WHAT'S WRONG WITH DAIRY PRODUCTS?
Dairy cows are made pregnant yearly to ensure they produce adequate milk. In nature the calf would suckle for almost a year but nature, like the calf, is denied by the dairy industry. Some calves may be separated from their dams on the first day of life; others might remain for just a few days. But as the inevitable by-products of relentless milk production each will have to endure one of several possible fates. The least healthy bobby calves will be sent to market to be slaughtered for pet food; to provide veal for veal & ham pies; or for rennet to be extracted from their stomachs for cheesemaking. Some females will be reared on milk substitutes to become dairy herd replacements and begin, at 18 - 24 months of age, the cycle of continual pregnancies. Some will be sold at market at 1 - 2 weeks of age for rearing as beef in fattening pens and slaughtered after 11 months, often without sight of pasture. Up to 80% of the beef produced in the UK is a by-product of the dairy industry. Over 170,000 calves die in the UK each year before they are three months old, due largely to neglectful husbandry and appalling treatment at markets. A few will be selected for rearing as bulls, spending their lives in solitary confinement serving canvas 'cows' and rubber tubes. Artificial insemination is now responsible for 65 - 75% of all conceptions in the dairy herd. In the US the vast majority of unwanted calves are reared for veal, all but around 12% of them spending their short miserable lives in narrow crates (5' x 2') on wooden slats and without straw. Whilst none suffer such a fate in Britain they are now exported for the purpose. In solitary confinement, unable to turn around or groom themselves they must drink the only diet they are allowed - a milk substitute gruel. Deliberately kept short of the iron and fiber which would redden their fashionably white flesh, they will suffer from sub-clinical anaemia and gnaw at the crates and their own hair for the roughage they crave. Fed large doses of hormones and antibiotics to promote growth and prevent the onset of infections caused by the stress of confinement and malnutrition, they will suffer scours, pneumonia, diarrhea, vitamin deficiency, ringworm, ulcers or septicaemia. After 14 weeks, barely able to walk, they are taken over long distances to slaughter.
In 1905 the Lord Mayor's Cup at the London Dairy Show was won by a 24 year old cow. Today it is impossible to find a dairy cow of that age. The cow is usually sent for slaughter at five to six years, less than one quarter of their expected lifespan. Ketosis, laminitis, rumen acidosis, bse, mastitis, milk fever, staggers, liverfluke, lungworm and pneumonia are just some of the diseases facing the short life of the dairy cow.