SOME SOME GRIM DETAILS ABOUT THE COW

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In nature, cows produce enough milk for their calves. It makes no sense for them to be carrying significant amounts of milk that cannot be drunk. Years and years of intensive genetic manipulation has created dairy cow breeds that  produce three to five times more milk than cattle in the wild. With hormones, this number may be pushed up even further, to ten times the normal amount of milk.
Furthermore, dairies impregnate cows earlier and more often than would occur in most wild breeds.
Being forced to carry such huge amounts of milk causes pain in the cows, and robs them of calcium and other nutrients. It also requires that the cows be milked more often, which in turn may increase the risk of painful udder infections – the source of pus in the milk supply.
Cows are normally doting mothers. They nurture, nuzzle, and give milk to their calves. The calves stay close to their mothers’ sides and derive immense emotional support from the relationship. This is all ruined in dairy.
On nearly all commercial dairy operations, baby calves are taken from their mothers. They are deprived of the love, comfort, joy, and confidence-building that comes from growing up with a mother. They also miss out on the attention from adult cows in the herd, who babysit the youngsters. Calves on dairies are sequestered from their mothers and their families; they are effectively orphaned.
The mother cows whose babies have been taken from them often cry out for days. This is documented and admitted by dairy farmers and supporters. Since cows display emotions in many other ways, and since they undergo hormonal changes during pregnancy, it is likely that they remember the trauma of loosing their babies stays with them for a long time.
On average, cows have to endure this loss – this theft – two to four times before being killed.
The male offspring of dairy cows cannot produce milk and have not been specially bred for the beef industry. Many are killed when only a few months old as veal.Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry. In the worst cases, the male calves are chained, confined to tiny pens where they may have to lay in their own waste, and fed a borderline anemic diet to make their flesh white.
Some male calves are killed right away, as newborns. Sometimes their umbilical cords are still attached as they enter the slaughterhouse. The “lucky” males may be raised for their flesh and get to live a little over a year.
Male calves may be sold at auctions – noisy arenas in which the calves, sometimes still wet from birth and surely longing for the warmth and milk of their mothers, are paraded and pushed around and sold to buyers who prepare them for slaughter.
Note that some female calves may be raised and killed as veal, also. The  dairy herd is declining (in part because the dairy industry manages, through genetic manipulation, to coax more and more milk out of cows), and dairy cows – as a result of being artificially impregnated – give birth to more female calves than are needed to replace the cows who are killed. The excess calves – male and female – are killed, or sold off to be killed shortly therafter.
When dairy cows can no longer produce the huge volumes of milk to be profitable, they’re killed. Usually this happens when they’re about five years old. On organic farms they may live another year (and have another baby stolen from them). If a dairy cow cannot get pregnant, she’s also killed. Cows’ natural lifespan is 20-25 years.
You know that child who throws a terrible tantrum over a glass of milk. How he kicks and screams and refuses to touch the stuff? Haven’t you wondered what the fuss is all about? After all, it’s just a glass of milk.
It turns out the child may just have the right idea. The business of producing milk — indeed, the multi-crore rupee cattle industry it’s a part of — is sustained by a process of relentless cruelty towards animals, from birth till death, with little letup. Cruelty compounded by poorly defined, poorly implemented methods and gross violations.
That image of tender care and worship that we are raised with, the image that is propagated in films and integrated with our cultural values — that’s a myth. In reality, the life of a cow in India is a horror show.
The first three stages of life — birth, maturity and motherhood — happen with inhuman haste. The female calf is born. She reaches puberty somewhere between 15 months and three years of age, depending on the breed, and is then impregnated, increasingly through artificial insemination.
 “Due to poor equipment and a lack of proper training, artificially inseminated cows sometimes become infertile and develop infections with few to care for them.”
Soon, the calf is born. While the cow is seen as a metaphor for motherhood, she is rarely given a chance to experience its joys for very long. Calves are separated from their mothers soon after they are born so that they don’t drink up all the milk. Just what does this do to these docile creatures?
 “On the second day after birth,the calf was taken from the mother and placed in the veal pen in the barn — only 10 yards away, in plain view of the mother. The mother cow could see her infant, smell him, hear him, but could not touch him, comfort him, or nurse him. The heartrending bellows that she poured forth — minute after minute, hour after hour, for five long days — were excruciating to listen to.
