for several days. Even though they may be only one week old, they can still be hungry, tired, scared, and susceptible to injury and disease. Many who make it to the other side survive by being kept in horrible conditions and killed within months.

You can choose not to support factory farming cruelty by including more plant-based foods into your diet and limiting your meat and dairy intake.