Looking in their eyes, you can begin to sense the emotional depth of cows. They form strong bonds with their young and develop relationships with each other. Studies show cows even have best friends. Cows are playful, inquisitive, and curious — and they’ve been known to “celebrate” when they’ve solved a problem.
Like us, cows produce milk for their young. Yet, on dairy factory farms, milk production is manipulated through constant cycles of artificial insemination and birth — and, in order to collect their milk for humans to drink, their calves are immediately taken away. This separation causes extreme grief for both mother and calf. While female calves are likely join their mother on the dairy line, male calves don’t produce milk and are considered unwanted byproducts. Males are often raised for a few months and slaughtered at a young age so their meat can be marketed as “veal.” After a few years of constant impregnation, milk production may decline to a level deemed unprofitable in the industry. These “spent” cows will be shipped to slaughter and often turned into fast-food hamburgers.
Cows raised for beef are routinely subjected to painful amputations — such as being castrated and having their sensitive horns cut off — without pain relief. For the last six months of their lives, they live in crowded, barren, manure-filled feedlots where they’ll be fed an unnatural diet of grains and antibiotics to promote weight gain right before slaughter.