Cows are gentle and loving animals who experience a wide range of emotions.
Meet Clarabelle and her calf, Valentine (pictured above). Clarabelle was rescued from a dairy farm hours before being sent to slaughter. She gave birth to Valentine shortly after, and now they are happily spending their days together at a sanctuary. Sadly, most dairy cows are not so lucky. In the dairy industry, calves are torn away from their mother less than one day after birth. Cows are devoted and nurturing mothers who forge incredibly strong bonds to their calves. They frantically cry for days after suffering this devastating separation, pleading for their babies to be returned. Terrified and alone, calves are cruelly deprived of the comfort of their mothers. Male calves are usually killed for veal, while females are raised to live the same traumatic life as their mothers.
Dairy cows endure a constant cycle of forced impregnation, birth and heartbreaking loss until their milk production declines. At that point, cows like Clarabelle are sent to the slaughterhouse. Some are still pregnant, and all are killed at only a fraction of their natural lifespan.
From branding to transport, a cow that has been marked for beef is treated like an unfeeling object. Their horns are either sawed or burned off, and workers will cut their testicles from the scrotum without pain relief or clamp them so tightly that they slowly and painfully decompose.
After one year on pasture, the majority of beef cattle are sent to a feedlot for approximately four months. There, they are implanted with hormones and fed a controlled diet of corn, grain and antibiotics to force rapid weight gain prior to slaughter. This diet is completely unnatural for cows and can cause painful digestive disorders like bloat. In some instances, the bloat can get so bad that their lungs are compressed. Others will suffer from a severe increase in stomach acid, causing painful ulcers and a condition called “acute acidosis”.
Because of the manure in feedlots that goes unattended for months, cows are forced to stand in their own waste and breathe a toxic blend of ammonia, methane, and more. All of these gases are also a leading contributor in climate change. According to the EPA, methane traps 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO2.
Whether raised for their flesh or their milk, all cows are eventually trucked to a slaughterhouse and killed. Those who survive the journey are shot in the head with a captive-bolt gun and taken to the kill floor. Due to fast line speeds at slaughterhouses, this method is very inadequate and a lot of cows are hung upside down while they are still conscious. Whether conscious or not, they will end up having their throats slashed with knives. A sad ending to a very sad life
With so many meat and dairy replacements on the market, you can avoid supporting this cruelty without sacrificing any of the flavors you love. From creamy ice cream to cheesy pizza and burgers, all of your favorite foods can be made without cruelty. Check out our free Veg Starter Guide and try out some delicious recipes today.
Photo Credit 1: Edgar’s Mission
Photo Credit 2: Farm Sanctuary
Photo Credit 3: George Steinmetz
Photo Credit 4: Ohio-IFOH