In Florida, dairy farming is one of the biggest animal industries, second only to the farming of cattle for beef.
Thanks to factory farms, the number of dairy farms has decreased, but herd size has increased. Most dairy farms have 500-1000 cows, while huge operations can have over 3000.
Cows confined on factory farms are:
- dehorned (mutilated), without anesthesia
- artificially inseminated by the age of 2
- kept almost continually pregnant
- selectively bred for abnormally high milk production - over 20,000 lbs of milk a year, per cow (double 1967, 47% more than 1987)
- suffering severe mastitis from udders overfilled with milk
- milked 2-3 times per day
- lame from standing on concrete flooring
- not provided with adequate nutrition
- forced to give up their babies soon after birth, so they don’t drink any of the milk destined for our refrigerators.
- shot at birth or sold to the veal industry if male
Their lives are typically over before the age of 5 (natural lifespan is around 25 years), “spent” from producing more milk then their bodies can handle. Once their usefulness is over, they are sent for slaughter. They may also be killed if they have trouble getting pregnant or are cutting into profits due to lameness or chronic mastitis.
Cruel handling suffered during transport and slaughter, raises a host of animal welfare concerns.
If you are interested in learning about the nature of cows, it would be worth your while to pick up a copy of The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young. You will quickly learn that cows should be treated as more than just milk producing machines.
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