Through the Eyes of a Calf Born in the Dairy Industry

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What a calf sees: The cruel cycle of suffering that puts dairy products on our plates

Your birth is unceremonious–you are one of many coming into this world to be used and discarded. Your mother is likely just about 2-3 years old but already nearly halfway through her truncated life. She has been bred to produce large amounts of milk, then invasively inseminated so that she will give birth and begin production.

When you are born, like many loving mothers she will clean you and not let you out of her sight. You two have the deep bond of a mother and child.

Within days, you will be taken away from her. Your mother may attempt to follow, may scream out in anguish as her baby is taken from her, but to the industry you have served your purpose. Her milk, meant for you, will now be sold for human consumption.

If you are a male calf, your story is not a long one. Your newly growing horns may be seared off and you may endure being castrated — without anesthesia or painkillers, then you will be confined to a small space and intentionally malnourished to be raised and slaughtered young for veal, or you will be sold to live a bit longer and be killed for beef.

If you are female, your life may be longer but filled with the same cycle of suffering in which your mother is trapped. You can be certain that like your brothers you will be slaughtered, but the years preceding will be agony. Treated as a commodity, you too will be impregnated just to have your babies stolen away despite your maternal protests.

You will likely be kept in unnatural, filthy conditions: your head tied so you can’t move, confined to a stall so small you can hardly turn around, or in a crowded lot standing in your companions’ waste.

Procedures like automated “robo-milking,” or having been bred or given hormones to produce unnatural amounts of milk, may lead you to experience incredibly painful conditions like mastitis (inflammation of the udders). But if you are injured or diseased, it is unlikely that you will receive veterinary care. Instead you can expect to be prodded, shocked, kicked, and otherwise abused to force you to move, to be hooked up to milking machines yet again.

After all that, when your body is exhausted and you can no longer produce much milk for the industry that has used you your entire short life, you will be shipped to a slaughterhouse–a hell all its own–destined to become low-grade beef and sold to fast-food restaurants.

Others around you may not have even made it to the slaughterhouse, succumbing to the painful existence of a dairy cow.

Naturally, you could live to be 20 years old. In this industry you might make it to 6.

This is the cruel reality behind milk and dairy products: Moms and calves themselves used like products. Gentle mother cows are treated as machines rather than the intelligent and feeling individuals they are. And while some may believe that dairy products don’t kill cows, they do. Every day.

We have the power to end this cruel cycle. By simply taking dairy off your plate and opting for a compassionate vegan option, you can withdraw your support for this cruel, profit-driven industry.

Animal Outlook investigations have revealed the dark truth of this industry time and time again. You can find out more and TAKE ACTION by visiting

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