I once asked mother , “If we take milk from cows, then what does the calf drink?” She said the milk a cow produces is more than the calf requires, and humans use what’s left over.
Apparently not. “The quantity of milk a calf gets varies. By and large, unless the calf is what is called “replacement stock,” it will get only the bare minimum necessary for survival. Often it will not even get that,”
To increase yield, the cows are also injected with Oxytocin, a hormone banned in India under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and section 12 of Food and Drug Adulteration Prevention Act, 1960. “Studies around the world show that cows injected with Oxytocin have a greater incidence of abortions, mastitis and lower conception rates, and their calves suffer higher than normal infant mortality and delayed puberty,”
And what happens to unwanted male calves? This is where we wade into the red zone of this bloody business. “Milk cows need to produce a calf every year and half those calves are male. While a fraction of these are used to pull ploughs, others are butchered. Their skin is used for leather, and their meat for local consumption and export,”  Calf leather comes from male calves of which India has a huge number.
The ones that live don’t fare much better. With traditional backyard agriculture slowly giving way to ‘intensive dairy farming’, hundreds of cows are confined for long periods within cramped, dark and acrid quarters. “More times than not even where there is a lot of space they are tied with a two-foot rope and in most cases all they can do is sit down and stand up even if they are in the open, At some places in Mumbai, calves are tied outside till they die of starvation; so technically they have not been killed.”
 “At the State-run animal shelter in Bhopal, they often get recumbent little male calves, which have been dumped on the streets to die.” In other words, male calves, more or less, suffer an early death.
And what about cows? Cows and buffaloes can be productive until about the age of 14 years. But in the existing set up, in which cows are kept pregnant for almost 300 days a year, most of them dry up by the age of five or six. And after spending most of her life being milked, enduring hormone injections and the trauma of separation, the cow is sent off to the slaughterhouse.
Twenty-eight Indian states have cow-slaughter protection legislations in place. Unproductive cows, therefore, are routinely trafficked to slaughterhouses in the states where laws are less stringent or non-existent — Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Lakshadweep, and especially Kerala. A large number of cattle is trafficked to Kerala, under inhuman conditions, from the neighbouring states as it is a major consumer of beef and does not have any regulation pertaining to cow slaughter. “Thirty animals are crammed into a truck meant for six. In some instances, the legs of calves are tied and they are dumped in one on top of the other. Furthermore, no provision for food or water is made”. Cattle are also trafficked to West Bengal, from where they are taken to Bangladesh.
“The latest delicacy in demand in the Middle Eastern markets is veal (the meat of a calf no older than three months). Flesh of unborn calves is known to bear medicinal value hence pregnant cattle are slaughtered.”
, “In many slaughterhouses, the act of slaughtering involves smashing the head of a cow with a sledgehammer, which renders it unconscious; then skinning it; and or hanging it upside down so that all the blood can be drained from the slit jugular vein, then skinning it live.”
According to the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, India has 3,600 slaughterhouses, nine modern abattoirs and 171 meat-processing units licenced under the meat products order. These do not include the numerous and ever-growing number of illegal and unregulated slaughterhouses, estimated to be more than 30,000.
India became the biggest beef exporter in the world in 2012(till October) with 16,80,000 tonnes of beef and veal exports, followed by Brazil with 13,94,000 metric tonnes and Australia with 13,80,000 metric tonnes of exports. In 2013, India’s beef exports are forecast 29 per cent higher to a record 2.16 million tonnes, accounting for nearly a quarter of world trade.
“The government gives subsidies to slaughterhouses because beef exports are a gold mine,”  A US beef export federation study states India exported $1.24 billion worth of meat in the first half of 2012. According to Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animals Sciences authorities 1.4 million tonnes of cattle were legally slaughtered in 2012 nationwide.
“One dead animal is worth approximately Rs. 30,000. Tissues from a cattle’s heart are used to rebuild livers. Horns and hoofs are used to make buttons, skin is used for leather, flesh for meat, tail is used for fertility treatment, bones are used for whitening sugar, and producing gelatin,”
In states such as Madhya Pradesh, where cow slaughter is illegal, trafficking is rife, and the dry cattle that are not transported are let loose on the streets, where they live the last days of their lives foraging in dustbins, eating plastic-infested garbage and drinking polluted water from open drains.
