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Cows are gentle and loving animals who experience a wide range of emotions. Many people are shocked to learn that the lives of dairy cows are filled with loss, despair and tremendous suffering.

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.

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.

With so many 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, all of your favorite foods can be made without the cruelty of dairy. Every time you choose to eat dairy-free, you are making a difference for animals!

Check out our free Veg Starter Guide, and try out some delicious recipes.

Photo Credit 1: Edgar’s Mission
Photo Credit 2: Farm Sanctuary