Fast Fact: Approximately 9 millions cows are killed for meat in Australia every year!
Cows are bred for beef, veal and dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. These products could not be made without the confinement, suffering and slaughter of cows.
Cows are highly social animals that have best friends in their herds and form strong, lifelong mother-child bonds.
Cows can naturally live to be over 20 years old and like to sleep close to their families at night. Unfortunately, the 9 million cows that are raised for their meat every year in Australia live very different lives.
On farms, cows:
- Are painfully branded and dehorned without anaesthetic
- Are castrated or spayed without any pain relief
- Are sent to slaughter at around 18 months old
In slaughterhouses, cows are forced into the killing stall with an electric prod, and are fully aware of what lies ahead. Slaughterhouse workers report signs of distress in cows prior to them being stunned with a captive-bolt gun.
- Cows are killed at a rate of approximately 250 animals every hour, which means that it is impossible to ensure that they are stunned properly.
- This means that many of the cattle are fully conscious when they are strung up and have their throats slit to slowly bleed to death. Some unfortunate cows even survive past this stage and are fully conscious when their tails are cut off and bellies slit open.
- Those that are injured or sick, called “downers” are either simply left to die of dehydration and starvation or dragged to the killing floor by workers to be slaughtered.
- Veal is another name for the meat of young cows.
- Many male calves born in the dairy industry are raised for veal.
- These calves are taken from their mothers when they are only a few days old, causing enormous grief for both mother and baby.
- In Australia, some veal calves are raised in a small, crowded barn to minimize their ability to move so that they don’t build muscle and their flesh stays “tender.” After a short life these calves are sent to be slaughtered in the same way as adult cows.
Fast Fact: Around 700,000 newborn male calves are slaughtered when they are less than 30 days old, as waste products of the dairy industry.
- Many people believe that there is no cruelty in dairy products and that no animals have to die in order to produce milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream. In reality, the dairy industry is extremely cruel.
- Like all mammals, dairy cows must have a baby to produce milk. This means that every year, dairy cows are forcefully impregnated through artificial insemination, only to have their baby taken away within days of their birth. Since mother cows form very close bonds to their calves, they grieve for their lost babies for weeks.In the dairy industry, cows:
- Suffer from mastitis, a painful infection in udders caused by milk machines that leaves blood and pus in milk
- Have their horns painfully burned off
- Have been selectively bred to produce more milk than they naturally would
- Suffer from exhaustion due to milk overproduction and the constant cycle of pregnancy, birth, and milking
- Are slaughtered well before their natural lifespan at about 4-7 years old as their milk production declines
- The dairy industry is inextricably linked to the veal industry. Male calves are waste products of the dairy industry as they cannot produce milk. Hence, many of them are sold to be raised for veal.
- The male calves that aren’t raised for veal are either killed on site or sent to slaughter within five days of being born.
Fast Fact: Newborn calves produce the softest leather.
The skin of a dead animal can be used to make a multitude of things:
Many people assume that leather is just a by-product of the meat industry but in fact leather can come from many industries or animals, not just those killed specifically for their flesh including horses, deer, sheep or in more exotic cases, snakes, alligators and ostriches.
The dairy industry also contributes a large amount to leather industry. When the females no longer produce enough milk to become profitable their bodies will be cut up and their skin turned into leather. So too will the bobby calves as their skin provides the softest leather, killed at just a few days old or in some case they are even cut prematurely from their mother’s wombs
Aside from the animal cruelty and exploitation aspect of leather the negative environmental impact is also extremely high. It takes thousands of toxic chemicals to tan leather and in developing countries the waste is often not treated and simply pumped out into rivers and streams or left to leach into the water table.
Add to this the health issues linked to production of leather. There are reports linking the chemicals used in its production to numerous health concerns such as asthma, nervous disorders, skin and respiratory infections and even cancer just to name a few.
Now more than ever there are so many alternatives available, there’s really no need to ever wear the skin of an animal.
WHAT CAN I DO?
The quickest way to stop the exploitation and abuse of cows for their flesh, skin and milk is to stop supporting these industries. Share your concerns with friends, family and others about what the issues are. In addition you can also let the operators of these industries know how you feel. If these activities take place in your local area then contact your council and let them know. You can also contact your local MP’s to voice your concern.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Many people don’t realise that you can source all your nutrients from non-animal sources. Going vegan is the easiest and most powerful way to help stop the abuse and exploitation of animals for food or their products. As a consumer, the power is in your hands to choose not to support the industries that inflict cruelty on animals.
The most powerful tool we have to help animals is our voice. Once we learn about the cruel ways humans use animals for greed, profit or pleasure we need to help educate and inform others. To learn more about how to go vegan, go to veganeasy.org.
If you want to do more to help, you can support us by becoming a member of Animal Liberation WA, and signing up to volunteer!