The government runs several goshalas, shelters for old cattle, across the country, but these are too few and are not governed by serious norms.  “ Goshalas have started to operate along the lines of dairy farms; only accepting healthy, productive cows.”
Also, the growing numbers of cattle casts a heavy shadow on the environment. Bovines produce methane when they pass gas. It is estimated that a bovine produces, depending on the breed, anywhere between 100 litres to 500 litres of methane a day. This is equivalent to the per-day carbon dioxide emissions of a car. India’s huge bovine population makes methane a dangerous pollutant.
There is also the ecological problem. Producing fodder for 324 million cows puts immense strain on scarce land and water resources.
 Animal agriculture occupies 30 per cent of the earth’s total land area. Approximately 33 per cent of total arable land is used to produce feed crops, in addition to vast areas of forested land that is clear-cut to graze or grow feed for farmed animals.
 Dairy Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know
1. Male dairy calves killed for veal are confined to lonely stalls and slaughtered at just a few months of age.
21,000,000 dairy calves are slaughtered for veal or cheap beef every year globally.
2. Like all mammals, cows must give birth in order to make milk. Like human mothers, they carry their babies for nine months, then begin to lactate for the sole purpose of nourishing their young.
3. Due to extensive biological manipulation, today’s dairy cows produce up to 12 times more milk than they would naturally produce to feed a calf.
4. Even so, virtually all dairy calves are stolen from their mothers within hours of birth in order to maximize profit. 97% of newborn dairy calves are forcibly removed from their mothers within the first 24 hours.  The rest are removed in a matter of days. On so-called humane dairy farms, cows are often taken within the first hour of birth as separation of mother and calf is considered less stressful when they have not been allowed to bond
5. To keep them lactating at maximum yields, cows are artificially and repeatedly and forcibly impregnated year after year. The constant cycle of forced pregnancy and birth creates a huge surplus of calves.
Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated once a year to keep them at peak lactation. Artificial insemination involves invasive, nonconsensual rectal and vaginal penetration.
6. Some female calves will join the milking herd. They typically spend the first 2 to 3 months of life confined in lonely hutches, fed a diet of milk replacer while humans drink the milk intended for them.
7. Whether on factory farms, “family” farms, or small, humane-certified farms, male calves and surplus females are sold to be slaughtered for veal or cheap beef. The veal industry would not exist without the dairy industry.
8. Over 90% . dairy cows are confined in primarily indoor operations, with more than 60% tethered by the neck inside barren stalls, unable to perform the most basic behaviors essential to their well-being.
9. Trapped in a cycle of forced impregnation, perpetual lactation and near constant confinement, most dairy cows’ overworked bodies begin producing less milk at around 4 to 5 years of age, at which point they are slaughtered.  In natural conditions, cows can live 20 to 25 years.
“The government is using taxpayer money to subsidise dairy products (and indirectly the leather and beef industries). What it should be doing is to promote the production of protein-rich plant-based foods such as legumes, soybeans, pulses, fruits and nuts using the land and water resources that are otherwise used to produce cattle feed. That, and only that, will work if we are to put food on the plates of our starving children.”
7. Whether on factory farms, “family” farms, or small, humane-certified farms, male calves and surplus females are sold to be slaughtered for veal or cheap beef. The veal industry would not exist without the dairy industry.
8. Over 90% . dairy cows are confined in primarily indoor operations, with more than 60% tethered by the neck inside barren stalls, unable to perform the most basic behaviors essential to their well-being.
9. Trapped in a cycle of forced impregnation, perpetual lactation and near constant confinement, most dairy cows’ overworked bodies begin producing less milk at around 4 to 5 years of age, at which point they are slaughtered.  In natural conditions, cows can live 20 to 25 years.
“The government is using taxpayer money to subsidise dairy products (and indirectly the leather and beef industries). What it should be doing is to promote the production of protein-rich plant-based foods such as legumes, soybeans, pulses, fruits and nuts using the land and water resources that are otherwise used to produce cattle feed. That, and only that, will work if we are to put food on the plates of our starving children.”

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